Thursday, June 27, 2013

On Letang, Lecavelier, Bolland, Gilbert, and Horcoff

The rumors are really starting to pour in leading up to the NHL draft on Sunday.  Here's a rundown of some of the player possibilities and what I think of them:

Kris Letang
If he can't come to an agreement with the Penguins on a contract extension, Rob Rossi thinks Toronto would be a preferred destination of his.  Apparently, the asking price would be a top prospect, a roster player, and a first round pick.  That's what the price is for every star player on the trading block, but teams never seem to get that much.  We either see deals like Mike Richards/Jeff Carter/Jordan Staal which include a top prospect and a roster player, or deals like Marian Gaborik/Rick Nash/Ilya Kovalchuk/Marian Hossa which include mid-level players/prospects and a first round pick.  If I had to guess, the Leafs package would probably be something like Gardiner/Rielly + Kulemin/Franson.  I think that if you don't believe Rielly or Gardiner can and/or will be as good as Kris Letang is, then you do the deal.  If you do believe they can and will reach that level, then be patient and let them grow from within, and take the advantage of their younger age, cheaper contracts, and the depth that Kulemin/Franson give you.  Either way, its an interesting possibility.  I'd definitely have interest If I were Toronto, since Kris Letang is a star player and star players are what you win Stanley Cups with.

Vincent Lecavelier
He's being bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning and will make $32 million on the side.  Rumor is he's looking for a longer term contract.  Its tough to really tell how much he will ask for, but as a very rough ballpark I'd say given that he wants a longer deal and given the money he's already making as a result of the buyout, I think he'll be asking for between 3-5 years with a cap hit between $3 and $6 million.  Could he be a first line center centering guys like Kessel and Lupul, or is he really just a strong second-line center?  Its tough to say.  I want the Leafs to have, like most good teams, a bonafide first line center, a top-six center, and a real solid true third line center, but him, Grabovski, and Kadri would really be more like three very solid second line centers.  So do you go for what is ideal or go with what is more attainable?  I don't know, that's a question for Dave Nonis to answer.  But at the very least, if the Leafs do plan on going after one of the top-six centers available in free agency this summer, Lecavelier would be my first choice.

Dave Bolland
Bob McKenzie and Pierre LeBrun report Dave Bolland is available on trade market.  Looking at guys like Paul Gaustad, Mike Fisher, and Troy Brouwer who were traded for a first round pick in the 20-30 range, I'd bet that's what Bolland gets traded for.  If not that, then a second round pick and a mid-level prospect.  That's a fair price for a good player, a player that the Leafs could really use.  But I'm not sure the timing is right.  I don't think the Leafs are a contender yet, so I don't think I'd want to give them a first round pick.  I'd probably give them our 2nd and a B level prospect (ideally someone like Colborne or Blacker), but I don't know if that's enough for Chicago's liking.  Its another situation where this is a player that could help the Leafs, but the price has to be right for it to make sense.

Tom Gilbert
One of the less talked about stories of the day is news that Minnesota may have to buy out Tom Gilbert for the cap space, but is also exploring trade possibilities.  He had a bit of a difficult season this year, but prior to that he was a pretty solid player that would fit nicely on a team's second pairing.  I definitely wouldn't move a lot to get him, but I also think that he could help the team in a nice way if he bounces back a little bit.  The most appealing thing about him is that the price wouldn't be too high to acquire him, so trading little to get him and then moving someone else out could be good asset management.  People aren't going to talk a lot about him but I'd keep my eyes on him, he's a nice sleeper acquisition.

Shawn Horcoff
Its actually been common knowledge for awhile that Edmonton is trying to trade him, but I wanted to touch on him at some point.  His $5.5m cap hit for 2 more seasons is a lot to stomach, but if you can fit him in or get Edmonton to retain some salary, he's another guy that I think would be a good third-line center if some other possibilities don't pan out.  Again, not getting a lot of buzz, but he's a sleeper acquisition for me.

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