Would you sacrifice Ryan for defense?

Eric Stephens

Bobby Ryan for Luke Schenn?

Sound ludicrous? It is what Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star conjured up as he assessed what the Maple Leafs need to do in the off-season and said obtaining the Ducks’ goal-scorer would be the dream scenario.

Mind you, this is Hunter’s wish list and not necessarily that of Toronto GM Brian Burke — though there’s the very tangible fact that Ryan was Burke’s first draft pick as the Ducks’ boss when he was selected No. 2 overall in 2005.

The Ducks might be holding onto mathematical possibilities at this point as the realistic ones have dried up the more the Detroit Red Wings continue to secure the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

A four-game winning streak that’s come two weeks too late has done absolutely nothing to allow the Ducks to close the gap. Nine points out with 11 games to go and three teams to jump in the standings? Those vacation plans to Mexico and the Caribbean can be made.

And the club may have implicitly turned it eye toward the future by bringing young prospects Nick Bonino and Jake Newton on the three-game western Canada swing, which was one enticement to get the two college players to sign. Once they’re out of it, the Ducks might like to see if Bonino and Newton can hold their own and possibly make the big jump this fall.

In that vein, it doesn’t hurt to take a peek into the off-season where the Ducks still figure to make the blue line a priority among the number of important decisions they’ll have to make. Signing Ryan to a contract extension will also be on the front burner but if this becomes a Phil Kessel situation, would the Ducks used him as trade bait to land a young defenseman with high-end potential like Schenn?


152 Responses to Would you sacrifice Ryan for defense?

  1. leafit2me says:

    On a side note: the way this Pavalec guy plays reminds me a younger Luongo in Fla; he seems to play better in situations where his team is being significantly outshot.

  2. DannyLeafs says:

    Good list, just a few comments on the should be section.

    First off, I think the Hart is so close this year that it is way to early to say somebody definitely deserves it, or doesn't for that matter.

    I see it as being between Bryzgalov, Miller, Crosby, Ovechkin, and Sedin.

    I think only one of Bryzgalov or Miller will/should get nominated. Goalies are too easy to compare to each other, and to hard to compare to a skater, and I think it will handicap the award going to a forward too much if both get nominated. I think that the goalie with the best chance to win will get nominated, while the other will have to settle for a vezina nomination. As for the other two spots, its between Ovechkin, Sedin and Crosby.

    Ovechkin – easiest to determine, if he wins the Ross and Richard, he will be nominated, and almost certainly win (deservedly). If he wins neither, I don't think he should be nominated, unless he finishes a very close second in points, and Stamkos wins the Richard and not Crosby.

    Crosby – if he wins the Richard, and keeps the gap in points small, he will most likely be nominated, and has a good chance to win. It would be quite an achievment to win the cup, a gold medal, and a Hart in the same year. If he manages to win another cup, and this time, win the smythe, we will probably be talking about this as the most successful 12 months in the history of hockey for any player current or past.

    Sedin – Almost a shoe in to be nominated, (or at least the closest to being one out of this group). Not really sure how you don't consider him deserving. Canucks have faced a ton of adversity, they haven't iced a healthy top 4 D core all year, and at one point were missing Mitchell, Bieksa, Salo, D. Sedin, Demitra, for a long stretch of time, and then in the middle of it, had to rely on Raycroft to be considered your starter for almost 3 weeks. Throw in longest road trip in history, and a very tough western conference with several surging teams, and you have the recipe for the Canucks being left out of the playoff mix. Henrik needed to not only play well during this stretch, but raise his game to a level its never been at before. Also, the Western conference is so much deeper and tougher to play in than the East, so it makes sense that if the West's leading scorer is amoung the leagues leaders, or wins the Ross, that he will likely be nominated and capture the Hart as well.

