REALISTIC Free Agent Acquisitions
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05-08-2006, 10:28 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Originally Posted by
Your irony isn't lost on me but you're not quite as dead-on as you think you are. Aucoin may not have had a successful debut with Chicago (who would!) but he was great when he went from Vancouver to Long Island. Zhamnov was damaged goods when he arrived in Boston. He was injured from the start and never recovered. You could watch Khabibulin rise from the dead if he were traded back to Tampa Bay. Perreault had a scoring renaissance after he became a free agent, outscoring Ribeiro. Brisebois did all right in Colorado. Satan played very well in Long Island. Bondra played better for Atlanta than he did for Ottawa. Same with Nylander for the Rangers. Kovalev played better for the Habs this season than he did for the Rangers/Habs in 2003-04. There are still other examples to counterbalance your etcetra.
The point is that banking on a player playing as well as they did in their pending-UFA season, in a very unique situation (where Savard had two of arguably the top 5 snipers in the game playing with him. And yes, I realize Hossa and Kovalchuk didn't play on the same line) is just nonsensical.
There are countless examples of players who had breakthrough-type seasons, signed a large contract and never met those numbers again. Jose Theodore is a good example of that. I would say that there are far more UFA-contracts signed after a breakthrough season which
work out as planned than there are which do work out as planned. But that's not the point .. as stated, the point is that the two situations (Atlanta and Montreal) are not comparable, so why try to make the comparison.
I understand you don't like Ribeiro. I think everyone gets it by now. It may surprise you, but I was one of Ribeiro's more vocal detractors on this forum until this season. But you need to at least acknowledge that Ribeiro has some ability once in awhile. Otherwise it just comes across as constant chirping and borderline trolling since you dispute any positive remarks about our little Portugese Gretzky. And otherwise, you're well spoken and balanced in your posts.
The bottom line here (IMO) is that:
Montreal needs another quality top six forward type of player. Preferably a center, but not a necessity.
This past year provided more clarity in several weaknesses MTL has up front:
- first line players (when Koivu went down, first line was lost)
- down the middle, MTL was beaten by Carolina (blame Ribeiro; blame the fact that Montreal doesn't have a Brind'Amour type player while every remaining team in the East does--BUF with Drury; OTT with Fisher; NJ with Madden)
- second line LW was a revolving door and weak all year
Ribeiro is not the only problem with this team. It is possible for fundamentally weak players to succeed on a fundamentally strong team so long as they're not the only weak link that plays an important role. Gomez in his early years was very comparable to Ribeiro: he was slow, thin, a good playmaker who didn't finish all that well, and he was completely dominated down low if he was caught on the ice on the wrong match-up. NJ shielded Gomez from the better opponents because of this. Yet he was still successful and had tremendous chemistry to provide secondary scoring with Mogilny and Brylin down the stretch & playoffs.
I know Gomez has developed, improved and was probably a stronger offensive player as soon as he entered the league. But the comparison stands in that Gomez was fundamentally (and physically) weak in a system that relied on very strong intangible players.
Will Ribeiro improve to that point? I don't know. But he has shown more tenacity, less acting, and improved (though not at the right times) in the neutral zone.
If Montreal sees an opportunity to pick up a better center--terrific. But I'd sooner shore up the two other noticeable issues with this forward group (lack of a real first-line, lack of a quality second line LW) because I'm optimistic that Ribeiro would be OK if he was the only weak-link in this top six forward group. In fact, I think he could be useful because he does have some good raw ability.
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