So…anything happen while I was away? Lots of new trends in the NHL, trends you saw begin a year or perhaps two years ago are really coming to the forefront now. I alluded to goaltending a week or so ago, and how teams are/will start to draft only the top goalies and sign goalies 23-27 from the NCAA or Europe. You’re also seeing the UFA’s traded two weeks before July 1.
About the Halak deal. I think it’s predictable that hockey analysts and media-types who are fans of the game really come down hard on the Habs for that deal. Just look at all the radio show song spoofs of the trade. But I can understand Gauthier’s reasoning. I’m not saying Montreal won the deal. But I’m saying they did as well as they could. How many goalies look great after 60 games and one solid postseason? Vesa Toskala looked like a superstar in San Jose. Ilya Bryzgalov looked like one in Anaheim… then he was great in Phoenix, and then he crapped the bed. And now, obviously, he’s a star again. Just keep the ups and downs of goaltending in mind before you go all nutty. I said all season long that the Habs would never trade their golden boy and took my share of abuse for it (oh Oilers99 – where art thou now?). That stance waivered by…say … the third round of the playoffs this year. Montreal had two RFA’s to sign – Halak, who would probably give them 37 to 42 wins this year and Top 10 stats. Or Price, who in a bad year would still get them 30-35 wins at a lesser price and with the potential for more right now and in the future. They could deal Price and not get as much for him. Or they could deal Halak, take five fewer wins, and get a top prospect who is ready now (Lars Eller) for their trouble. Will Price be their starter this year? I hope not. I really think he needs to be a 1B goalie for one more season. But he COULD be the starter if need be. The Habs saved themselves about two million bucks (because Halak’s agent is a pitbull) to MAYBE win five fewer games and set themselves up better in the long term. And what if Price actually is ready? If that’s the case, then he’ll make Halak’s playoff run look like Vesa Toskala on a three-on-zero. I understand what Montreal did and, although I probably would have traded Price – that is the easy answer and it completely contradicts the mantra “sell high”. As for St. Louis, they made an awesome deal. They got their go-to No.1 guy, who will be their best goalie since Curtis Joseph. They did it by moving an impressive young future star – but they are a team full of young future stars. Eller was expendable. Good deal for both teams, but the Habs take the risk as Price could make them look like geniuses or dummies. But you have to understand the rationale.
Goaltender Chris Holt has signed to play with Dynamo of the KHL next season.
It begins – my fifth DobberHockey Fantasy Guide. My template is all set up and I’m ready to plow through some predictions! I’ve also started re-reading my ramblings from October. Just preliminary stuff over the next two weeks before I really dive into it in July.
Happy Father’s Day g