As I weigh the teams performance over the last couple years against what I see is a coming cap crunch for next season... Ive been forced to put myself into some very uncomfortable shoes that | imagine Chiarelli must be dealing with at the moment. The issue is that I don't think our 'top line' works and I think our third line is going to be too expensive moving forward. I also think that an injury to any of our top 3 dmen at playoff time would effectively end our season.
One trade alone isn't going to address these concerns adequately. So here is a package of three trades that might seem kind of radical but remember that the Penguins just made 3 deals themselves and they are the team to beat right now as we sit here the day before the deadline.
To address both the need for a top line makeover and defense depth my first move would be with Edmonton. This is a HUGE move and you all will hate it but I think if you look at my three moves as a package you will see where I am going here.
The deal is Lucic/Thornton/Ference/Second round pick for Yakupov/Hemsky/Whitney
Lucic is a massive fan favorite but he is also signed for 6 mill a year going forward. Hemsky is greatly overrated by Oiler fans but my hope would be he would show chemistry with Krecji. Yakupov is obviously the key return here... not so much for this year but moving forward he is an affordable guy for the next 2 years and hopefully after that the cap will have gone up. I think Edmonton does this move because it almost instantly fixes all their problems with grit/leadership for the next 2-3 years. They pick up 3 winners. Of course I am suggesting they would resign Thornton/Ference.
Boston doesn't fix all their problems with this one trade. We drastically hurt our grit... so my second proposal is that we do need Clowe for this playoff run.
My second deal is Peverly and a first for Clowe. Whether or not this is overpayment for a rental doesn't concern me. Peverly isn't affordable in next year's cap and isn't needed for this year's playoff run if the team makes my suggested moves. His spot is going to go to Yakupov.
I think with these two moves our forward group is pretty established. The final move is to get a top 4 dman to insure us against the potential of a crippling injury. I think Dallas is still selling and Stephane Robidas is available as a target for salary dumping. He is signed for next year but Boston has 2 compliance buyouts if he cant be flipped. We do have 3 potential right side top 4 dmen in Seidenberg/Boychuck/Hamilton but we have only 2 potential top 4 left side dmen and if Seidenberg is paired with Chara then we have no left side dman to play second pair.
I would offer up one of Krug or Bartowski and a second round pick for a guy like Robidas. It doesn't have to be Robidas if some other team is willing to give up a guy like this that can upgrade our top 4 on the left hand side. Mark Strait would be a much better pickup but cost us more to get too.
im suggesting quite a lot of movement here... but IMHO our current mix wont work... hasn't worked for awhile now. Our Krecji line needs fixing and our D needs help. HW's like Thornton don't normally have a role to play at playoff time anyhow...
I think the lineup after my suggestions would be impressive enough to give Pittsburgh a good run in these playoffs.
Seguin/Bergeron/Marchand remain intact
Hemsky/Krecji/Clowe need to answer questions but I like it on paper
Horton/Kelly/Soderberg seem to have great potential as a third line
Yakupov/Campbell/Paille sure look good to me as a forth line
Spooner is around for depth and so are Paldolfo/MacDermid
Seidenberg/Chara is as good a top pair dmen as anyone has
Boychuck/Robidais pleases me as an option to roll out for second pair
Hamilton/McQuaid/Whitney would give us attractive options
Going into next year... hole will open up when Clowe/Horton/Robidais need to be moved on but it will be doable with Spooner playing a bigger role and Hamilton one step closer to being a legit top 3 guy. Hopefully both Yakupov and Soderberg would be legit top 9 forwards cause their talent level suggests they would be. Knight would get a roster spot to break into the team on a 4th line role if Thornton was moved... and I haven't completely given up on Caron either.
Cap concerns are a reality. No one will be pleased by my suggestion to move Lucic but the reality is he is signed for 6 mill next year and we might not be able to afford everyone. Is he my first choice to move out? Maybe not... but he would get back the best return maybe... I think Chiarelli should at least see if Edmonton would bite on a Yakupov move.
and then if we do move Lucic... getting Clowe to lessen the impact of losing that much grit would be a smart move. A lot of Peverly fans will tell me that he is too valueable to let go... but they need to remember he is a 3.25 mill third liner on a team that is going to be strapped for cap room. I will agree that he is a useful guy but we will have Yakupov needing a spot to fit into the top 9 if my deals go down... Yakupov >>> Peverly and cheaper too for next year.
Anyhow... I think we need to make at least one move to address top 6 chemistry... and at least one move to address top 4 defense depth. The third line will probably be fixed by Soderberg and whoever falls out of the top 6... but I want to see at least 2 moves that help before the deadline passes tomorrow
Ference and Thornton are redundant to Edmonton. Aging and showing it badly. Thornton has maybe 2 years left from the looks of it. You couldn't get Yakupov out of Edmonton for anything less than Lucic, a 1st and either a second or a good prospect. His potential is through the roof and he's 30 games into his career on a mediocre team. No way Tambellini makes that deal you proposed.