Monday, June 19, 2006

More on Roberto Luongo

James Mirtle disagrees that the Wings would be risking losing Luongo after just one year:
For one, there's no way any team trading for Luongo is going to do so with the notion that they'll only have him for one season. A pre-negotiated long-term deal will likely accompany any deal simply for the fact that it will give Keenan something he doesn't have at the moment: leverage.
The scenario James lays out in the rest of the post is much more soberly thought out than my initial reaction to the idea, which he quotes. Still, it's hard to decide which is worse: throwing $7 million a year and a couple of our best young stars at an overrated, only semi-proven goalie but having him locked up for, say, five years for better or for worse. Or making a similar trade at Luongo's current salary and losing him after a year. Maybe Luongo is exactly what the Wings need. Maybe he'll be a force for this team for the rest of his career. Maybe he'll carry them to three Cups and re-establish their dominance. Or maybe he'll totally bomb after he finds that on a skilled team, the goalie doesn't have to make 57 saves a night and he isn't expected to win every game for them singlehandedly. The list of alternatives isn't overly impressive, as James points out. Luongo is certainly the biggest name out there. But this isn't Dominik Hasek in the summer of 2001 (just to mention the last big goalie trade-to-sign deal the Wings made). Dom had proven he could take a team, any team, to the Finals. Furthermore, he wanted to play in Detroit. All Luongo wants is to get out of Florida and get some team to pay him a ton of money before he's done anything. I don't want to see the Wings stuck with a flop of a goalie that happens to have an enormous salary. I think there's a reason Detroit goalies are always derided by the fans: we generally don't have the best and when we do, they often don't perform up to expectations. Think Curtis Joseph. The only exception I can remember is Dominik Hasek, who was a pretty exceptional goalie, in that first year. Even without the best goalie available, the Wings won two Cups. Their historical strength has not been goaltending, it has been skilled skaters backed by strong goalies (just not the "best"). A bigger-name goalie is not the solution to the playoff problem. In fact, generally, the goalie seems to be one of the best players in most of the early exits I can remember. Their problem has always been lack of scoring and I think it's unfair to pin the blame on the goalies by asserting the solution is a better goalie. As far as I'm concerned, the Wings only need a one- or two-year veteran goalie who will help usher in the goalies they already have in their system. Such a goalie will not come at such a high price and would allow Holland to make other moves that would shore up the offense and defense with more grit and speed, which is what the team desparately needs.

17 Comments:

At 6/19/2006 01:09:00 PM, Blogger Brian List said...

I don't want to see the Wings stuck with a flop of a goalie that happens to have an enormous salary.

You have to take some chances in order to be successful. Any big signing can turn into a flop. Doesn't mean you never try. It's better than being stuck with Osgood and Howard, and potentially suffering another 1st round loss for the same reasons as this past season. We need to improve goaltending (ie they need to be stealing a few games for us) and offense in the playoffs. I'd rather lose at least a different way and face that experience than get stuck in a rut.

A bigger-name goalie is not the solution to the playoff problem. In fact, generally, the goalie seems to be one of the best players in most of the early exits I can remember...As far as I'm concerned, the Wings only need a one- or two-year veteran goalie who will help usher in the goalies they already have in their system.

If the Wings are going to shell out $8M for Lidstrom to make for a collectively expensive defensive unit, why would they settle for "only a one- or two-year veteran goalie"? Just because offense has been a bigger problem in the playoffs doesn't mean goaltending shouldn't be improved.

First you say you're afraid to lose Luongo after one season (which implies he'll be a great goalie and you wouldn't want to lose him) and then you say you're afraid he'll be a bust. Which is it? You seem pretty torn.

You have to sign him long term or risk losing him. It's a gamble either way, but I don't think you avoid Luongo completely because of that. This wouldn't be the first gamble in Wings history - it's a pretty routine thing.

 
At 6/19/2006 01:24:00 PM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

They've tried getting the big name goalie before. Remember Curtis Joseph? And he was a proven goalie who nonetheless floundered in Detroit. Luongo hasn't done anything yet besides place third in Vezina voting (which means nothing).

Yes, the Wings might end up with Stanley Cup-winning goalie Chris Osgood and one of the best young goalies around, Jimmy Howard, backing him up. That'd be a real shame, I know.

The Wings are re-signing Lidstrom because it's routine. If the defensive unit is going to be "collectively expensive" already, why spend more on a goalie when you could put the money towards some offense?

I've always been afraid Luongo could be a flop. That's why I keep calling him overrated. Before James' post, losing him after one year was the best-case scenario reliant on him NOT being a flop. If he turns out to be great, he may very well end up out of the team's price range. If he ends up sucking, he'd be gone anyway. In either case, the price is too much.

