Saturday, June 24, 2006

6/24 Notes

... James Mirtle addresses the surprising news out of Edmonton involving Chris Pronger's trade request. Apparently, "family issues" meant "my rich wife from St. Louis hates Northern Alberta." Although Pronger did request a trade earlier in the season due to his wife, he obviously didn't make a big stink about it and was honorable enough to play through the season, becoming the Oilers' most dominant player through their playoff run. As Mirtle says, Pronger's stock is incredibly high now so Kevin Lowe will be able to get a lot in return if a trade does in fact happen. Of course, that fact just makes Brian's rumor that much more unlikely but it's still a nice dream, eh? ... Ansar Khan reports that there has been progress made in contract negotiations with Nick Lidstrom. He quotes Ken Holland as saying,
"We had good conversations. We've gone back and forth the last couple of weeks with different ideas and numbers. I'm trying to convince Nick on a number, he's trying to convince me on a number. We're trying to find a compromise. I'd like to get something done (next) week."
It sure would be nice to know just how far apart they are (i.e. $8.8 million versus $8 million or $8.8 million versus $7 million, etc.). No talks will take place this weekend but they will pick up again on Monday. Khan also reports that Holland doesn't have a lot happening on the trade front, which isn't all that encouraging. Perhaps that'll change today after all the GMs get together for the draft. ... IwoCPO has a further reaction to last night's big Luongo trade, posted from the Richmond airport today:
Yes, it would have been a move that re-kindled the excitement in Detroit. Yes, it seems that if it were to occur Pavel Datsyuk, at least, would have been sent to Florida in return. Yes, Luongo was the best goalie available, is going to be a great playoff performer and is a franchise player.

And if goaltending was the only problem the Wings had against Edmonton, the deal may have been made. But, in the heat of the discussion over whether Holland should have mortgaged the offensive talent pool in favor of Luongo let's recall a few happy moments. Remember Ryan (Jason, Smith, Smyth) with continued access to the crease, untouched. ...

Basically, the Wings need grit, speed, and heart more than they need a big-name goalie. The equation "Luongo=the Wings' savior" was always a false one (Luongo≠the Wings' savior). Holland needs to focus on acquiring players that bring those qualities to the team and on losing players that don't. Be sure to check out Iwo's classic timeline of his experience at the airport here. ... Of course, the draft is tonight and, as I posted yesterday, we'll have whatever information we can find on the Wings' two picks (29th and 62nd) in today's rounds (1st and 2nd). Be sure to stop by James Mirtle's liveblog of the event and checking Kukla's Korner for updates is always a good idea. Hockey's Future and Red Wings Central are also good resources for information on draftees (they're basically where we'll be going for it). I should have thought of this earlier, but Hockey's Future has a Red Wings draft preview here. Their section on draft tendencies is very interesting, noting,

New CBA rules, however, put heavy transfer fees on European players chosen after the second round and force NHL teams to sign European draft picks with two years of their draft date. Consequently, look for the Red Wings to reprioritize the draft and lessen their emphasis on European talent.
I had missed that little fact. It will be interesting to see the impact that will have on the Wings in the future. Their reliance on European talent was made necessary by their success over the years. It has to be easier to find overlooked and unknown players at the isolated rinks of Russia and Sweden than in the well-publicized arenas of the North American systems. Update (2:58 PM): Christy also will be updating throughout the draft. Update (4:10 PM): Looks like Luongo was caught off-guard by the trade, since, apparently, he thought he and Florida had a tentative agreement on a four-year contract. I guess that means there was no pre-negotiated long-term deal that the Canucks can count on simply because Luongo was not involved in the trade negotiations. For now, apparently, Luongo is too emotional to think about signing a long-term contract with Vancouver so Nonis will have to wait. Update (6:50 PM): BoA has a reaction to the news about Pronger here. Definitely sucks for those fans.


At 6/25/2006 04:24:00 PM, Blogger James Mirtle said...

The thing is, if Todd Bertuzzi goes to Florida and stinks it up into unrestricted free agency, the Canucks basically gave up Bryan Allen and Alex Auld for Lukas Krajicek and the rights to Luongo for next season. Bertuzzi's value is so low, he might as well just have been a $6-million salary dump. Bertuzzi has been so awful for so long now, only Mike Keenan would find any worth there.


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