Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Drafty window on the NHL

Of the first round picks, here's what made the most sense, aside from the obvious Stamkos selection.

The Toronto Maple Leafs got a huge presence on the blue line with Luke Schenn. He was a dominating presence in the WHL last season, and can step up to play with the big club next year. If the Leafs are going to get younger, and they must if they are to put a stop to their laughing stock ways. This was a good start.

Another solid move wasn't a pick at all, and it centres around Calgary. It was obvious to anyone that Alex Tanguay was as good a fit in Calgary as a vegetarian Green Party activist at a Chevron barbecue. A move to Montreal made perfect sense for both sides. Bob Gainey didn't need a first round pick. He needed to get more scoring with wheels to keep up with the rest of his skaters. Tanguay fit that bill. Calgary got Mike Cammalleri, a player that should fit in more with Jerome Iginla and his merry men (provided Mike Keenan is in a good mood).

In a case of addition by subtraction, Ray Emery's departure in Ottawa gives everyone what they want. We all get to hear less about Ray Emery, the Senators can focus on practice and Emery can go idolize another suspect boxer on his own time. Everyone wins. I hear the L.A. Kings are looking for a goalie, but they would be wise to look elsewhere. The problem is, every now an then there's a shortage of quality players in a certain position. In the 1990s, there were tons of goalies out there. There aren't that many coming up the line who can play at the level the last generation could, which could help Emery land on a team desperate for help and willing to turn a blind eye to the sideshow he brings with him.

On the free agent side (never understood that phrase as agents are rarely without cost), it's hard for a Western Canadian to understand why Mats Sundin is the most hyped potential signing when Marian Hossa is available. Sundin is a scorer, and he's killed the Habs. But if the Habs need leadership, why pick up a guy that aside from the Swedish national team, hasn't accomplished much success? It's unfair to blame him completely for the Leafs' failures, but he's no Joe Sakic. I'd go as far as to say he's no Wendel Clark. He's not worth $8 million per season. I'd take a flyer if he wanted to take a couple of million, but there are other options.

1 comment:

Duane Rollins said...

Sundin is a far classier player than the Leafs deserve. As a fan of all six Canadian teams (and the Washington Caps, don't ask) I desperately want Sundin to go to the Habs and win a Cup--so that Montreal gets its once a decade thing and so I get to hear the reaction on the Fan 590!