    My final comment on the Hart is that even though the definition is "most valuable to his team" we all know this is a steaming pile that isn't close to being the defining trait. First off, there are so many ways to interpret that. Ovechkin and Crosby would be perennial nominees just because Pittsburgh and Washington would likely not even have teams if they were never drafted. That is pretty valuable. Next, people look at team success, but which is more valuable, helping your team into the playoffs?, Securing home ice?, winning a division title? winning the Presidents trophy? Trying to evaluate what teams have done without that player is no indicator because that hanidcaps players that weren't injured. Also, by that measure, Malkin is the most valuable, as when he was injured both the Penns and Crosby were absolutely brutal. All the "to his team" thing really does, is make sure its a player who actually makes a difference, ie a player on a playoff team. 

    selke – I have no real arguments with this award, mostly because its a silly award that doesn't really get awarded based on much criteria. It has a definiton, but that has never been what it is given for. It is always given to a player that is having a great season and everyone believes could have better offensive numbers, but they are willing to sacrifice that for their defensive responsibilities. It will never go to a purely defensive minded forward, as the name suggests, but instead to a guy that has had a good offensive season, but came up short of winning anything else. If this isn't the case we would see many more selke winners also capturing the Hart, but that has only happened once that I can think of. Basically nothing obvious here, I think Alfresson may get some consideration, Toews might, but really, unless this list includes someone absurd, I wouldn't really have any complaints with anyone that is chosen.

    Lady Byng – Again, no arguments, good list, hard to Handicap because of the definition being applied so loosely. Will always go to a verteran player that is slightly past his prime, but putting up solid numbers and doesn't take many penalties.

    Norris – Same as I would have said. One thing to think about though is that defensemen get undervalued so much in the league. Realistically, it should be common for the leagues best defensemen to at least get nominated for the Hart, but it almost never happens. Lidstrom, first and third years after the lockout had arguably the most completely dominate seasons of any defensemen in the past 30 years. There was no doubt he was the Norris winner, and the other two spots were only debated as to who got to be mentioned in the same breath as him, so how does he not get hart nomination. Seems insane, looks like a defensemen would have to crack 90 points to get consideration.

    Calder – I think it is just wishful thinking for Rask to even be nominated. I had mentioned before that his numbers would have garnered consideration in previous seasons, but at the time I hadn't even thought about Howard. My point at the time was I thought Rask was going to get snubbed for Tavares because the league was going to be gun shy about giving a goalie too much exposure like they did last year. I do believe Howard will get nominated, and Rask will not. Their GAA and SV% are a wash, but Howard will get the edge in terms of GP and wins. Not to mention he has earned the undisputed number one job and been the biggest reason his team will be in the playoffs. I think Myers will win it, to me he has been the most impressive rookie, and that is what the award is given for. Rookie defenders have a hart time putting up big great numbers than Rookie goaltenders, and being a number one defensemen on a team that will likely win their division is extremely impressive. Finally, Myers is only 19 to Howard's 25, and while age isn't a determining factor in the defintion of rookie, I think it is more impressive for a junior eligible player to do what Myers has done and since that is the definition of the award, I don't know of any reason it can't be a factor. Duchene will likely round out the nominees.

    Vezina – again, no complaints with the list, and I think you are right that Brodeur will likely garner a nomination he doesn't rightfully deserve, but as long as he doesn't win I just don't really care. Nothing against the guy, just hate when awards are given based on history than accomplishment. I think a guy that has flown under the Radar has been Jaro Halak. I am a die hard Leafs fan, and while a small flicker of hatred for everything Hab has been ingrained in my from childhood, whether I like it or not,  I absolutely can't deny how amazing this guy has been. I am not talking about numbers, because while solid, they don't even begin to tell the story. His win % has been excellent, but his team is god awful. The Canadiens have been one of the worst group of skaters I have ever watched for the first two thirds of the season. I have actually watched quite a few Canadiens games this season, and I don't think I can ever recall a team being routinely outshot so badly and managing to win the game anyway. Halak has a winning record when his team is outshot by a margin of 15 or more, and also when his team gives up 45 or more shots. He steals games that should be routes for the opposition. He makes spectacular saves, and is the only reason Montreal is in the playoffs. Montreal has come around and is actually stringing together good games of hockey by its entire team, so I think if Halak is hot in the
    playoffs we could actually see an upset in the first round. I know Halak has not played a ton of games, and that will likely keep him out of contention, but I have to admit, I have never been so amazed at how often a goalie simply steals a game for his team. Maybe it is just a coincidence that it happens in just about every game I have watched, as I have watched nowhere near all of them, but he has been amazing in such a high percentage of the games I have seen that I just had to mention it.

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