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02-27-2010, 12:52 PM
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It was asked in this thread “in what world” is Leclaire more valuable than Lehtonen.

The answer is “the NHL world”.

Leclaire could fetch a solid NHL player in return.

Lehtonen could only fetch a high-risk prospect and a 4th-round draft pick.

Originally Posted by eklunds source View Post
Maybe there wasn't a player like Vermette available when Lehtonen was being shopped?
That shouldn’t be too hard to understand. Lehtonen, although very talented has strung together one injury after another in his career. Furthermore, he is not a cheap risk by any stretch, as he has to be qualified at $3 million. If the injuries and the high contract weren’t enough of a risk, he could become a UFA after one more season adding a third element of risk in acquiring him.

So naturally, NHL GM’s aren’t offering anything close to Vermette in value for Lehtonen.

But this is Hockey’s FUTURE after all, where every prospect and every draft pick is destined for stardom and thus has far more value than an actual, bonafide quality NHLer like Vermette.

Originally Posted by eklunds source View Post
Maybe Waddell is finally trying to rebuild with youth/prospects/picks, and he saw something in Vishnevsky's game that he likes?
You make it sound like the shrewd Waddell sized up the NHL landscape and zeroed in on this particular prospect as his desired return for Lehtonen.

More likely, the number of NHL teams looking for goaltending are limited to just a few.

Out of those few, the number looking for an oft-injured, $3 million goalie who becomes a UFA in one year reduced the few to even fewer.

Leaving Waddell with very little choice but to take whatever he was offered, and he may not have even had a second legitimate offer to contemplate.

Do you honestly believe that a team that finished 29th in defence last year, is 28th so far this year, already has offensive d-men in Enstrom, Bogosian, and Hainsey (I won’t include Kubina since he’s UFA and presumably not returning) would SEEK OUT yet another offensive defenceman with defensive short-comings to boot?

From Dallas’ point-of-view:

Stephane Robidas is Dallas’ top defenceman. No knock intended on Robidas, but if he is your best defenceman, your blue-line needs a lot of help.

Trevor Daley is Dallas’ 2nd-leading scorer among d-men with all of 12 points, and he has flat-lined into a very average NHL defenceman.

Matt Niskanen also has 12 points but after a good rookie season in 07-08, seems to be regressing, although he is still young enough to turn his game around for the better.

Vish was considered a very good prospect in the offensive zone with a lot of issues to iron out in the defensive zone. That’s one risk. There has also been talk about him bolting to the Russian League if he wasn’t going to become a regular on the Stars blue-line next year. Again, given the state of Dallas’ blue –line, it would seem that he would be a no-brainer to make the team next year if his development had been going well.

So Nieuwendyk trades him??? Wouldn’t that raise red flags for you?

The most positive spin I could put on it from Atlanta’s viewpoint is that Nieuwendyk thought Vish WAS NHL-ready for next year, but did not like being given ultimatums and threats about the Russian League from one of his players.

Which leaves Atlanta with a prospect with as many question-marks as Lehtonen. I’ll give Waddell some credit and assume that there was virtually no market for Lehtonen.

Originally Posted by eklunds source View Post
Hossa signed this past offseason for 5.275 million. A couple years ago, the Rangers signed Drury for over 7 million dollars. By your logic, Drury is the better player because he fetched more on the open market.
Hossa is a better signing. See how easy it was to destroy your invented logic that you ascribed to someone else?

If you were trying to use what you perceive to be my logic against me, you would’ve ascertained that Hossa was traded for Heatley, Drury had never been traded for anything close to that return, and you would’ve given up your flawed argument.

If you cannot, on a standalone basis judge the returns garnered by two very similar players, in this case goaltenders, close in age, close in ability, and who were traded within one year of each other, and must extrapolate it to something very dissimilar such as free-agent forwards and how many dollars they signed for, use value and common sense as your guide. Therefore you will never have to question who the better free-agent signing between Hossa and Drury was, or who won the Florida-Vancouver trade involving Luongo.

Originally Posted by eklunds source View Post
Ottawa took a chance that Leclaire would return to his career-year level of play and be injury-free, and they invested Vermette in that chance. It obviously hasn't paid off, and that doesn't increase Leclaire's value.
It hasn’t paid-off? You’ve already made that judgement 27 games into his Ottawa career?
Personally I wouldn’t write off a 27 year-old goaltender who battled Lundqvist for the shutout lead two seasons ago.

We can all assign subjective, speculative value on how much Leclaire or Lehtonen is worth, but there was an actual, real NHL trade, and try to wrap this around your head: Lehtonen WAS JUST TRADED FOR MUCH LESS THAN VERMETTE.

Originally Posted by eklunds source View Post
You're comparing trades that were made in different seasons, with different team needs, different team directions, different goaltenders, by general managers who value things different and believe it or not, take chances. If you want to compare the returns on those two trades, you have to balance out or otherwise account for the endless amounts of variables.
After having read that paragraph, I still think that trading Chara and Spezza for Yashin was a bad idea for the Islanders, although I might have sympathy for Milbury on how the endless variables of that trade might have distressed him…………..okay, no sympathy.

I’m a bottom-line guy. Was it a good trade or a bad trade, and I’m not very sympathetic to excuses.

There are numerous instances where I would surrender NHL talent in exchange for the risk/reward of picks/prospects, knowing that I might hit a home run, a ground rule double, or strike out completely with the gambles. A non-playoff team with a pending UFA that they have no intention of re-signing is the most obvious example of when you surrender proven NHL talent for the gamble of picks/prospects. Of course there are many other varying degrees beneath that most obvious example.

If you offer me a 1st-round pick for a 3rd-line NHL forward, I could well be interested in taking a chance on that pick. The upside of the pick is high while the low ceiling of the 3rd-liner has already been established.

This debate is comparing the returns netted by Leclaire and Lehtonen in trades. It’s comparing Vermette to Vishnevskiy, a 4th-round pick, and even a 2nd-round pick that was added to Leclaire to acquire Vermette.

Vermette is too high on the NHL totem-pole to compare unfavourably to picks/prospects that are less than blue-chip. He is neither too old or too inexperienced, too expensive, too soon to UFA, too limited, or anything negative. Vermette is what you hope all of your non 1st-round draft picks become, and what most of your 1st-round picks will become as well.

Vishnevskiy’s first challenge is to cross the AHL/NHL barrier. Is his defensive game adequate enough for the NHL?

If he can stick, the next question is how good can he become at the NHL level? In the Dallas vernacular if Vishnevskiy becomes “Trevor Daley good” then Vermette is a much better option.

If Vishnevskiy becomes a solid top four defenceman who puts up 40 points, then he will have value similar to what Vermette already brings to the table.

In other words, in comparing the trade returns netted by Leclaire and Lehtonen, Vishnevskiy may become what Vermette already is, but with Vermette it’s already in the bank without any risk that he busts or goes to the Russian League, risks that come with Vishnevskiy.

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