The Parise Solution

Kent Wilson
July 28 2011 10:05AM

 

 

As we continue to discuss (and argue about) the various reasons why the Flames are perpetually middling, it makes sense to start suggesting some solutions to the problem. A little while ago, I wrote that Calgary should target Steven Stamkos with an offer sheet. Perhaps a more realistic strategy would be to aggressively pursue one Zach Parise when he becomes an unrestriced free agent a year from now.

The fit would be a good one for a number of reasons. First, The Flames will be swimming in cap space next summer for the first time in recent memory. Daymond Langkow, Olli Jokinen, Cory Sarich, Brendan Morrison, Tom Kostopolous, Tim jackman, David Moss and Nik Hagman are all pending UFA's, meaning the club will have some $20-25M in cap room (depending on who they choose to re-up and how what happens to the cap ceiling).

With so many players/rosters spots needing to be re-signed or replaced, the team will obviously have to be judicious in it's use of dollars. Pulling a Dale Tallon On July 1, 2012  and drunkenly passing out suitcases of sequential bills to whomever is available will mean burning through the available cap space rather quickly. That said, the option to drive a dump truck full of money to Parise's agent will certainly exist.

And he's probably one of the few players who is worth that kind of commitment. While there are always a number of shiny baubles every off season that are more fools gold than true prize, Parise is a legitimate heavy hitter. He tooks his biggest step forward in 2008-09 (appropriately enough under Brent Sutter), scoring 45 goals and 95 points. The second closest scorer on the Devils that year was Patrik Elias, with just 78 points. No one else managed more than 70. Parise, Travis Zajac and Jamie Langenbrunner shared the heavy lifting with Elias, Madden and Pandolfo that year, somewhat in the same manner Sutter platooned Jokinen and Bourque plus Iginla and Tanguay against top-six guys this season. Difference is, Parise murdered the bad guys. His raw corsi rate was +16.8/60 and his relative corsi was +16.3/60, best on the club and a full 6 corsi events per hour more than second place Jamie Langenbrunner (who was Parise's regular linemate). The 24-year old (at the time) wasn't lapping his teammates because of a Babchukian zone start ratio either. Again, like in Calgary, Sutter mostly spread out the offensive and defensive zone draws fairly evenly. Parise landed at 51.1%. The lowest ZS on the squad was John Madden at 48.2%.

His raw numbers fell a bit the next season (38 goals, 82 points), but Parise was still rock solid by the underlying stats. He took on the toughest competition available in 2009-10 but still led his team in relative corsi (only linemate Travis Zajac was close) and in scoring by 15 points. The only other two guys to garner more than 60 points - Zajac and Langenbrunner - played with Parise. No other Devil broke 50. He was, without a doubt, the straw stirring the drink.

I haven't even mentioned that Parise is also excellent on the PP. In 2008, he led the Devils in terms of PP efficiency with 5.25 PPP/60. He did it again in 2009-10, this time with a 5.93 PPP/60 rate. To put those numbers in perspective, the best rate Jarome Iginla has managed in the last four years is 5.37 PPP/60, garnered all the way back in 2007-08.  

Parise is the real deal. He can play against anyone, move the puck in the right direction, improve whoever he plays with and score a bunch with the man advantage to boot. He will also only be 26-years old (turning 27) when the summer rolls around next year as well. Unless he falls off a cliff for some reason, he could therefore be the Flames heavy hitter up front for the next 5-7 years, wresting the mantle from a 35-year old Jarome Iginla.

Parise would fill the sizable elite talent gap that will inevitably be left when guys like Iginla and Langkow are gone or have aged to obsolescence. He is the sort of talent teams build around up front, which is this organization's primary weakness going forward.

A few caveats apply here. If the Devils manage to sign Parise long-term before his arbitration hearing, this plan obviously goes out the window (aside - if they do take Parise to arb, it will probably make the player even more motivated to test the market next year). Also, Parise suffered a fairly severe knee injury last season, limiting him to just 13 games. The above assumes Parise has fully recovered form his infirmity and will continue to be the same quality player he was before the accident.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#51 Mason Storm
July 28 2011, 09:34PM
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Next page please, no need to read that last comment. Everyone move along please.

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#53 Mason Storm
July 28 2011, 09:45PM
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@Kent Wilson

Well in that case sir, it is a fair point and a great article. I love how you guys keep the hockey talk going all summer. A man might lose his mind without it. Are there any ideas on an article about remaining free agents and where they may be a good fit before the start of training camp?

