Kovalchuk-Sundin-Gaborik

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Nope, I am not suggesting this will be the new first-line for the Canucks, although it sure looks like a pretty lethal combination.

I’d just like to give a few comments surrounding the top three most-talked-about players in recent weeks (aside from Avery, but for totally different reasons).

First off, Sundin.

What does that tell you about his willingness to play in Vancouver?? Extremely low, I think. Although, the Canucks are still considered by many (including the Sundin camp), a top five possible destination for the aged-but-talented centerman. However, with Sundin’s camp openly expressed that Ottawa and Chicago are not his options, with Philidelphia saying they cannot afford him, this pretty much leaves only three teams in the mix. The Rangers, the Canadiens and the Canucks. Maybe in this order in terms of his preference too.

But everyone knows that both the Rangers and the Canadiens are close to their cap, and cannot sign him without shedding off some serious salary. The Canadiens have less than 1 million in cap space, and the Rangers have about 1.3m. With Sundin skating for the past month and seems quite fit to play, I couldn’t stop thinking about why he didn’t sign already. Of course this simply means that he wants to be in Montreal or New York more than he wants to be in Vancouver. But it does somehow contradicts with the conditions he set for joining any team.

Sundin says he doesn’t care too much about money, but he will probably not accept a standard prorate salary, he wants something close to what he made in Toronto, 5.x-million. He also says he wants to play with a cup-contender, but with a team that really needs him, so powerhouses like Detroit or San Jose aren’t his choices. He also says that he doesn’t want his new team to give-up too much for signing him, since a depleted roster will jeopardize the chance of success for the team!!

If you look at the three remaining teams, Montreal has the tightest cap-space and will have to trade away a few big players to make room for him, plus Koivu and Lang are pretty decent centerman, so this kinda rules out Montreal as well??!! What about the Rangers, they are 1.3m under the cap, and according to rumors, can at best offered somewhere close to 4.x-million without touching star players like Drury and Gomez. The team currently sits second in the eastern conference, with two top centerman in Drury and Gomez, New York actually has least need for the service of Sundin out of the three main suitors.

Same maybe said of the Canucks in terms of standing, sitting third in the west. But we have a 20-million two-year offer sitting on the table, and none of our centerman makes more than 4m a season, the best being Henrik Sedin. So it would seem that we are the team which needs him the most, and we almost meet all the conditions he set! We are also the team he can sign yesterday, if he wants to. But still…Sundin remains a free agent at the time I wrote this.

So what does this tell you about him wanting to play for Vancouver? Do we really want a player who doesn’t really want to be here?? You decide.

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Next off, Kovalchuk.

So yeah, Don Waddell repeatedly said the Thrashers are not trading Kovalchuk. But how accurate is such a statement from any NHL GMs? Even if he’s being traded, do you think Waddell will openly admits that prior to a sealed deal? Yes I can surely understand his logic about Kovalchuk being the cornerstone of the Atlanta franchise. I know Waddell will try his very best to sign the Russian forward come next July. But does it mean that Ilya wants to sign back with the team?

Unlike many prima-donnas in the NHL universe, Ilya is a smart kid, he wouldn’t say he wants to leave until his contract expires. He will continue to sell the idea that he wants to remain a Thrashers for as long as he can. This is the only way to force the Thrashers’ management for a bigger offer. With this, his stock-price increases, and any other team which wants to sign him will have to top-up the dough.

But from my persepective, the Thrashers are not going anywhere in terms of success; not this year, not next year. With the exit of Hossa, there aren’t really anyone to play along-side Ilya. Does anyone honestly think that comes 2010, Kovalchuk will reject a cup-contending team with something close to a 9-million dollar offer to stay with the Thrashers??? Really???!!!

I think that Waddell is too smart to ignore this risk factor, and everyone knows that he can get more the earlier he trades him, so I think what has been said was purely smokescreen, I won’t be surprised to see Kovalchuk in another jersey before the trading deadline this year.

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Last but not least, my favorite player, Gaborik.

So Gaborik is skating again, and he says he’s not quite there yet, but very close. Very close to what?? I am guessing very close to being traded.

I mean one thing that is different between Gaborik and Kovalchuk is that, no one really knows about Kovalchuk’s intentions at the moment, but we all know Gaborik doesn’t want to sign back with Minnesota, with him rejecting the teams’ $8-million offer. So this one should be easy, right?

Not really, as I explained in my past post that trading Gaborik is not as easy as it seems. Sure, most team would love to have a star player like him, but perhaps not at his salary, and not with his work ethic. I know, some of you might ask what’s wrong with his work-ethic. I will tell you that being off the line-up all the time doesn’t neccessary mean you have poor work ethic, but it shows something if the working staffs on your team questions about the seriousness of an injury for it to keep you off the ice for such a long time. Yes, I know this is speculative, and sounds a lot like consipracy theory. But if the “injury” is real, then teams interested in Gaborik will have something else to concern about, how healthy can Gaborik stay and how many games can he play for 8-million a season (money-wise and cap-wise)?

Does it mean that adding Gaborik will increase any chance of winning the cup?? Well, at least it hasn’t been proven yet.

But if I am Gillis, will I trade for Gaborik then? Yes, I will, simply because we still have a good cap cushion, and hopefully with Demitra and an offensive-minded game in Vancouver, Gaborik will start to have fun again, and decide to be healthier???

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