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04-23-2004, 10:52 PM
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A rebuild is fine, necesary even. What the Pittsburgh Penguins did is not. And it's even less so for a franchise that will have no financial excuse for behaving in such a fashion.

With all due respect, that roster that Unknown cobbled together would be lucky to win 15 games in the NHL. It'd be a laughingstock, and most of the players forced to play on such a team would probably (rightly so) lose any and all faith they had in the organization for sending them out like lambs to slaughter for 82 games while pocketing tens of millions of dollars at the gate.

Look at Florida, TB, Ottawa, Atlanta, Nashville . . . all of those expansion teams have run youth oriented build/re-builds in the last decade. But in addition to drafting and developing younger players, they signed a core of useful veteran players to compliment and teach them as they grew into their roles.

Now, a few things:

1) Buying out Holik, trading Poti, waiving Dunham, etc. etc. all sound good until you realize that you won't get anything in return for any of them right now. A rebuild is about patience and making sound longterm investments. It isn't about hauling every player over 25 to the curb and seeing what happens with a bunch of draft picks and unprepared kids.

Under my plan, Dunham and Poti are given a season to rebuild their trade value, while simultaneously providing some veteran support to a young core of players at MSG. Sather will hear a lot better offers for Poti after he scores 50ish points next season than after this years hideously disapointing 24. Would you rather have a mid-round draft pick for the 27-year-old All-Star right now? Or a 1st rounder+ in a year?

2) I didn't draw those names out of a hat. The key element in all three of the veterans I brought in is that each one can play a prominant 'core role' on the top two lines or defensive pairs, but also that they can still contribute on the lower lines.

I'm not advocating the acquisition of KT or Naslund to form a super topline with Holik and Jagr. I'm advocating giving them a sound veteran place-holder until some younger player can take over. Rucinsky should come cheap, he'll be effective, and even if Lundmark, Prucha, Balej, or some other worthy youngster, takes his spot on Line 1, Rucinsky can still contribute on the 2nd or 3rd line because of his PK and defensive abilities. A similar argument exists for both Rolston and Mironov. (And Mironov provides some very much needed size to a pretty soft group of blue-liners, as well as a Russian to mentor Tjutin.) And none of them should break the bank, or require truly ardous long-term commitments.

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