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#54 joey joe joe jr shabadoo
July 28 2011, 10:56PM
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@RexLibris

Rex, great points. I pretty much have to agree with everything you're brought up. It's pretty good having fans of other teams joining a dialouge without trolling and bringing up points that are pretty much bang-on.

furthur more, anyone who quotes Ash from Evil Dead 2/Army of Darkness clearly knows exactly what the hell is going on.

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#55 Ken V.
July 28 2011, 11:05PM
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So I haven't read through all the comments but the Devils could use a puck moving, minute logging d-man like JBo and well we just want Parise. Their contracts likely will be similar in cap hit and we could use the shake up that doesn't necessarily take away from the core. We would though need a top 2 D to replace Jbo. We just seem to be stuck in cap hell so a trade like this just couldn't happen.

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#56 OilFan
July 29 2011, 12:38AM
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Please no ..... That's all. Carry on people.

@Kent

This season you guys having the live chat for Oilers and Flames games ? Jet's ?

A nation phone app?

~ the nation network takes over sportsnet~

VF (flames nation) Ender ( oilers nation ) best posters on the sites ?

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#59 RexLibris
July 29 2011, 10:28AM
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joey joe joe jr shabadoo wrote:

Rex, great points. I pretty much have to agree with everything you're brought up. It's pretty good having fans of other teams joining a dialouge without trolling and bringing up points that are pretty much bang-on.

furthur more, anyone who quotes Ash from Evil Dead 2/Army of Darkness clearly knows exactly what the hell is going on.

Thanks, man. Personally, it wouldn't matter if we were 1st or 30th, I hate trolls. Thankfully there aren't too many on this site (compared to HB). One of the advantages of HB though, is the many different bloggers who can give you a perspective on where other teams are. I think it's pretty easy in a rabid market like Cgy or Edm to get caught up in our own team and situation.

Also, I just wanted to talk to Flames fans as I don't meet many (read: any) day to day so I was curious find out their thoughts on the state of their team and what path fans wanted them to take to get back in the race. You know the old quote: know thine enemy. I'd welcome any thoughts on the Oil, but that's probably best done on ON rather than here.

Honestly, there are a lot of similarities that I can see between where the Oil were and where you guys are now, no offense intended. And I'm really curious to see how the franchise gets out of it.

As for the Parise/Bouwmeester idea, I think it's a non-starter. The next deal Lamoriello does will probably be to somehow hoodwink Tallon in Florida for Markstrom to take over from Brodeur. He might not win a Cup every 5 years, but Lamoriello has an incredible knack for weaving his way through the league and coming out near the top.

As for the rivalry and the season starting, again to quote Ash: Come get some.

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#60 RKD
July 29 2011, 01:20PM
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They should try to go for Parise next season. I heard rumours of Jay-Bo and Bourque for Parise and Zajac.

That was before Reg was traded, if you trade Jay-Bo now, the hole in defence would become much deeper than it is now.

Jokinen's time with Calgary will depend on his season, if he puts up 50+ points, I think he stays.

I can see Langkow coming back for a 1 or 2 yr. deal. Gotta keep Jackman if he can duplicate last season. Morrison again will be depend on his performance this season.

I think Feaster would walk away from Sarich, unless he stays for less money.

David Moss is good, but I can't shake the feeling he's lumped in the same grouping of a Lombardi, Kobasew, etc. I could see him getting traded if he struggles goal-wise or injury-wise.

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#61 Kevy007
July 29 2011, 02:43PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Thanks, man. Personally, it wouldn't matter if we were 1st or 30th, I hate trolls. Thankfully there aren't too many on this site (compared to HB). One of the advantages of HB though, is the many different bloggers who can give you a perspective on where other teams are. I think it's pretty easy in a rabid market like Cgy or Edm to get caught up in our own team and situation.

Also, I just wanted to talk to Flames fans as I don't meet many (read: any) day to day so I was curious find out their thoughts on the state of their team and what path fans wanted them to take to get back in the race. You know the old quote: know thine enemy. I'd welcome any thoughts on the Oil, but that's probably best done on ON rather than here.

Honestly, there are a lot of similarities that I can see between where the Oil were and where you guys are now, no offense intended. And I'm really curious to see how the franchise gets out of it.

As for the Parise/Bouwmeester idea, I think it's a non-starter. The next deal Lamoriello does will probably be to somehow hoodwink Tallon in Florida for Markstrom to take over from Brodeur. He might not win a Cup every 5 years, but Lamoriello has an incredible knack for weaving his way through the league and coming out near the top.

