05 March 2009

No Deal at the Deadline for the wild, and other musings

I guess I'm dissapointed the Wild didn't do anything to shore up their offense for the stretch run. But it truth, it turns out there just weren't that many sellers, especially when it seems Josh Harding was the only thing we had to offer. I imagine the Wild are going to hang on to Harding and take the compensatory picks when another team signs him to an offer sheet.

There are rumors Gaborik may be ready to go in the next couple of weeks, that will help their offense. There's rumors the Wild may even bid for Gaborik (presumably at considerably less than the 10yr@8M he was reportedly offered last fall). I like this idea only if it's possible to do so without unloading salary like Dougie did last year (see Brian Rolston).

The Wild's Other UFA's are: Foster, Bergeron, Skoula, and Vellieux, all of which earn under $2M.

The Flames did a lot at the deadline, and with San Jose suddenly ravaged by injuries perhaps the West is a 3 team race instead of Detroit and San Jose just running away from the pack.

The Devils look poised to take the hotly contested Atlantic with the return of Marty Brodeur. Still Boston's dominance is astounding to me. I had them in 12th in the East in my preseason predictions, even though I thought if things fell right they could be a playoff team. They are getting way more offense than we could've expected, and they ahve two goaltenders playing great this year after very iffy seasons last year.

If this is Coach Lemaire's last season I imagine the job would have to go to current Houston Aeros (and former San Jose Sharks) head coach Kevin Constantine. He has turned around what was one of the AHL's worst teams and has done good for the Wild system. He has NHL experience and he's a screamer.

03 March 2009

Backstrom Signs, Implications, Boogaard's suspension

Today Doug Riseborough demonstrated something he hasn't in quite some time.... competence!

He signed All-Star Goaltender Niklas Backstrom to a 4 year $24 dollar deal today. He did this without trying to lowball him (see Brian Rolston).

I don't think the Wild got much of a "hometown discount," but Backstrom is important to this team.

So now all that's left is for Riseborough is...
*Get ANYTHING for Gaborik (even a 3rd or 4th rounder)
*Make one more deal to shore up the middle line depth (Dan Fritche's acquisition helped this, but Dougie clearly gutted the 2nd and 3rd line capabilities losing Rolston and expecting Pouliot and Shepard to both be read to be 2nd line Centers)

If he accomplishes these things I might have to stop hating him like I love to do.

Other possible implications of this signing
*I believe this puts to rest once and for all any speculation of Gaborik signing here. There is simply no cap room left, therefore Dougie should try and trade him, but even the straight salary dump wouldn't be terrible.

*This probably makes Josh Harding expendable. Harding is an restricted free agent after this season, meaning the Wild would have the right to match any offer sheet he's tendered by another club. However I imagine a team would probably offer him enough that the wild couldn't fit him under the cap (in which case the Wild would get some compensatory draft picks). However, Harding might have a lot of trade value now to a team willing to roll the dice on him as a starter for the stretch run. I don't think it's a done deal that Harding's gone, but it seems likley if someone brings a deal the Wild can't refuse.

*A SOTSOH fan pointed out that the Wild have waived a few of their lower earning players. The Wild were within 500K of their cap according to nhlnumbers.com, so maybe they're just trying to squeak out what room they can to make one more deal.

But today, the state of the state of hockey is.... pleasantly competent.

Boogaard.

I can't really argue with the suspension. That was the most violent thing I've seen Boogaard do (outsite of a fight of course) leading with an elbow to the head. Still the State of Hockey should be angry over the fact Souray got nothing for giving Weller a concussion throwing a punch with a brace. The NHL Front office hates the Wild and it's time Doug Riseborough show another flash of competence and start calling out Bettman for his inconsistency. (I wish Boogaard elbowed Bertuzzi, I wouldn't cry any tears over that).