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10-23-2010, 02:13 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Land of no calls..
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Originally Posted by Sting36e View Post
In almost any instance, I'm in total agreement with you. I've always been one of the loudest supporters here of not signing free agents. I wanted a real rebuild, I was completely against every single one of the major free agent signings this team has made (not that he isn't a great player, but that even includes Gaborik), etc. But in this particular case, I don't agree.

The fact of the matter is we aren't going to rebuild the right way, we DO have Gaborik, Lundqvist isn't going to be a young man forever, and as impressive as Stepan and Anisimov are (and I love both of them), players like Richards don't come along every day. I think what has happened is that the horrible management of Sather which you cited has blinded even very rational, intelligent observers like yourself to the good that free agency can bring. Richards is the anti-Gomez, the anti-Redden.

Richards is the real deal, and players of his caliber RARELY reach the free agent market. Especially playmaking centers. I'm 100 percent against trading for Lecavalier (who I believe is an inferior player to Richards, and whose contract stinks), and while I would be willing to trade for Spezza, I still feel that Ottawa would be incredibly foolish to trade him away. But I'm all for getting Richards. He's the right kind of free agent to splurge on. Finally, you're paying money for someone that's actually worth it. It's immeasurable the impact an 80-90 point superb playmaker can make on a team, not to mention his experience, leadership and intangibles and the way that can rub off on a young team like this.

And if our organization is as deep with solid young players as we are led to believe, then parting with 2-3 of those pieces for something worthwhile should not be a problem. I'd be willing to do that (depending on which pieces we're talking about) if it meant nabbing Richards with a guaranteed contract extension.
I really have nothing against Richards. He's a fantastic player, and I really enjoy watching him play. You're absolutely right in the fact that he would be a great addition to the team.

Also, I really have no problem with acquiring free agents in general. What I do have a problem with, is the manner in which we acquire them. Free agency, to me at least, is the way you fill the holes in your lineup after you have developed your core. Not the other way around. Yes, the Gomez, Drury and Redden signings have made me weary about free agency, but that doesn't mean I want to avoid it entirely.

We do have a solid core, and a quality group of prospects as well, but that doesn't mean we should gamble on the unproven ones coming through. Trading Dubinsky when we have Kreider on the farm is not a good idea. Trading Dubinsky when Kreider has proven he can play in the NHL and contribute? That's something I can get on board with.

I understand that Gaborik and Hank aren't getting any younger, but they're also not even 30 years old yet. Hank has another 7+ years in him, and Gaborik's health is a gamble regardless of what the rest of the team looks like. I don't want to rush the process, just because the age of our two best players is higher each year.

I really dread a scenario where we end up with Richards for 7 years, and $55MM, and then we watch our young core go elsewhere when we can't trade a 35 year old Richards who's game is starting to decline.

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