RFA, six guys under contract next year, two solid guys that'll have to clear waivers starting next year, and Despres in wings...solid money is that he's shipped out leading up to the draft (or at the draft) in either a sign-and-deal or RFA rights situation.
Niskanen has won me over, but the circumstances point to him being the odd man out. It's hard to imagine we'll be paying ~$2.5 million for a third pairing defender if Simon Despres is ready for the same job.
“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile, but that it is indifferent. If we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death, our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” - Stanley Kubrick
It's not a given that Despres will be better than Nisky
He sure as hell looked it in his time in Pittsburgh.
It's called asset management, and Niskanen is an asset who is likely to attract a fairly decent return while being replaceable within the organization. If his deal ran for another year this probably wouldn't be a question, he's be on the team, but guys in Niskanen's vein have value in this league and he's not a guy that I trust when handling more than third pairing + 2nd unit PP duties.
A lot of it depends on what Niskanen asks for on his next deal and just how highly the Penguins think of those two soon-to-be waiver eligible players. Despres can be sent to WBS next year with no issue...barring injury I think he's ready to be in the NHL full-time come October, but WBS is an option for him...I don't know if that's the case with Strait and Bortuzzo. Strait has looked very solid in his couple games up here and has quietly been a solid defenseman in his time in this organization...it's not a guarantee that he'd be claimed, but there are two franchises that seem to pick over our depth players like raccoons so you can't be sure (Nick Johnson being plucked off waivers over some of the names on that list earlier this year would have been surprising if he'd gone somewhere other than Minnesota or Columbus). Bortuzzo has enough tools that I think he's going to be snagged if he has to go through waivers.
I just don't a.) think Niskanen is worth $2.5 million and b.) think he's easily replaceable. I like the guy, and if circumstances were different I'd be thrilled to have him turn his career around and continue to be a Penguin for a long time, but some people are inevitably going to fall victim to the numbers game on occasion...and even a conservative $500k raise would put his cap hit at more than double anyone that would replace him...
I'm just thrilled that a guy who was nothing more than a throw-in from the Dallas end of things has played well enough that we can have this discussion. Worst case scenario we likely got a very solid season out of him and an extra 3rd rounder.
Last edited by Big McLargehuge: 03-08-2012 at 08:14 PM.
Shero will offer him a contract but will end up trading his rights for a 4th or 3rd round pick. And there is nothing wrong with that. Sooner or later Despres will force Bylsma to give him regular minutes, and that means Engalland would sit over Niskanen. Gotta have more than 1 physical Dman in the lineup.
I can't see any way he's on the team next season unless one of Orpik/Michalek/Martin are moved in the off-season and even then it's not a slam dunk. I think Niskanaen is a bit overrated by fans. He's a very solid 3rd pairing d who has greatly benefited from playing sheltered minutes and having modest expectations. His shortcomings are exposed when more is asked of him. He's pretty decent at moving the puck but is not a really a great passer, he has a nice shot but is very inaccurate and hasn't shown anything when given top pp time. His defensive game is alright but nothing more than solid at best.
In short, he is what he is. A good 3rd pairing d-man who gives some offense and solid d against other teams lesser lights. I can't think of any scenario when he would be a second pairing d-man on a team that fancies itself a cup contender and any team that expects more from him will be disappointed like Dallas was with his play. I think Dave Tippet said it best when asked about him recently "I don't think he's a front-line player," Tippett said. "He's a very good complementary player, just how they've used him here. The expectations, being a first-round pick in Dallas, maybe got out of whack after his early success."
I think it's a net loss asset-wise if the team resigns Niskanen for 2.5-3m if it means losing a guy like Strait for nothing.
When do sign and trades ever happen? I don't understand that term.
There's no need to rush Despres on the back of 14 NHL games and an injury shortened season. He has offensive upside that I'd like to see seasoned and for him to develop as a true multi-dimensional defenseman.
Bortuzzo or Strait I think are more likely to displace Ben Lovejoy.
No harm in keeping Niskanen around at least for another season or until Despres starts banging the door down.
When do sign and trades ever happen? I don't understand that term.
It just happened with Ben Bishop. He probably doesn't fetch a 2nd rounder without a signed contract in place for next season.
I doubt it happens with Niskanen since he's going to be a RFA, not a UFA like Bishop would have been.
FWIW, I wouldn't be surprised if Niskanen gets offer-sheeted if he's not signed or traded by then...and he'd comfortably fit in the range of 2nd round pick compensation ($1,567,043 - $3,134,088). That's the high-end of his trade value as I see it anyway.
No, that was misreported. Bishop was signed by Ottawa, not St. Louis.
Well then Ottawa had permission to speak with him before-hand, because there's no way that deal happened with contract discussions beginning and finishing before the trade reached the media. We're cutting hairs here.
I don't think its splitting hairs. Even if that's how it went down with Bishop, prior negotiation from the team trading for the player is a very different story to hashing out a contract yourself and then shopping that contract around. For starters, I don't see how you're going to get the best deal possible when you add the potential baggage of a contract that a potential suitor might not want.
Either way, Ottawa instigated the contract agreement.
Sign-and-trades don't really work in leagues unless they're like the NBA where the salary of the players moved has to be within a certain % of each other. Best case scenario is they trade his RFA rights for a 4th rounder or something.
Do we really get that much more value with a sign and trade versus trading his rights?
We can get a 2nd rounder for him either way imo.
Can't see Pens getting a 2nd for him, some recent d-man rights trades are James Wisniewski MTL to CLB for 2012 7th, Christian Ehrhoff VAN (Through NYI) to BUF for 2012 4th, Flyers trading Dan Hamhuis' rights to Pens for a 2011 3rd and other better players than Niskanen for lower picks. Niskanen has the advantage to the team trading for him that he is only a RFA and will command a lesser salary but he is also a lesser player than those guys. I can't his RFA status making up for the difference that much, could be wrong but I'd be surprised. A team could just offer sheet him and lose a 2nd rather than mess around with a trade, that's why I think a 4th or 5th for first dibs would be the most likely scenario.
Can't see Pens getting a 2nd for him, some recent d-man rights trades are James Wisniewski MTL to CLB for 2012 7th, Christian Ehrhoff VAN (Through NYI) to BUF for 2012 4th, Flyers trading Dan Hamhuis' rights to Pens for a 3rd last year and other better players than Niskanen for lower picks. Niskanen has the advantage to the team trading for him that he is only a RFA and will command a lesser salary but he is also a lesser player than those guys. I can't his RFA status making up for the difference that much.