Dead as a doornail, isn’t it? Kent remarked to me on Wednesday night that he couldn’t remember a time where things got so quiet so quickly after July 1st, and I’m in accord. After the jump, we’ll look through the thin gruel for morsels.
Nothing to report beyond the resigning of an AHL goalie and adding an assistant in Abby. Like many teams, the club hasn’t got much official flexibility if it wanted to add players. It’s all very good to say that Kotalik and Staios are gone, but until they actually leave the payroll, they aren’t, and Ian White’s impending arbitration award of 3 million + also has to be factored in. As a result, appears that the club is done unless they can trade a body. That doesn’t mean they won’t sign a Conroy or someone of that salary level, but I’d suspect that the top nine forwards are:
…or some iteration thereof unless Langkow is on LTIR for the duration. I don’t hate that lineup, but I’d certainly like better 10th-12th forwards than what’s currently on the roster.
I don’t consider anything regarding Ilya Kovalchuk’s status as "news" unless he actually signs, or goes on a hunger strike. That’s it. As for the rest of the frozen market, Denis Grebeshkov’s agent made a perfectly worthwhile point regarding the fact that a lot of teams are jammed with contracts that they can’t move, so adding UFAs isn’t a simple task (Hi, Darryl!). As well, this summer has seen at least a couple of teams like Carolina and Anaheim pull back from being cap teams. That’s likely 10-15 million dollars out of the market. There are going to be some bargains if a team does manage to clear a few million off the payroll in the next couple of weeks, just as there was at the end of last summer.
When the Wild improves its depth, then maybe Koivu won’t be checked as hard and you can start using statistical analysis to determine Koivu’s worth.
That’s from Michael Russo’s lengthy piece at the Star-Tribune regarding the resigning of Mikko Koivu to a seven year contract extension yesterday. I highlighted that sentence because Russo is referring to the boxcar numbers that most of the MSM types use to rate players. As someone who uses different metrics in assessing value, I don’t need a change in circumstance to know that Mikko Koivu’s a front-rank NHL center that can handle the toughs with pretty nominal help. I don’t doubt that the people that just judge players on the boxcars are likely to be in the "surprised" category, and I’d guess that those that use underlying numbers wouldn’t spend much time comparing him to a guy like Tomas Plekanec. Koivu is certainly signed at the top of the market, but that’s how things go when UFAs-to-be sign contracts. Nice player, at any rate.
Off-ice, there are rumblings that a veteran labour hand will be assisting the players for their next go-round at collective bargaining. Donald Fehr isn’t the anti-christ, and I’d like to encourage people to go back to the statements made by representatives from the ownership side during the last lockout. Cost containment hasn’t exactly worked as advertised, especially for teams like Nashville, and I don’t really see ticket prices headed down. The results haven’t necessarily been bad or unfair, but the owners are not selfless guardians of anything besides their own wallets, so when the inevitable rhetoric starts up about "greedy" players, just remember that there aren’t any virgins out there.
There are conflicting reports this afternoon regarding the ownership status of the Dallas Stars, with Ken Campbell having the deal at a more advanced stage than Mike Heika. If the Stars can boost their payroll budget via new ownership, they have cap space and some nice pieces at forward. If the deal gets done soon enough, they could be the sort of team to benefit from cheap help that I mentioned earlier. I suspect that no matter who gets possession of the Stars, it’ll happen before any deal gets worked out in Phoenix. Crickets down there, isn’t it?
Finally, Kent was nice enough to point me towards a pretty interesting interview with Jeff Ma. Whether you’re interested in the mathier side of things or not, it’s worth a look.
That’s all for today. Like I said, thin gruel. We’ll see you next week.