Thread: Salary Cap: $59 million in 2010-11?
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04-19-2010, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by 94now View Post
Compliment to Gaborik is expected from a 2nd line winger I was talking about. Someone with Zherdev talent level or close. #1 center is needed because there's hole at that position and it may cost a lot to properly fill it..
I just think you (and many others) are too pigeonholed in the traditional #1c - #1 winger dichotomy. Gaborik showed he can perform phenomenally with Christensen, Prospal, or Dubinsky centering him. Why invest $7+ million in a #1 center when you can get just as good performance by having another elite winger? And, there just happens to be an elite winger available.

Joe Thornton, Brad Richards, etc. might turn Gaborik into a 50 goal scorer and add ~20 goals of their own (while benefiting whoever plays LW on that line - let's say Dubinsky for purposes of this argument). An elite winger on a different line won't increase Gaborik's production, but will take pressure off of him and add ~40 goals of their own.

Alternatively, you can sign Kovalchuk, leave Dubinsky and Christensen with Gaborik, and now have another line that is just as dangerous, instead of one line that is marginally better.

So under the #1C scenario you've got:
Dubinsky - First-Line Center - Gaborik
Second-Line Winger - Anisimov/Drury/Christensen - Callahan

You need to fill two holes, and if you're doing it from UFA, that means you're overpaying two more players. I just don't see Gaborik's production increasing that much... maybe he becomes a 50 goal scorer, but I seriously doubt he becomes a 55, let along 60 goal scorer.

Alternatively, you can get equal, or arguably better production by signing Kovalchuk (or acquiring a different elite winger: ie: Nash, etc. - Kovalchuk's available, so I'll go with him), and end up with:
Dubinsky - Christensen - Gaborik
Kovalchuk - Anisimov/Drury - Callahan

You've now only brought in 1 UFA, meaning another spot for a player to develop (and having 4 players playing with Gaborik or Kovalchuk at any given time will certainly help their development). Now, instead of shutting down 1 line, you've got two elite scoring threats who make their entire lines better.

Summary: I think people are too focused on the "ideal" hockey lineup (ie: we need a #1 center no matter what) instead of the possibility that we can build a legitimate offense in a different way.

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