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(THW) Nashville's Free Agent Flops

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Old
07-09-2013, 12:40 PM
  #1
struckbyaparkedcar
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(THW) Nashville's Free Agent Flops

Hey guys, I'm The Hockey Writers' new Predators' contributor. I know this isn't the most positive article to make introductions with, but I'm really down on the four signings Nashville made, especially in the context of the grinder overload.

If there's anything specific you guys want to see, shoot me a PM or something.

http://thehockeywriters.com/nashvill...e-agent-flops/

Quote:
The spending spree hit the Music City as hard as anywhere else in the league, as David Poile used his extra negotiating time to add four new contracts to the fold, signing free agent forwards Viktor Stalberg, Matt Cullen, Eric Nystrom and Matt Hendricks. Unfortunately for the Predators however, each of these transactions were among the lowest-value signings on the day, and have a real chance of challenging Paul Gaustad for the worst bang-per-buck on the roster. Either Poille couldn’t attract any marquee free agents and had to settle for the pu pu platter, or he’s grabbing random bodies to plug holes before wildly trading from the roster. Terrifyingly, he could also be really high on his current forward crop, which would explain adding such specialized role player types.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s examine these varying degrees of bad.


Last edited by struckbyaparkedcar: 07-09-2013 at 02:13 PM.
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07-09-2013, 12:43 PM
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NoNecksCurse
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lol... not thrilled with the signings. but ill wait and see.. pu pu platter lmao

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07-09-2013, 12:57 PM
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You're down on Cullen and Stalberg? I can understand the other two but how come these?

Nevermind, read your piece. But you also have Stalberg on a 3 year contract worth 9 million when it's actually 4 years at 12 million.

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07-09-2013, 12:59 PM
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If you consider the fact that what killed Nashville last season was depth, then these signings aren't that bad at all. Adding Jones on defense just shores that up even more. Plus, most of the FA out there weren't really attractive either. the real deal will happen in trades.

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07-09-2013, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kypredsfan View Post
You're down on Cullen and Stalberg? I can understand the other two but how come these?
Because they're sheltered players, and the guys doing the sheltering on their old teams are way better than Nashville's forwards.

Stalberg is the highest potential of the bunch, but he's a really dumb player. He's Ales Kotalik, if Kotalik had wheels instead of a slapper. If whoever his center ends up being can bounce pucks off him, great. If he has an off-season shooting% wise, he's not really bringing anything to the table.

Cullen will be 37 by the start of the season, and was pretty poor in a grinder-heavy lineup before the Wild added Suter/Parise/Brodin/Coyle.

Each guy does well when things around him are going well, but aren't really the type to turn around their team, or even their linemate's fortunes by themselves.

If you're spending 11+ mil on UFAs, I'd rather get one or two guys whose floor is the type of productive, sheltered third liners that Stalberg and Cullen are, and who has a much higher ceiling, than a bunch of guys who are either busting or succeeding because the things around them are going well.

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07-09-2013, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by struckbyaparkedcar View Post
Because they're sheltered players, and the guys doing the sheltering on their old teams are way better than Nashville's forwards.

Stalberg is the highest potential of the bunch, but he's a really dumb player. He's Ales Kotalik, if Kotalik had wheels instead of a slapper. If whoever his center ends up being can bounce pucks off him, great. If he has an off-season shooting% wise, he's not really bringing anything to the table.

Cullen will be 37 by the start of the season, and was pretty poor in a grinder-heavy lineup before the Wild added Suter/Parise/Brodin/Coyle.

Each guy does well when things around him are going well, but aren't really the type to turn around their team, or even their linemate's fortunes by themselves.

If you're spending 11+ mil on UFAs, I'd rather get one or two guys whose floor is the type of productive, sheltered third liners that Stalberg and Cullen are, and who has a much higher ceiling, than a bunch of guys who are either busting or succeeding because the things around them are going well.
Well pretty much every single Wild fan on here has been talking Cullen up and defending him against people like you. Guess time will prove someone wrong.

