First of all, Merry Christmas to everyone, this is the first Christmas for this blog, so I want to take this time to thank everyone who’s visited my page and especially for those who’s commented on my blog. Thank everyone who’s been patient with my less-than-perfect writing, but I enjoy sharing my views on the sport which I love, and I hope you enjoyed this as much as I do.
Okay, so some rumors coming out from Toronto today, suggesting a blockbuster trade between the Wild and the Thrashers. As the picture above suggests, it involves two very familiar names to this blog. So officially, the rumors has it that Risebrough will send Gaborik and Johnsson to Atlanta for Kovalchuk and Armstrong. Here’s the link if you are interested in the article from Toronto Sun.
I don’t know if there’s any truth to this rumor, but as I’ve often wrote in this blog lately, both Kovalchuk and Gaborik will not likely sign back with their team when they turn free agent. Gaborik’s contract expires this coming summer, and Kovalchuk the next summer in 2010.
The urgency in Atlanta is no-where near it is in Minnesota, as the Thrashers doesn’t look like they are going anywhere this season, and I don’t think Waddell can re-negotiate contract with Ilya until the end of this season. On the other hand, Risebrough needs to solve the Gaborik problem as soon as possible, since his team, once the division leader earlier in the season, has lost seven in its last eight games!!! Gaborik was in the line-up in the last three games, and was held off the score-sheet, except for his first game, with a goal and an assist in the OT loss to Calgary. The team slide from the third in the conference, to the ninth spot, one out of playoff contention with 34 points, 5 behind the Canucks with one game in hand.
Despite their recent loss, as it always is with the West, it’s a very tight race, so if the Wild can pick up a couple of straight wins, they will be back amongst the leaders. With Gaborik back in the line-up and some quick points during his first game, his stock value has risen again, so if Risebrough wants to get something back from his franchise star, there’s no better time than now.
Of course, we are in the midst of the Christmas trade-freeze, but that may in fact be the best time for teams to discuss and negotiate trades, so that once the freeze is lifted, they can quickly execute the trade before any domino effects kicks in.
So let’s analyze this rumored trade:
I’d have to say this trade doesn’t make sense.
As I said, Rosebrough is more desperate than Waddell, and although Gaborik is a super-star when he’s healthy, contract-wise Gaborik is a rental player unless he’s going to a team which he will want to sign with. Kovalchuk, on the other hand, has another year in his contract, so Waddell should be able to get much more than this. One can argue that Johnsson adds significantly value to the offer, but the asking price of Armstrong (an undervalued restricted free-agent) may be a bit high for Atlanta.
What value has Waddell gain by shipping away his franchise player for a 32-yr-old defenseman and an imminent UFA?? Thrashers is not up for cup-contention, what’s in it for Waddell and the Atlanta organization going forward?
It doesn’t make sense for Risebrough as well, especially with the team on the verge of making the playoffs and at times performed so well, even without Gaborik. Do they really want such a big change, bringing in two top-six forwards for one of the top-2 D-man?? This is Lemaire’s playing style we are talking about!!! Unless they are thinking of changing their playing style during the mid-season, or else I don’t see the Wild shipping Johnsson out any time soon.
What would be a sensible move then??
I do agree that both Kovalchuk and Gaborik will end this season with a different team than they started with. For Kovalchuk, I think Atlanta will be trading for top prospects possibly D-man like Doughty plus an O’Sullivan, or even a crazy deal like straight-up trade for Stamkos in Tampa. I think with the Lightning management, and the way the team’s playing, this is very possible. But I don’t think Waddell will accept anything less.
As for Gaborik, his value will rise when it gets closer to the trading deadline. He will probably go to a cup-contending team for prospects too, if the Wild doesn’t improve significantly in their play and standings. I mean most GM will agree that Gaborik is a rental, so his value is more NOW than later, if this is the case, and no team is willing to offer something lucrative, and if the Wild is playing well entering February, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Risebrough keeping Gaborik around as a “Rental” for themselves.
But if the teams doesn’t improve, I think Gaborik might be heading to a team of his own choice. A team which he will likely sign back with. This way, the Wild can offer extra conditional offer to the other team if Gaborik doesn’t sign back. This is the only way where all three parties involved wins. What are some of the teams that he might go to, and what will be the trade?
to New York for Drury?? Rangers need a top Right-winger, and they are overpaying for Drury. The team is playing extremely well, but lacks scoring. The style of play fits Gaborik and it’s….it’s New York, every player wants to play on broadway once in their career, don’t they?
to Pittsburgh for Sykora and Letang? Sykora is an UFA as well, but if the Wild is able to disucss with the aging winger to see if he wishes to sign back with the team in the off-season, it’s a good fit for both sides. Adding an excellent young defenseman in Letang makes it a more attractive deal. This gives the extra push for Pittsburgh in the final push for the cup again, and it’s possibly a destination for Gaborik to sign back as well, since he might have a chance to play with truly talented Centerman in Crosby and Malkin in the future.
to Vancouver for Raymond and Hodgson? This is very unlikely since dealing with a division rival is extremely unpopular, but it’s possible if Gaborik chooses Vancouver as his final destination, now with Demitra and Sundin here. If he wishes to sign with Vancouver sooner or later, why not get something in return this season? Vancouver has to part ways with two excellent young players, and will only make sense if there’s some kind of assurance Gaborik will sign this summer. Another condition is that Sundin’s return is a successful one, and getting Gaborik this year, instead of the next, is crucial for capturing the cup with Sundin here.
Anyways, with two young super-star in the market, this year’s trading-deadline frenzies may start much sooner. It’s going to be very interesting.