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01-28-2013, 02:48 PM
Resident Leaf Homer
HarrisonFord's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Toronto
Country: Canada
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Things to consider:

1. Phil Kessel has a contract which is expiring at the end of the 2013-2014 season, making him an UFA. He has a contract right now at $5.4M per year. Consider what he's going to want for a contract. $7M? $8M? I just get the feeling that we're going to have to pay extra to keep him here. Though honestly, I think that if we have Tyler Bozak here, we oddly have a huge chip in our favour. Kessel is an awkward guy, and I don't think he makes friends easily. He's one of the few players in the league that I think something like this would really matter for.

2. Bozak is a UFA at the end of this year. I think he should get locked up soon, regardless of whether or not we tank/rebuild. If we are going to target a potential 1st line center in this next draft, then Bozak is a great candidate to temporarily hold that spot down until our guy develops. He's at $1.5M per year right now. I think that we could sign him for something in the range of 3.0-3.5 for 3-5 years. Again, a big bargaining chip if we want to try and convince Kessel to re-sign.

3. Dion Phaneuf expires and is a UFA at the same time as Kessel. I think his case is different that Kessel's. While Kessel is going to push for max cash and term, I think we could get Phaneuf at a slight discount. If we could get him for $7M per, and I think that would be good for us, and for him. I think he might have trouble getting more than that on the open market. He's our captain, and like all captains I think you get the benefit of his sense of obligation for the team.

4. We have Grabovski locked up until 2018. We have one of the best (imo at least) 2nd line centers in the league. That's a stanley cup championship quality 2nd line center.

5. We have JVR also locked up until 2019. I think he'll eventually develop into a 1st line LW. We also have Lupul locked up for that same term. When healthy, he's a top 20 1st line winger. Can play both LW and RW.

My idea:

1. Trade Kessel. I'm not saying this because I undervalue how great he is. I think he's one of the best wingers in the game. I also think that if you can team him to go into the corners, get a little bit physical, etc he would arguably be in the top 3. However, I don't think he can do it. If you can trade Kessel for something like ROR + a 1st, then I think Nonis should do it. The risk of having Kessel walk at the end of next season terrifies me. Having him walk would put that trade with Boston into a whole new level of terrible.

2. Tank this season. McKinnon, Jones, Barkov and Drouin are all potential franchise players. Building our team around Kessel and Phaneuf hasn't worked. We are trying to build a team around 2 players. That really is a stretch. It worked in Pittsburgh because they are the two best players in the game. Even they have MAF and Letang. Think about building a team around: McKinnon, Rielly, Gardiner, Phaneuf. That's 4 quality players.

3. Go hard after one of the upcoming UFA goalies. I don't want Mike Smith, because he's a product of Dave Tippet. We have: Backstrom, Howard, Theodore this year. And in 2014, we have Lundqvist, Miller, Kipper, Hiller, Halak, Dubnyk. I would be surprised if we couldn't acquire ONE UFA goalie over the next two offseasons. And we do have the extra year window because we wouldn't be expecting to be a contender for 3-4 years.

We could have something like this in 2-3 years:

Lupul - McKinnon - JVR
xxxxx - Grabovski - xxxxx
Frattin? - Kadri - Biggs?
Ross? - xxxxxxxxx - Broll?

Phaneuf - Rielly
Gardiner - Finn?
Percy? - xxxxxxxx

UFA Goalie

The xxxxx's could easily be filled via Free Agency.

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