Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Free Agent Frenzy on Figueroa
Dean Lombardi did exactly what you want your GM to do on draft day... he entertained a bunch of trade offers... didn't get suckered into making a panic move to get a player... and then drafted the best available player, in this case... Brayden Schenn. The 5th overall pick is nothing to be ashamed of having (well, of course, except for coming in 5th worst overall in the league during the season.) But leaving the 2009 draft with a good solid prospect like Schenn is fine by me.
Now the real fun begins... the blog rumors.. the twitter updates... players asking their wives if it's okay if they pull their kids out of school and start living somewhere else... with 6 million a year more in their bank account.
The Kings are exactly where Dean Lombardi wanted them to be... good young core of players who are hungry for the playoffs and plenty of salary cap space available to sign that player who wants to help the team get there... hence the newest reality game show sensation... Who Wants to Sign with the Kings!
The options for a big name player are actually few... there are the Marian's; Hossa and Gaborik or those conjoined twins that play in Vancouver that are not named Marian.
Hopefully someone from the Kings organization has presented Dean Lombardi with a video yearbook chronicling the short, injury plagued careers of Jason Allison, Ziggy Palffy and Pavol Demitra. Those 3 players alone should warn the Kings to stay away from the extremely talented but intensely fragile Marian Gaborik. And signing him to a 1 year contract makes no sense as Gaborik is not the missing link that will send the Kings into the Stanley Cup Finals next season. We just want to make the playoffs. So you'd have to sign Gaborik to at least a 3 year deal... and then use the cap space that you get from him being injured to change your roster.
The Sedin brothers are crazy. Look, I like working with my friends too... but could you imagine if I made my boss hire both me and my best friend for each job I had? Do these guys live together and are married to a set of identical twins as well? Being an NHL professional means you can play in whatever situation with whomever on your line. Do you really want to sign 2 forwards to big contracts that can only play on the same line?
So that leaves Hossa. Do I think the Kings are going to push hard for him? Yes. Really hard. Do I think he's going to sign with the Kings? No.
What does this mean for the Kings then? It means another summer of sub-tier free agents ala the 2008 summer trifeca (what is the word for 4?) of Nagy, Calder, Preissing and Handzus. Until Michal Handzus woke up this past season... that free agent blitz didn't work out so well. The Kings will chose from names like Gionta, Knuble, Sykora, Tanguay, Cammalleri (don't think so), and Lang for this summer's free agent class. Further proving that high-level, elite free agents just aren't ready to join the Kings. (See Drury and Chara from 2 years ago.)
What do I want to happen?
Scenario 1) I want the Kings to sign Hossa. And play the full season (at least until the trading deadline) with Frolov and Kopitar. Then they can think about trading Frolov before the season ends.
Scenario 1a) Well... this goes against everything I was saying about Gaborik... but the Philadelphia Flyers are in some bad salary cap shape with their aquistion of Chris "Elbows" Pronger. So if the Kings could get Simon Gagne and not give up any of their core... I'd be fine with that. Just as long as he keeps his head up.
Scenario 1b) Dean Lombardi finally understands that he can make a man out of Dany Heatley and he trades for the disgruntled Ottawa winger by giving up Frolov and nothing else.
I love the Free Agent signing period. Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy and I are ready to spend the day on IM trying to out-scoop each other with links to free agent signing confirmations. Hey... that's pretty much what Eklund does all day too.