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07-09-2013, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevFist View Post
If you consider the fact that what killed Nashville last season was depth, then these signings aren't that bad at all. Adding Jones on defense just shores that up even more. Plus, most of the FA out there weren't really attractive either. the real deal will happen in trades.
Addressed in the conclusion.

Even still, Poile spent on guys that can't be relied on outside of sheltered matchups, that in-and-of-itself is a poor decision. At least someone like Gordon is an excellent defensive asset regardless of where he actually plays.*

*I know he might have chosen Edmonton, I'm just using him as an example.


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07-09-2013, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by KevFist View Post
If you consider the fact that what killed Nashville last season was depth, then these signings aren't that bad at all. Adding Jones on defense just shores that up even more. Plus, most of the FA out there weren't really attractive either. the real deal will happen in trades.
Depth was 3rd or 4th on the list of Nashville's problems last season. Scoring, puck possession, and lack of offensive chances was by far #1.

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07-09-2013, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Paranoid Android View Post
Depth was 3rd or 4th on the list of Nashville's problems last season. Scoring, puck possession, and lack of offensive chances was by far #1.
Part of our poor possession and lack of chances was getting consistently hemmed into our own zone, and burning out our top lines by forcing them to play in situations that a competent third and fourth line would normally be able to manage. I think these signings will go a long way toward taking some of the defensive burden off our more skilled players.

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07-09-2013, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Iron Duke View Post
Part of our poor possession and lack of chances was getting consistently hemmed into our own zone, and burning out our top lines by forcing them to play in situations that a competent third and fourth line would be able to manage. I think these signings will go a long way toward taking some of the defensive burden off our more skilled players.
Oh I agree. Name any issue and Nashville had it. They were bad any way you slice it.

But I would disagree that it's accurate to say depth sticks out as the #1 issue

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07-09-2013, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by struckbyaparkedcar View Post
Because they're sheltered players, and the guys doing the sheltering on their old teams are way better than Nashville's forwards.

Stalberg is the highest potential of the bunch, but he's a really dumb player. He's Ales Kotalik, if Kotalik had wheels instead of a slapper. If whoever his center ends up being can bounce pucks off him, great. If he has an off-season shooting% wise, he's not really bringing anything to the table.

Cullen will be 37 by the start of the season, and was pretty poor in a grinder-heavy lineup before the Wild added Suter/Parise/Brodin/Coyle.

Each guy does well when things around him are going well, but aren't really the type to turn around their team, or even their linemate's fortunes by themselves.

If you're spending 11+ mil on UFAs, I'd rather get one or two guys whose floor is the type of productive, sheltered third liners that Stalberg and Cullen are, and who has a much higher ceiling, than a bunch of guys who are either busting or succeeding because the things around them are going well.
The way Trotz mixes lines up, there really aren't 1st, 2nd, and 3rd lines in the traditional sense. Everyone of his lines tends to be two-way, aggressive forechecking lines.

The things that the signings address are 'toughness', puck possession, and depth for keeping the youngsters at forward motivated to keep their jobs and follow assignments with veterans lurking to take their jobs. Before that we had a glaring hole in the second pairing with Josi moving up to replace Suter that Seth Jones has likely filled.

Toughness and puck possession being addressed shows that the team is likely to follow the 2010 model which nearly knocked Chicago out of a Cup run rather than the 2012 model with a noted KHL cast-off that got out-Predator'ed by Phoenix. Injuries to Wilson, Hornqvist, and Fisher last season also showed how much other teams could take liberties and pot-shots at our roster. I highly suspect much of the signings intent were to also protect the assets developed in Forsberg, Wilson, Horny, etc. and mentor the young forwards (ie Budish, Leisig, etc.) in the system as much anything else to defend each other. I agree that the prices paid seem out of whack, but so is the price of free agents and the cost of insurance that has any value when you need it.