But, if James is right and they end up signing him to a long term deal immediately, they'd be stuck with him no matter what happened, similar to what happened with Joseph. He is too much of an unknown quantity for me to feel comfortable with the deal.

 
At 6/19/2006 01:38:00 PM, Blogger Brian List said...

why spend more on a goalie when you could put the money towards some offense?

We can do both...cap is going to be much higher next season.

If he turns out to be great, he may very well end up out of the team's price range.

That risk comes with any great player: Zetterberg, Datsyuk, etc could be giving us that problem. I'd rather have the great players and risk losing them than avoid them altogether.

They've tried getting the big name goalie before. Remember Curtis Joseph? And he was a proven goalie who nonetheless floundered in Detroit.

Ugh, don't even bring that up. Soo many outside variables in that situation, one of which being Hasek. Sure, the big name goalie isn't always a guarenteed success, but I'd say it's easier signing a big name and getting some success than finding a diamond in the rough, ie finding the next Roloson, etc. But it'd be cheaper doing the latter..so if we are that good let's do it.

 
At 6/19/2006 01:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Matt. I think you pay out to sign Lidstrom because he has been successful (Conn Smythe winner) and because you know what he brings to your team. The Luongo trade is something you could afford to do before the hard cap was put into place but could be very damaging if it doesn't work out. So I think the risk is too great for the potential reward. If Luongo were someone like Hasek or CuJo (both proven playoff goalies who had .900 + save percentages in the playoffs) then the risk becomes more palatable.

The success of both Ryan Miller and Cam Ward makes me more comfortable with Matt's suggestion of signing a veteran goalie for a couple years and then take your chances with Jimmy Howard starting in 2007-08.

 
At 6/19/2006 02:17:00 PM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

Ugh, don't even bring that up. Soo many outside variables in that situation, one of which being Hasek.

Joseph was a disappointment to most people even before Hasek re-entered the picture. He certainly never stole us any games in the way everyone hoped.

 
At 6/19/2006 02:50:00 PM, Blogger Brian List said...

Joseph was a disappointment to most people even before Hasek re-entered the picture. He certainly never stole us any games in the way everyone hoped.

In reference to the last two losses in the Calgary series, it's hard to steal games with 1-0 losses...

 
At 6/19/2006 02:53:00 PM, Anonymous Megan said...

"We can do both...cap is going to be much higher next season."

Ok, well, let’s look at the facts. Currently, we have eleven players signed for next season. Holmstrom ($1.475 million), Maltby ($1.444 million), Datsyuk ($3.9 million), Zetterberg ($2.65 million), Lang ($3.8 million), Draper ($2.128 million), Samuelsson ($1.2 million), Lilja ($1 million), Kronwall ($840,000), Schneider ($3.3 million), and Chelios ($850,000). That brings us to $22.587 million. Now let’s factor in the free agents. Shanahan will likely resign, and very likely get a raise. However, he is a reasonable guy, so it is doubtful he will get up to $3 million. Suppose he gets $2.8 million. Franzen is an RFA, and he isn’t a big-name player. Suppose he gets a small raise to $750,000. Lebda will resign, probably for about $850,000, maybe a little less. Osgood will take a pay cut, perhaps down to $850,000. Cleary made $450,000 last season. Assuming we keep him, he might get $500,000. Williams is sort of a wild card. He also made $450,000 last season, and was grossly underpaid. Supposing he signs, he could probably get $1 million. Lidstrom will sign, hopefully for around $8 million. That puts the total at $37.337. Now, take away Datsyuk’s salary, and say we sign Luongo for $7 million. That brings us to right around $40 million. The cap is going to be about $44 million. That leaves $4 million to play with. We need one, maybe two, additional depth defensemen. There goes a mil. Replacing Datsyuk could easily take $2 mil. Assuming Yzerman comes back, and assuming he takes very little money (say, $750,000), that leaves us with $350,000, approximately. We end up with a hole in our offense, an unproven (and pricey) goaltender, and no wiggle room.

 
At 6/19/2006 03:15:00 PM, Blogger Brian List said...

say we sign Luongo for $7 million

I'd only sign him for around $5M - I have no clue what his actual market value is now, given the Brad Richards signing and all that...

Also, I'm hoping Yzerman doesn't come back just because it's his time to retire...that frees up money too. And remember the whole deal for Luongo should come with a top 1/2 line forward (whoever that would be on Fla)- that's my whole argument for it. If it's strictly Pavs for Luongo then the deal is idiotic.

 
At 6/19/2006 03:19:00 PM, Anonymous Megan said...

Suppose it does come with a forward. Who, exactly, from Florida would you want?
On top of all the previous salary issues, let's not forget about Hudler, Bootland and Kopecky. Who knows what Holland will do there.

 
At 6/19/2006 03:27:00 PM, Blogger Brian List said...

