Article of the Morning….

Elliotte Friedman’s blog on the Vinny situation is as good a read as I have seen. The only thing missing from it is an accurate read on how dire things are in Tampa Bay. Elliott’s analysis of the current financial implications and the realities of a trade of this magnitude are bang on.

“So, how many teams are really in this race?

Montreal, for sure. Vancouver definitely could be. It has cap room and prospects. Toronto has cap room, but no prospects. It fits Edmonton’s profile, since the Oilers threw bags of cash at Jaromir Jagr and Marian Hossa. I also wonder about a Colorado, a Dallas, or an LA.”

Take the Leafs out of the picture. It’s not happening. Could you imagine Vinny in Vancouver with Sundin??? Almost happened in TO!

“Lecavalier is a great talent, and a durable one, too. Only twice in his nine seasons has he played less than 80 games – 68 in 2000-01 and 76 in 2001-02. Those two things are extremely attractive to any GM interested in anyone with a long-term deal. But you know what’s become even more important to these GMs? Flexibility.”

Damn straight. Look at the ducks current cap situation, ummmm, who made that mess again ? 🙂

“Other execs are wondering what Chicago is going to do with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook – tough choices despite Nikolai Khabibulin’s $7 million per season clearing this summer. Even Detroit, the model franchise when it comes to drafting, developing and getting players to take hometown discounts, has team-altering decisions to make. Henrik Zetterberg, Marian Hossa, Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler (restricted) are all up, and Zetterberg is testing the Red Wings’ limits. (They gave Hossa a one-year deal equal to Nicklas Lidstrom’s $7.45 million, and a 10-year, $75 million offer to Zetterberg has apparently been rejected.) The Lightning themselves are in this situation because of the Stanley Cup gifts awarded to three players, Lecavalier being one.”

Folks- this is why it is good to be a Maple Leaf fan right now. Keep your heads up. If Burke plays this right he is going to be able to have a buffet of choices for top players fairly soon. Be patient. Wait until the cap goes down, then watch teams squirm to get under the cap! This is going to be interesting as hell.

“Then, there is the economic collapse. Teams are under the impression that, at best, the cap will stay the same next season, before decreasing in 2010-11. From Oct. 1, 2007, until the financial lunacy began in mid-September, 37 NHL players signed contracts of at least five years in length. That’s an average of three per month. Since then, there have been three in total .”

That’s right. How would you like to the Isles with a goalie tied up for 13/15 more years who has suffered long term injuries of late. The goal is to build properly. Our building is full every night. MLSE is patient enough to get this built properly.

“Managers exhibiting buyer’s remorse are recognizing a painful reality – that if you want to trade one of these contracts, you’re going to have to make the kind of deal that is difficult to explain to your fans. What they’re hearing from potential partners is some variation of this: “If you want me to help you take this contract off your books, well then you’re going to have to take my brutal contract. Oh, you don’t want to do that? Well, you’re going to have to take something else I don’t want – like a middling prospect or a later-round draft pick. You’re not getting anything of value from me for an asset you’re desperately trying to get rid of.”

Keep an eye on guys like Jason Blake and even, gulp Sean Avery…..These are guys who’s contracts get moved in order to accommodate other moves.

The focus in the trade market has changed drastically.:

“As much as Senators fans are making Jason Spezza the scapegoat, how happy would they be if Bryan Murray traded him for a mid-level prospect and a draft pick that wouldn’t be in the first round? A couple of different executives said unless Murray is willing to take on an ugly contract in return – and he probably isn’t – he may not get much more for his best centre. If you believe the whispers, that’s why number 19 remains in the nation’s capital. A harsh reality for the Senators and their fans. But, if you think trading Spezza is going to bring in the players who will start an immediate turnaround, you’re mistaken.”

This is the reality of life in a cap world. In the NBA they talk of trading salary slots. The NHL is moving towards that. For those who love trades and banter, it’s boring as hell.

“Considering some pretty smart hockey people are now saying they knew about the captain’s availability a week ago, chances are the Lightning know all this already. They might as well roll up the sidewalks outside the rink if they screw up this one. Maybe they can’t afford to keep him. But they can’t afford to trade him for what’s being made available, either.”

I am not so sure on this one. If things are as bad as I am hearing (and who the hell am I?) then I cant imagine how bad things really are.

Under 50 days to go until the deadline…. Buckle up!

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