If The Pens Become Sellers, Who's Gettin Dealt?
Well I’m not giving up, but the consensus seems to be that after a 2-3 5 game home stand the Pens playoffs hopes have vanished. After all, the remaining schedule includes Philadelphia (4) (which to me begs the question why do you make a schedule where you play the same team in your division 4 times in 15 days and 4 out of your last 11 games), Ottawa (2), Dallas, Colorado, Detroit, NJ all once. That’s 10 out of the last 19 against elite clubs. But I feel that as a fan you have to have Ian Moran’s attitude! “If anybody thinks we can’t make it, they shouldn’t bother playing the rest of the games, you have to have a never-say-die attitude, go and claw and believe that we’re going to be in it.”
Considering what seems likely happens and the Pens are outside looking in for the second consecutive season, will they really start a firesale, and if they do who will go?
MARTIN STRAKA: The first name that comes to mind obviously because of his $4 million salary. He’s 5’10” of pure heart and hustle, with an offensive touch to go along with it. Amazingly, considering his level of recognition, he’s a career .75 pt/gm player! He’s been injury plagued since his career year of 95 pts in 00-01, but is far past a productive age. His time’s been limited this season, but he’s been averaging about a pt/gm with 16+22=38 in 41 games. Every playoff game I’ve been to, he seems to step it up another level. I feel privaleged getting to see Marty play, and that’s saying a lot from someone who got to see Mario, Yags, Francis among the greats of all time. I’ll probably overvalue him about, but I’ll try to be as objective as possible. I think the asking price would probably be a decent young player and probably a mid-range pick.
As for the teams that would be interested that are in the playoff hunt possibly looking for acquisitions:
NJ: would probably not be interested having John Madden who plays a similar game perhaps a bit more physical and Gionta reminds me a lot of Straka too, so I don’t see the Devs biting when Drury is supposedly available.
COL: Since the loss of Sakic, Tanguay has picked up his play and is likely a sure thing to stay in colorado now, but could Straka be had for Skoula and a pick? I think probably, and I think that is a pretty fair deal. Patrick got a pretty good deal from Lacoix last year for Kasper too. I think Colorado could use a player like Straka and don’t think they’d be too reluctant to send Skoula and a pick.
DET: I just don’t see Straka in a Detroit uniform, but he wouldn’t hurt they’re team. I don’t really know what they’d offer in return, but what if the Pens through in Pushor? A former Wing who has a cup w/ dallas and experience in the playoffs that has picked up his game of late. Could that pry Avery and Bykov, Boileau, or Kuznetsov?? I think Patrick would like the type of player Avery is…Colby Armstrong, the pens 1st round choice 2 years ago is a similar style player and the Pens went after him what some thought was a little early. Avery and change for Straka and Push??
DAL: They’ve got such chemistry, chances are they wouldn’t mess with it, but could the Pens get Morrow? I don’t know. I’d love to see that happen, but I don’t see it likely. I don’t think Morrow is untouchable, but I think Dallas management probably wants him around. I don’t see anyone else on the team that the Pens would be interested in, but again could throwing in Pushor so intice them?
OTT: They want grit, so I don’t think Straka would happen, I don’t know what they’d give up, Marty was in ottawa before and unsuccessful, but that was before his real maturity took place. I could see him playing in Ottawa’s system well though? Any thoughts ottawa people?
NYI: Don’t ask me why, but I can see Straka in an Islanders uni. I don’t know if they are interested in this type of player, but I think he coudl bring a lot to the table for them. Wienhandl and a 2nd? I don’t know where exactly Wiendhandl fit into the NYI future plans going into the season, but he’s done quite well. I don’t think Wienhandl and a 2nd would be asking too much at all. NYI could handle the mid range salary of straka too…
STL: Doubtful unless in a package with more…they probably odn’t want another injury risk at center.
VAN: Probably too high a price to be had for Burke. They said they’d “tinker”, but I think they’d need to do a little too much tinkering to have Straka.
I think he’d be a great addition to any team, I would be VERY sad to see him go! Good on faceoffs, great hockey sense, decent set up man, solid two-way player, controls the speed and flow of the game through the neutral zone, scores some goals. Overall one of the most under rated players in the league in my opinion!
I think he’d be a good fit in NJ, VAN, STL, WAS…his salary ($1.25) makes him attainable for pretty much any team as opposed to Straka.
I’m curious what CP would want. I really don’t see the point in dropping a salary that low, but I’ve heard his name tossed in there, so…
NJ: Mike Rupp is showing he can play at an NHL level lately…Rupp and a 6th? I really don’t know what Hrdina would command. Berglund? Bicek? Not sure..
VAN: I think he could be a solid addition! 40 career playoff games, low salary, and he could probably be had for Chubarov and 3rd pick. To me I think he’d be worth Matt Cooke, but I don’t know..
STL: Not really sure what they’d offer he would be a solid addition at C with much less health problem history.
WAS: Yet another good Penguin in Washington would be awful, but they’d love to have him, rumors were they wanted him in the Jagr deal but were reluctant to give up Zubrus. I don’t really know, they don’t have much expendable youth. Ciernik (although he’s only a year younger) and a high pick maybe?
He’s playing well lately, could be a nice addition to a team for a 4th or 5th Dman. Vancouver could use his style ofplay probably. He’s probably worth just a pick across the board unless he was packaged.
Just cleared waivers, but I still think he could be a better back up than what a lot of teams have… and a possible future goalie, he’s still only 25, I don’t know he’d be worth much though. A team needing goaltending like St. Louis probably wouldn’t give him a starting job, but you never know….Look at the Peguins and Hedberg two years ago.
Hans Jonsson & Wayne Primeau
Only players left with salaries $800,000 or above. Worth whatever CP could get for them in my mind…
Penguin fan dreaming:
Straka, Pushor, Aubin to Stl for Varlamov and Jackman
I’d hate to see any of this happen, I like all these guys except for Jonsson and Primeau of course, but whatever it takes to keep them in the Steel City, Mario!
February 27, 2003
The Fourth Period –
As TFP has recently reported, the Pittsburgh Penguins may not be done dealing just yet. This time, however, the Pens aren’t necessarily interested in a dumping of salaries only. Martin Straka, Jan Hrdina and, oddly enough, Ville Nieminen are amongst the potential tradees, and a number of teams are interested.
The Washington Capitals, for one, are once again pursuing Hrdina. Penguins GM Craig Patrick has his sights set on Caps winger Dainius Zubrus, who’s managed to score only 2 goals in his last 15 games. A month ago the Caps were playing well but they seem to be playing uninspired hockey at the wrong time of the year. GM George McPhee may be looking to shake things up.