Gaborik on the block?

Some rumors have the Wild close to re-signing the budding winger. Others have the Wild looking to shop him. Here’s what’s been reported, and here’s what’s been rumored.

“The MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE and THE PIONEER PRESS both report Marian Gaborik’s agent said Sunday his client has made it clear he wants to get a deal done with the Minnesota Wild. Agent Ron Salcer said he and Gaborik have made it clear to the Wild their intentions are sincere. Both papers report the Wild are believed to have offered Gaborik several long-term proposals worth more than $8.5 million per season. The Wild have not given the Gaborik camp a deadline but it’s believed GM Doug Risebrough would like to get a deal done prior to the team’s opener on October 11th.”

Spector thinks “it’s encouraging to hear this news coming from the Gaborik camp. Term probably won’t be the issue here but money, as Gaborik could probably earn more than $8.5 million per season as a UFA next summer.” He further speculates that “at some point we’ll hear from so-called “insiders” that the talks aren’t going well and the Wild will shop Gaborik but thus far everything being reported out of Minneapolis-St. Paul on this story suggests talks are ongoing and raise the possibility of the Wild re-signing him.”

Now for the “Insider” info.
Not surprisingly it involves the Penguins.

Jordan Staal is not happy with his role among the Penguins. He is a natural center, and though versatile enough to play wing, would prefer to be centering a Top 2 line. The Penguins have tried to accomodate his desire for more of a role and are thus testing him on Malkin’s LW to fill in for Malone’s departure. However, it isn’t enough. Unlike the rest of the ‘core’ of the Pens that re-signed this (or last) summer, Staal didn’t. Especially note-worthy is that he didn’t while Malkin did. It was wise on his part because he had a bad sophomore year and had little bargaining power, but if he remains 3rd best on the Pens (if that), he won’t get any leverage. Thus, he may want to test an offer sheet, so go the rumors.

Crosby lost Hossa and still needs an elite winger.

The rumors I’ve heard have the Wild trading Gaborik to the Penguins for Jordan Staal and a prospect or pick.

The Penguins want to keep their picks, having been depleted recently. They are, however, considering parting with a prospect if it can land Gaborik, despite their also depleted list of prospects.

Headlining the prospects is Alex Goligoski. The Pens traded away Noah Welch for Gary Roberts before because they knew they had Whitney coming into his own, Letang on the way up (who had an amazing rookie season and will be counted upon to perform strong during Whitney’s and now possibly Gonchar’s injuries, not to mention Scuderi’s), and Goligoski around the corner.

Would the Penguins lose a trade that saw J. Staal and A. Goligoski traded for Gaborik?

Statistically, prior to last season’s 42 goals and 83 points (career bests, along with 41 assists), Marian had only managed 65, 66 and 67 points. However, he has scored 30 or more goals on five occassions for the tight Wild. His asking price may be $9 million or more, given that the Wild seem to have offered him $8.5 million and speculation says he’d get more on the free market.

The question then is: Is Marian Gaborik as good as, or better than Marian Hossa? Hossa was offered $9 million a year for a VERY long term. Gaborik is younger.

Again, would you make the above trade? The Pens would rather give up Sneep or Strait instead of Goligoski, who may be asked to play in the NHL as soon as this year’s season opener. But the Wild may want more for what they perceive to be one hell of a player, ie. Goligoski.

Let’s also not forget, however, that there’s been plenty of talk from Pens’ management that they are in love with Staal and don’t want to move him. But necessity may force it. The bigger problem with this, is of course the damned Salary Cap. In reality, Whitney (or God forbid, Gonchar) would need to be traded. I doubt that will happen.

Remember that Sykora, Satan, Fedotenko, Gill and Sydor (with his ridiculous contract) are all UFAs next year and younger, entry-level contract guys or cheap fillers could take their place, so this trade could theoretically work.

So, what do you think? If you were the Pens, what would you give up (with Cap in mind) to get Gaborik?

And, let’s here all your trade proposals for Gaborik.

On a final note, keep in mind that the Wild would be trading from a somewhat weaker position if they are unable to re-sign Marian.


Pens prospects: