Sunday, February 25, 2007

Let's Make a Deal!

OK, Monty . . . I'll ta-a-a-a-a-ke . . . door number-r-r-r-r-r . . . three-no-one-no-two-no . . . oh, this is so hard!

Well, we’re down to the nub of it. The trading deadline is fast approaching, and the rumors will be coming fast and furious up to the 3:00 pm (Eastern) Tuesday deadline. Who for the Caps has a “trade me” sign pasted to his back?

Richard Zednik (32 games, 6-12-18, -4). Zednik will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, one marred by injury. Instead of manning the right side of the first or second line, as projected last fall, he is trying merely to rehabilitate his season as the schedule winds to the trading deadline. At this point, it seems a virtual certainty he will be dealt. The likely return?...a third or fourth round pick.

Dainius Zubrus (60 games, 20-32-52, -16). Another unrestricted at year-end, the sticking point here has been his agreeing to terms with the club on an extension. The scenario is unfolding as the classic “get something for him before he walks.” A player who can play any forward position and in any situation has value, but Caps fans might overvalue him based on the “Ovechkin effect” (he has a career best in goals, assists, and points last year, and is on a pace to set new career bests in each this year). This could be one of those deals that will be talked about by Caps fans for some time to come. It really is a critical deal in that the return will be expected to fill a hole in the short term. The Peerless doubts Atlanta is offering up Boris Valabik and a draft pick (don’t laugh . . . it’s no more wacky than any other deal they’ve made so far), but we’ll make a prognostication in the spirit of Don Waddell . . . watch that first rounder Montreal secured from San Jose for Craig Rivet. That, and Andrei Kostitsyn, will be coming south for Zubrus and perhaps a mid-round pick.

Jamie Heward (52 games, 4-11-15, +3). Heward had a slow re-start after sustaining a gruesome skate-blade injury against Dallas on November 30. In the first 15 games he played upon his return, he was 1-1-2, -4. In his last 16 games, he is 1-6-7, +5. Not Gonchar-esque, but it might be enough to return a fourth round pick.

Ben Clymer (55 games, 7-10-17, -14). Clymer had had a difficult year, even by the standards of a young, struggling team. Starting on defense – and experiment that ended after a dozen games – he dug himself into a hole and never really recovered to the level of performance he displayed last season. That the Caps have an abundance of 3rd/4th line types of forward, plus a $983,000 cap hit for Clymer over the next two seasons, makes him expendable. There is a rumor (ok, it’s Bruce Garrioch – Ottawa’s answer to Larry Brooks) that the Penguins are interested. If he brings back more than a fifth round pick, it would be a surprise, and that’s unfortunate. Clymer is one of those guys who has done all that’s been asked of him and given an honest effort each night. One wishes the year could have gone better for him, and if he isn’t moved, that this year is but a blip on the career radar.

Steve Eminger (53 games, 1-12-13, -7). He’s been a healthy scratch since playing against the Rangers on February 10th (six games), and the speculation is that he was being held out in anticipation of a trade. The Peerless doesn’t buy that argument. Rather, The Peerless thinks he was sat down to showcase Jamie Heward. Even with Mike Green returned to Hershey, the return of John Erskine to the lineup meant that someone had to sit, and the guy you sit isn’t the one you’re showcasing for purposes of shopping. In fact, sitting him would likely have depressed his value. He’s not going anywhere.

Kris Beech (45 games, 6-14-20, -5). It would appear unlikely that he will be moved at the deadline. There just would not appear to be a market for him.

Brian Sutherby (60 games, 5-9-14, -2). He’s had a disappointing year offensively, but he’s only -2 on this club (a 15 point improvement on last year). Was last year’s 14-goal season a fluke? This year has been hard to explain. This is the last year on his current deal, which might complicate the matter of whether to move him. The Peerless’ magic 8-ball says he stays.

The Caps will be sellers, but The Peerless suspects they will be picky sellers. There is no obvious pressure to make a deal, although there would be the "move him or lose him" thinking attached to Zednik and Zubrus. Caps fans might look at the deals Atlanta made and think -- gee, maybe Pittsburgh will send Jordan Staal for Zednik. Let's not get carried away with other folks' wackiness.


Tyler said...

I agree with the Eminger analysis, but I think that both Heward and Erskine were being showcased.

cp said...

okay.. i started a thread on the caps forums but if you assume most of these guys are traded (just for arguments sake)

... the lineup for the last ~20 games is going to look absolutely brutal.

Tyler said...

Gotta see what Fehr and Flash can do. If they can do.

The Peerless said...

I don't assume all of these guys will be traded. When 3:00 tomorrow comes, only Zednik and Zubrus will be moved.