As for the rivalry and the season starting, again to quote Ash: Come get some.

Rex, I agree the trolls on HB are hard to take after awhile & you get dragged down to their level. I've gone on their site & tried to convince them, Oil have enough youth up front that are ready to become the future face of the Oil. In fact, there are perhaps too many & that the Oil should be sacrificing some of the youth to get young established pieces to compete for playoffs now. Most fans on that site want to lose for longer in the name of rebuild. The danger with having too many AAA prospects in a 3 year grid is you get the LA King syndrome where the prospects are leaving to Europe to play for more money & start to tick down their entry level contracts to get to their UFA status. I think the Oil has made some subtle moves this summer to being better than a lottery pick but not enough in my mind. I compare to an old economics principal "The Law of Marginal Utility" where for example you love chocolate sundaes, wolf down the 1st one, slam down the 2nd one, struggle to eat the 3rd one & by the time you get to the 4th one, you hate chocolate sundaes & want to puke. The moral of this one is that too much youth, as good & full of talent and potential they may have, can not be properly utilized & can get you absolutely nowhere. I think Oilers are 2 major trades away to taking a run at the playoffs & certainly passing Calgary on our head to head schedule. JMO. I think many Flames fans see this & deep down know we really need to make intelligent moves of some of our most valuable assets so we can reload without neccessarily being perrenial lottery team.

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#62 RexLibris
July 29 2011, 03:51PM
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@Kevy007

This year most of the fans I've heard from have said that a bottom 10 finish is the expected range. A disaster for this team, in most fans' eyes, would be a middle 20 finish outside the playoffs. I think we're like to ultimately be in a similar position at next year's draft that Colorado was in, drafting twice in the top 15 (moving a body for a pick) and coming away with another forward/defenceman combination. I don't see patience wearing thin, but rather the fanbase knows that you can only lose for so long (Florida, Atlanta, Columbus) before your young guns start to stagnate. The advantage we have with our youth right now is that we don't have to bring guys like RNH up before they're ready.

Regarding trades: there were a few Oil bloggers who were screaming to make an offer sheet on Shea Weber or trade for Brent Burns and then sign Vokoun. Generally those opinions were not well-received. The D that we need will come from within in time, as well as, hopefully, the goaltending.

For the Flames right now I think the best way forward would be to upgrade the scouting, both pro and amateur, and use the veterans they have to shepherd in their prospects. having Jokinen on the second line lets Backlund play 3rd line minutes and develop at his own pace.

You don't have to draft in the top 5 to find a good player, but you have to scout well. A look through the last 8 years of 1st and 2nd round picks shows how many good players can be found. The single largest impediment for the Flames future is their ownership, IMO. They are committed to playoff revenue, not winning. And there is a subtle, but important difference.

What assets, in your opinion, do you think the Flames can use as trade leverage? Anytime you move a large contract (Bouwmeester) you usually have to take money back and that diminishes the positive return.

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#63 RexLibris
July 29 2011, 05:10PM
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So does the Parise, one year deal change anyone's mind about him being around next summer? Or about the approximate salary he'll demand? One year at 6 million with the Devils makes me think he's projecting a pay raise above that in free agency, should it come to pass.

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#64 SmellOfVictory
July 29 2011, 05:47PM
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@RexLibris

I disagree with you on Backlund. He's shown that he can play in the NHL, and unless he proves us otherwise, he should be considered able to handle the minutes of playing with Iginla and Tanguay. If they're given the high ground on a regular basis, it will improve his ability to grow offensively and hopefully improve his confidence in his abilities.

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#66 Kevy007
July 29 2011, 06:43PM
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RexLibris wrote:

This year most of the fans I've heard from have said that a bottom 10 finish is the expected range. A disaster for this team, in most fans' eyes, would be a middle 20 finish outside the playoffs. I think we're like to ultimately be in a similar position at next year's draft that Colorado was in, drafting twice in the top 15 (moving a body for a pick) and coming away with another forward/defenceman combination. I don't see patience wearing thin, but rather the fanbase knows that you can only lose for so long (Florida, Atlanta, Columbus) before your young guns start to stagnate. The advantage we have with our youth right now is that we don't have to bring guys like RNH up before they're ready.

Regarding trades: there were a few Oil bloggers who were screaming to make an offer sheet on Shea Weber or trade for Brent Burns and then sign Vokoun. Generally those opinions were not well-received. The D that we need will come from within in time, as well as, hopefully, the goaltending.

