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11-18-2003, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Voodoo Daddy
This much is clear. However, which scenario is more likely, that Toronto improves it's drafting & development or that New Jersey becomes able to sign the UFA's that Toronto does? Same goes for Ottawa here.
New Jersey probably could sign free agents, but choose not to. This a key point though. I think the strategies are basically mutually exclusive. You have to open up the ice time for the kid to develop talent. An empty roster spot does have value. That's the worst part about signing a free agent. The Rangers would not be worse today if they had passed on Holik and said "Lundmark is the guy". Lundmark might be a lot better today.

One of the ripping debates in Vancouver this summer was signing a UFA to play with the Sedins. I thought that was a terrible idea because the team has a raft of young players, they are a young team, and they had very nearly a set lineup. Sign Ray Whitney for four years? What do you do with the prospects?

Or do you let the prospects fight for the one job available and give it to the best one? That's how you find a Jason King.

The Rangers can't develop players because they will never give a prospect a chance. The media and fans always clamour for the famous old guy. Quinn does like young players but the system has not produced. He has been treading water with free agents, "patching" is what he calls it. But he has said many times that the Leafs have to produce players to go to the next level. The media and fans always clamour for the famous old guy.

If you look at both New Jersey and Colorado, neither has gone into the free agent market much. Both are very selective about which players they keep beyond age 30. They dump guys like Mogilny or Klemm or Reinprecht all the time, moves that would result in the usual caterwauling in places like Edmonton. They do it so they can keep freeing ice time for the players they keep developing. Colorado has four rookies on the roster this year.

That's been the problem in both Detroit and Dallas. They signed too many free agents and they stopped producing players. They got great at the draft table, and they have stayed great with free agents. New Jersey and Colorado got great the same way, but are choosing to stay great by keeping on the same road.

Which is the right approach?

The only move I've criticised Ottawa for in the past few years was the decision to sign Smolinski. I would have given that job to Vermette or somebody.


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