Off the top of my head, I have no clue who I'd want from FLA... :)

If it's player for player, I say try to shop Jason Williams (and possibly another Wing) for Luongo. That's a better deal. And wouldn't have to worry about finding a decent FLA forward as part of the package. Now that everyone knows Luongo is being shopped, his trade value is dropping.

 
At 6/19/2006 04:53:00 PM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

Thanks for breaking down the payroll, Megan. It helps to have the numbers laid out.

The association of Luongo with $7 million comes from the reports out of Florida on his negotiations with the Panthers. Despite saying he wants to stay in Florida (long term deal, no-trade clause), he has turned down a five-year, $30 million deal. If it was because he's demanding more, the Wings are not going to get him to sign for even less (ie. $5 million a year).

Hey, if the deal is Luongo/Jokinen for Datsyuk, maybe I'd think differently! But I can't see that happening. Same thing if it were Williams-for-Luongo, but I doubt Babcock would like seeing his pet traded.

 
At 6/19/2006 04:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't give up on Legace yet...Just think about Brodeur. What if the Devils gave up on him after his first 3 or so seasons? If they did, they wouldn't have the best goalie ever (yes, one day he'll pass Roy if he keeps up his pase, I've done the math already)?

Anyway, I think we should give Manny another chance...Was it really his fault we lost? No. It was the Wings poor play and the lack of commitment to win.

Manny should stay in Detroit, he's a great goalie, and he'll be even better next year.

-firebird995

 
At 6/19/2006 05:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, I don't mind getting Luongo. Was he drafted the year after Thornton? I'm not sure...but Thornton wasn't a big name player until like the 02-03 season. Luongo will eventually reach potential and be like another Turco. He may not be worth the money, but he's not a bad goalie by any means.

-firebird995

 
At 6/19/2006 05:23:00 PM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

The Wings, apparenly, have already given up on Manny. He's no longer in the picture, having talked and played himself out of it.

Luongo was drafted the same year as Thornton (1997), in the fourth spot, beind Olli Jokinen, incidentally. (Dan Cleary was 13th that year.)

He's already established himself as a big name in the business because of his performances while being shelled by the opposition in Florida. (ie. stopping 57 of 60 shots)

My concern is that his stats, particularly his save percentage, are inflated and over-emphasized. He's certainly not a bad goalie but he is overrated and not worth it at that price.

 
At 6/19/2006 05:53:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Well you have to be concerned about investing alot of money in any one player and rightly so. On the other hand if you have the opporunity to plunk down your coin on one player who during the course of a game can change the entire flow and outcome of it - investing something close to the max in them is not unwise.

Where would Edmonton be this season without Pronger and his five year six million plus contract? Was that a bad investment? The way he's played I don't think so.

As for Luongo, its a toss up between which of he and Kippersoff are the best goalies currently in the NHL. Luongo is under thirty he should be in the prime of his career, which I'm not sure you could have said about Joseph when he signed with Detriot. But Luongo has put on some spectacular performances without much in the way of viable goaltending in front of him, which can only improve with some support.

But if the Wings are serious about resigning Lindstrom to a huge contract, I don't think that two guy's making 7 million is necessarily good tactics in this day and age. With the salary cap estimated at somewhere between 38-33 million for next year. Having 14 million locked up in only two players imposes limitations on putting together the rest of your team. Tampa Bay is rolling the dice on that front, I'm not sure its all that wise.

 
At 6/19/2006 06:04:00 PM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

Where would Edmonton be this season without Pronger and his five year six million plus contract? Was that a bad investment? The way he's played I don't think so.

Pronger has proven throughout his NHL career that he is capable of playing at such a high level. He has long been one of the games top defensemen. His playoff performance has been impressive but not particularly surprising, given his history.

Joseph may not have been in his prime when he signed with Detroit but he went on to Phoenix and had a good year. So he is still capable of playing well. He just had a bit of a rough time in Detroit. A lot of the reason for that was he didn't get as much work as he was used to and it became a mental game.

Luongo is used to even more work and seems to thrive somewhat on it. He will not face 60 shots a game in Detroit. I'm afraid he's the type of goalie that needs the work, that needs to be the star, neither of which he will get while playing for the Wings. His negotiation demands certainly don't counter that argument.

I don't think there is much comparison between Luongo and Kiprusoff, personally.

 
At 6/19/2006 07:15:00 PM, Blogger Brian List said...

I'm just going to trust Holland on this one, and not think about it much more. He knows his job is on the line if the Wings drop in the first round again next season, so I'm sure he'll find a way to get Luongo or whoever turns out to be the best goaltender available at the most reasonable price. But definitely the top two names on the trade list are Datsyuk and Williams.

Alright, it's time to get hyped up for Game 7 tonight! Hope everyone enjoys the game! Go Oilers!!!!!!!

 

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