Gambling with humans, part I


Nature abhors a vacuum, capri pants, non-alcoholic beer and Avril Lavigne. But primarily vacuums. So, since there's no Vancouver news I'm just going to make some up by playing the gambler Dave Nonis for a little bit.

Ergo, as the grand pooba of the Canuck clan, I am still a little peeved with that second round bad tequila taste left in my omnipotent mouth. For this team to not just make the playoffs but win convincingly (i.e. score) it's going to take some work.

Let's take a look at the upcoming UFA centers first and see how they can fit into the Vancouver plans, if at all. Right off the bat we can eliminate:

Scott Gomez - Out of budget
Stu Barnes - Fading fast
Eric Belanger
Viktor Kozlov - Wasn't terribly effective in the Devils defense-first system
Wayne Primeau
Wes Walz - Your years on Minnesota have stained my view of you. Go away. Far away. Florida has a team I hear.
Peter Forsberg - No. No no no.
Petr Sykora - See Forsberg.
Nik Antropov - Even the Leafs aren't that stupid to let him go, right?
Eric Lindros - It's simply adorable you're still trying.
Ian Laperriere - We have enough fourth liners.
Jeff O'Neill - A few years too late for top dollar.
Bryan Smolinski - Just not the best fit.
Chris Drury - Out of budget.
Daniel Briere - Out of budget.
Pierre Turgeon - Linden can play the aging warrior role.

With those guys gone, that leaves:

Brett McLean - Small, but shows he can score with third line duties
Jozef Stumpel - Can certainly score, but age/injuries will be a factor
Michael Peca - Offers plenty of intangibles, including his own injuries
Michal Handzus - Torn ACL stopped what looked like a great year for Chicago
Mike Comrie - Potentially best asset would be angering Oil fans
Mike York - Are his best days ahead or behind him?
Patrik Stefan - Has "project" written all over it
Radek Bonk - If he would only learn to use his size...
Robert Lang - Questionable worth ethic may drive Vigneault nuts
Todd White - Would he be another become another Chouinard?
Tyler Arnason - Rebounded last year, but can he do it again?
Yanic Perreault - Great defensively, but could be run over repeatedly by the opposition.

Lastly, there are a ton of guys who likely would command less then a million bucks a year:

Adam Mair, Andreas Karlsson, Boyd Devereaux, Byron Ritchie, Carl Corazinni, Craig MacDonald, Eric Boguniecki, Eric Perrin, Erik Rasmussen, Glen Metropolit, Jason Morgan, Jason Wiemer, Jeff Hamilton, Jeremy Reich, Jeremy Roenick, Jerred Smithson, Jim Dowd, Josef Vasicek, Mark Cullen, Mark Hartigan, Mark Smith, Marty Murray, Matt Hussey, Michael Holmqvist, Michael Ryan, Mike Glumac, Mike Ricci, Peter Nedved, Randy Robitaille, Scott Nichol, Serge Payer, Toby Peterson, Tommi Santala, Travis Green, Trent Whitefield, and Wyatt Smyth.

Lots of names and very few dollars to play with, so obviously sir Nonis would use a matrix to figure this out right? Well he uses mine now:

UFA Centers
Will break bank/move contracts for: Handzus
Hold your breath and pray: Stumpel &
Go nuts, but don't expect much: Comrie or York
Plan a project: Stefan (overall talent, missing empty netters),
Lang (work ethic)
Look fondly at Manitoba: Moran, Smith, Reid, & Rypien
Just get a warm body: Boguniecki, Rasmussen, Ritchie, Metropolit, Vasicek and Cain Marko if he fits in skates.


Johan said...

How about Slava Kozlov and Dainius Zubrus? Neither should be overly expensive(3m mark?) and would add touch and pace. Zubrus in particular would be great for the Sedin line due to his strength as well.

Mike said...

They aren't bad picks, Zubrus especially. I have them on my wingers lists which I'll do next. Sadly, I do think Zubrus would command over 2.5 million even for a year and that'll eat up a chunk of the cap space (unless others get moved). I'm guessing any UFA we get will be a one year deal, like Bulis and Pyatt (and like Chouinard should have been!).

alanah said...

I'd "break bank" for Gomez more than most others. Just not quite the insane level of "bank" it would require...

Mike said...

Gomez will get 6 million easily...we're out of that range entirely unless a few guys get moved.

Sean said...

Occupying that uncomfortable mid-range between bank-breaking (Gomez) and sober reality (York), what about Nylander? They would probably have to shift salary around, granted, but I have a hard time believing that any acquisition at centre occurs without either Morrison or Kesler moving in the same off season.

Zanstorm said...

Holy hell, it appears we both posted about the same thing on the same day at about the same time. Something is fishy! :)

With the increase in cap spending this summer, I'd say that Kozlov would be tempting. But you have to think he is targetting 4-5 million now. So fuck it.

I have never been a Zubrus fan. Gomez would be better when Naslund is gone.

I like Walz, Belanger, White and Arnason as fits.

Mike said...

Well, I'm going slot by slot so I'll get to wingers next week...not a Zubrus fan Zanstorm huh? Not a Handzus one either?? That's ok, I'll live in my dream world of Handzus and Naslund on a second line.

Zanstorm said...

I don't mind Handzus too much. I just don't trust his injury situation! He sure looked good with Havlat though didn't he?

Nasia said...

Well written article.