For the Flames right now I think the best way forward would be to upgrade the scouting, both pro and amateur, and use the veterans they have to shepherd in their prospects. having Jokinen on the second line lets Backlund play 3rd line minutes and develop at his own pace.

You don't have to draft in the top 5 to find a good player, but you have to scout well. A look through the last 8 years of 1st and 2nd round picks shows how many good players can be found. The single largest impediment for the Flames future is their ownership, IMO. They are committed to playoff revenue, not winning. And there is a subtle, but important difference.

What assets, in your opinion, do you think the Flames can use as trade leverage? Anytime you move a large contract (Bouwmeester) you usually have to take money back and that diminishes the positive return.

I dont consider JBO as a valuable tradeable asset. He is overpaid but still a top 2 defenceman, far from one of the better ones in the NHL but still top 2 on most teams. Problem is a bad contract is a bad contract & Flames cant afford to just dump salary & get no value. He is worth more to us now just being over paid. Oil have a lot of really good prospects that arent getting the fanfair as Eberle, Hall RNH or PVS. These kids would like like studs on the Flames farm team & ready for big time in the NHL & with all the AAA picks Oil get & have, these kids wont get a chance, kind of a reverse of the DSutter era but on the other side of the spectrum. In 3 years, you have a lot of healthy NT or NMC contracts to handout to your future core and buy a lot of their prime UFA years. It's like the cycle of life in the NHL. Its too bad Flames Oilers cant be at the same stage in that cycle of life so we can have some kick ass playoff series again.

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#67 Kevy007
July 29 2011, 06:45PM
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RexLibris wrote:

This year most of the fans I've heard from have said that a bottom 10 finish is the expected range. A disaster for this team, in most fans' eyes, would be a middle 20 finish outside the playoffs. I think we're like to ultimately be in a similar position at next year's draft that Colorado was in, drafting twice in the top 15 (moving a body for a pick) and coming away with another forward/defenceman combination. I don't see patience wearing thin, but rather the fanbase knows that you can only lose for so long (Florida, Atlanta, Columbus) before your young guns start to stagnate. The advantage we have with our youth right now is that we don't have to bring guys like RNH up before they're ready.

Regarding trades: there were a few Oil bloggers who were screaming to make an offer sheet on Shea Weber or trade for Brent Burns and then sign Vokoun. Generally those opinions were not well-received. The D that we need will come from within in time, as well as, hopefully, the goaltending.

For the Flames right now I think the best way forward would be to upgrade the scouting, both pro and amateur, and use the veterans they have to shepherd in their prospects. having Jokinen on the second line lets Backlund play 3rd line minutes and develop at his own pace.

You don't have to draft in the top 5 to find a good player, but you have to scout well. A look through the last 8 years of 1st and 2nd round picks shows how many good players can be found. The single largest impediment for the Flames future is their ownership, IMO. They are committed to playoff revenue, not winning. And there is a subtle, but important difference.

What assets, in your opinion, do you think the Flames can use as trade leverage? Anytime you move a large contract (Bouwmeester) you usually have to take money back and that diminishes the positive return.

I dont consider JBO as a valuable tradeable asset. He is overpaid but still a top 2 defenceman, far from one of the better ones in the NHL but still top 2 on most teams. Problem is a bad contract is a bad contract & Flames cant afford to just dump salary & get no value. He is worth more to us now just being over paid. Oil have a lot of really good prospects that arent getting the fanfair as Eberle, Hall RNH or PVS. These kids would be like studs on the Flames farm team & ready for big time in the NHL & with all the AAA picks Oil get & have, these kids wont get a chance, kind of a reverse of the DSutter era but on the other side of the spectrum. In 3 years, you have a lot of healthy NT or NMC contracts to handout to your future core and buy a lot of their prime UFA years. It's like the cycle of life in the NHL. Its too bad Flames Oilers cant be at the same stage in that cycle of life so we can have some kick ass playoff series again.

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#68 Ken V.
July 29 2011, 07:48PM
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@ Kent

I agree $6 million per would be attractive in a 3-5 yr for Parise.

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#69 gprime
July 30 2011, 06:46AM
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Ken V. wrote:

@ Kent

I agree $6 million per would be attractive in a 3-5 yr for Parise.

In FA I think we would be looking at 7-7.5 per.

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#71 theartfuldodger
August 01 2011, 02:15PM
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The question is, would Zach Parise be interested in moving here?

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