Finland is now producing more goalies than the national team can use, and I thought about offering them to other countries in return for useful skaters. While the primary need lies on the wings, Sweden has no wingers to spare either, so I'm looking for blueline depth, optimally a top 4 defenseman for the next eight years or so. Sweden could use some depth or instant help in the crease: Tellqvist, Liv and Lundqvist will only get you so far and they have a good deal of fighting through the ranks to go.
What kind of a deal (or deals) would you be willing to make in a friendly spirit of haggling? Any Finnish goalie is available for the right price (but unfortunately the only right price for Lehtonen is a Slavic winger). Johnsson, Bäckman, Kronwall, Fransson and Hedman are the most interesting Swedish merchandise.
If the junior national teams need improvement, there's the 16-year-old Viking Cup MVP Tuukka Rask, whose development curve matches that of Noronen, second only to Lehtonen's.
One goalie that I would not mind having is WJC goalie Hannu Toivonen, who is performing well at AHL level right now.
The tough thing is obviously who to offer.
Christian Bäckman - yes
Lars Jonsson - probably
Niklas Kronwall - probably not
Fransson/Hedman - not sure
The latter two have a much greater potential than Bäckman but then again they are still very young and have many hurdles to get past by.
Toivonen is quite expensive, you can get an idea of his value by comparing him to Jonsson in the Bruins community, but admittedly goalies aren't as valuable to a country as they as to a team. Ari Ahonen could be had cheaper than Toivonen, and the same goes for Kiprusoff or Toskala. Pretending that there actually were a market, I think Toivonen could easily fetch something worth the same as Kronwall (as long as the Toivonen-hype has kicked in everywhere). On the other hand, Finland could sell a quality goalie to Sweden, Slovakia and Russia each at a low price and still improve immensely, so there is no need to be picky.
Bäckman is still somewhat of a question mark, but he can considerably improve his value just by performing at his current level for another year. I take it he still costs more than Niittymäki, who is another guy on the rise?
I'd personally trade Bäckman for Niittymäki as well. I must admit I haven't read as much about him as for example Toivonen but I understand he should have a future as a NHLer also.
..and definitely I agree with your statement that a goalie is more important for a team than he would be to a country.
It's scary how many good goalies are coming out of Finland now.
I hope Swedish 86-born Magnus Åkerlund could develop into something special, I think he can. But as usual, year after year, it's pretty thin behind the best goalie in the age group.
As a bruin-fan and a fan of Jonsson, I would easily take Toivonen ahead of him. Everything I hear about Toivonen sounds great, and although I think Jonsson will be very good, the sky is the limit for Toivonen. I would give up any swedish prospect for Hannu.
Some articles about Toivonen and the B's prospects by a very good writer, who also post on the Bruins board as Kirk-NEHJ.