Then again I grew up as a Blues fan in the 80's that was left for dead on the leagues's doorstep and where stars like Gilmour and Mullen were cast off in return for aging second liners and grinders, yet always made the playoffs and occasionally the conference finals. It's all about the coach, the buy-in from players that can play the roles needed for your system, and of course, for things like avoiding untimely injuries to break right for you. If that falls apart, we're picking top 5 again. Otherwise, we're a playoff team in the old Norris Division sense. Maybe not a Cup team; but one that'll keep a lot of other teams from getting there too.

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07-09-2013, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by SavageSteve View Post
The way Trotz mixes lines up, there really aren't 1st, 2nd, and 3rd lines in the traditional sense. Everyone of his lines tends to be two-way, aggressive forechecking lines.
I understand that. It's what a coach does when he has a center group like Fisher/Legwand. Issue being, only one of these guys is a notable possession driver (Stalberg), and I can't overstress how sheltered he was doing it.

Quote:
The things that the signings address are 'toughness', puck possession, and depth for keeping the youngsters at forward motivated to keep their jobs and follow assignments with veterans lurking to take their jobs. Before that we had a glaring hole in the second pairing with Josi moving up to replace Suter that Seth Jones has likely filled.
Right. I see what Poile is trying to do, I just question the effectiveness at which he did it. And you only hit like .5/4 on the bolded.

Unless simply filling out your depth with players who can hold NHL jobs is enough, and if that's the case, why are you not just signing whoever's left now instead of paying a premium for the mediocre "name" guys. Like, Mason Raymond is way better at puck possession and defense than Stalberg is and he'd be way, way cheaper than 4/12...

Quote:
Toughness and puck possession being addressed shows that the team is likely to follow the 2010 model which nearly knocked Chicago out of a Cup run rather than the 2012 model with a noted KHL cast-off that got out-Predator'ed by Phoenix. Injuries to Wilson, Hornqvist, and Fisher last season also showed how much other teams could take liberties and pot-shots at our roster. I highly suspect much of the signings intent were to also protect the assets developed in Forsberg, Wilson, Horny, etc. and mentor the young forwards (ie Budish, Leisig, etc.) in the system as much anything else to defend each other. I agree that the prices paid seem out of whack, but so is the price of free agents and the cost of insurance that has any value when you need it.
I'm not disagreeing with any of this, see above point about Mason Raymond and waiting out UFA.

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Then again I grew up as a Blues fan in the 80's that was left for dead on the leagues's doorstep and where stars like Gilmour and Mullen were cast off in return for aging second liners and grinders, yet always made the playoffs and occasionally the conference finals. It's all about the coach, the buy-in from players that can play the roles needed for your system, and of course, for things like avoiding untimely injuries to break right for you. If that falls apart, we're picking top 5 again. Otherwise, we're a playoff team in the old Norris Division sense. Maybe not a Cup team; but one that'll keep a lot of other teams from getting there too.
I basically came to the same conclusion.

Quote:
If you can’t tell, there’s a theme here, and Hendricks is the fourth Nashville free agent signing of the unimpressive depth forward variety. These new Predators will probably add the depth to help a team crushed under the weight of injuries last season do better than 14th in the conference, but their total contribution to that effort will fall laughably short of their price tag. Before July 5th, the Predators needed to develop their youth and add difference-making talent at forward, and with that date come and gone, they still need to achieve those goals.


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07-09-2013, 02:08 PM
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hate to point it out but there's only one "L" in Poile.

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07-09-2013, 02:14 PM
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Great article and fair points. Poile made some head scratching moves on July 5th.

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07-09-2013, 02:15 PM
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Heh. Never making that mistake again.

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07-09-2013, 02:24 PM
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Overall, it'll be interesting to see how the lines and chemistry come together. We all hope Poile has a plan in place. On paper, I'm happy with the Stalberg signing, but really wondering why almost $8 mil was spent on the remaining 3. I guess we'll see....

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07-09-2013, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by struckbyaparkedcar View Post
Hey guys, I'm The Hockey Writers' new Predators' contributor. I know this isn't the most positive article to make introductions with, but I'm really down on the four signings Nashville made, especially in the context of the grinder overload.

If there's anything specific you guys want to see, shoot me a PM or something.

http://thehockeywriters.com/nashvill...e-agent-flops/
Thanks for pointing out how bad Poile has really been in trying to acquire Front Line Talent in the Free Agent market &/or overpaying for 3rd/4th line players ... blech.

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07-09-2013, 02:30 PM
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I assume this is the first article you've written. Congrats.

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07-09-2013, 03:04 PM
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I also feel that Hendricks and Nystrom were also signed for what they bring in the locker room in addition to the efforts they bring to the ice. I've seen numerous scribes talk about Hendricks' ability to loosen a tight locker-room or deliver some needed motivation in addition to being a stand-up guy to the media.

Nystrom had my head scratching a lot until I saw what he posted on Vine the other day which showed his ability to be a 'character' the other day after signing (https://vine.co/v/hWIPbWQ39W2).

Sure you can get the same production on the ice with cheaper guys; but will you go to war for them as well? I think that that is the algorithm Poile and Trotz are playing at with those signings especially after hearing Trotz speak of 'Entertainment Taxes' next season during the FA signing presser. Guys like that are invaluable if the chemistry is right for the team in order to stay loose and keep focus at the same time. By late-November I think we'll have a good feel if these moves compute with their calculus or will it be another case like Heisenberg miscalculating the critical mass of U-235 needed for a Nazi atomic bomb in a hockey sense (and also maybe foreshadow the conclusion of Breaking Bad)...

Hell I was trained as a bench chemist and know that there are definite steps to doing things but know you often have to adjust for the environment often based on feel and experience. Based on that, I will defer to their judgement until they fall on their faces and face the axe.

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07-09-2013, 03:06 PM
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Not bad. A bit on the pessimistic side.

I think alot rides on Stalberg. If he can turn himself into the 25-30G scorer we need, then no one will care we paid a little too much for a couple of 3rd line energy guys.

If he flops, the perception will be that we spent a bunch of money and didn't get a scorer and the whole crop will look bad. We'll have to see and keep our fingers crossed.


To be honest though, there really weren't all that many great choices out there for UFA's. Our guys don't look so bad when you think that CBJ had to commit 7 years to Horton. Clarkson's deal with Toronto, 5 mil for Filppula, etc, etc, etc.

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07-09-2013, 03:33 PM
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To be honest though, there really weren't all that many great choices out there for UFA's. Our guys don't look so bad when you think that CBJ had to commit 7 years to Horton. Clarkson's deal with Toronto, 5 mil for Filppula, etc, etc, etc.
Good point...OP, do you have suggestions of which players Poile should have gone after instead? Save the cap room for now, maybe? Just curious.

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07-09-2013, 03:44 PM
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I found the overall quality of the article to be below average, as with most of the articles I've read on that site.

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07-09-2013, 04:15 PM
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I found the overall quality of the article to be below average, as with most of the articles I've read on that site.
That's what happens when a writer that doesn't know a team writes about them.

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07-09-2013, 04:35 PM
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Column in Washington Post saying goodbye to Matt Hendricks.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports...d39_story.html

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07-09-2013, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by struckbyaparkedcar View Post
Because they're sheltered players, and the guys doing the sheltering on their old teams are way better than Nashville's forwards.

Stalberg is the highest potential of the bunch, but he's a really dumb player. He's Ales Kotalik, if Kotalik had wheels instead of a slapper. If whoever his center ends up being can bounce pucks off him, great. If he has an off-season shooting% wise, he's not really bringing anything to the table.

Cullen will be 37 by the start of the season, and was pretty poor in a grinder-heavy lineup before the Wild added Suter/Parise/Brodin/Coyle.

Each guy does well when things around him are going well, but aren't really the type to turn around their team, or even their linemate's fortunes by themselves.

If you're spending 11+ mil on UFAs, I'd rather get one or two guys whose floor is the type of productive, sheltered third liners that Stalberg and Cullen are, and who has a much higher ceiling, than a bunch of guys who are either busting or succeeding because the things around them are going well.
Lol whatever.

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