Monday, August 3, 2009

Don't believe the hype

The idea of a three-way deal between the Habs, Ottawa Senators and San Jose Sharks has been swirling for a while on the Internet, but there are lots of things that get mentioned on NHL rumour sites that never see the light of day in the mainstream press.

There's a good reason for that, because the standard of truth is a little higher at a newspaper than it is in the blogosphere, even if those rumours published online may be just as credible as anything written by a "journalist."

So, when the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch decided to run with this rumour and publish a story Sunday that the Habs could indeed serve as a facilitator to get Dany Heatley to San Jose, it tends to get a little more attention.

But to be honest, I don't know if I believe this story any more now than I did when I first read it online.

First of all, as Garrioch points out in his story, all three teams involved in this rumour are up against the salary cap. So, in theory, for any trade to go down the salaries involved will have to more or less match. That's difficult enough for two teams to do, let alone three, so if this were to happen it would have to be an NBA-style blockbuster involving 10 or 12 players changing addresses.

If Heatley and his $7.5 million cap hit wind up in San Jose, what ends up in Ottawa or Montreal? Well, Patrick Marleau's $6.3 million cap hit would make a match easier, but it appears likelier that Marleau would be headed for Montreal than Ottawa. Except the Habs don't really have a big contract to move unless Bob Gainey is thinking about dealing one of the players he acquired this summer. I suppose he could convince someone to take Roman Hamrlik and his $5.5 million salary, but I highly doubt it.

Meanwhile, a bunch of people online are giving credence to this report that the Habs are interested in acquiring Alex Frolov from the Kings to reunite him with Mike Cammalleri. This, admittedly, appears to be a lot more likely than the aforementioned threeway trade.

Frolov has a very affordable $2.9 million cap hit (though he'll make $4 million this season) but is an unrestricted free agent next summer. That, in theory, should lessen his trade value somewhat, but I have to believe Kings GM Dean Lombardi feels his team could make the playoffs this year and I don't think he'd be willing to deprive his team of Frolov's talents for nothing.

Jaroslav Halak, in my eyes, should be a pretty interesting player to Lombardi because his goaltending situation is extremely murky, with one of Jonathan Quick, Erik Ersberg or perhaps Jonathan Bernier in line to start between the pipes this season.

Rumours, it should be said, could not be any less reliable, especially when it comes to Gainey. Not a single deal he was rumoured to be discussing has ever come to fruition, and basically every deal he's closed came out of nowhere.

But, where there's smoke there's usually fire, so it's pretty likely Gainey is indeed working the phones in a further effort to further re-shape his team. I just don't think we'll hear about it until it actually happens.


Dann said...

Eklund predicted two Gainey trades rather accurately, Lang to Montreal and Schneider to Montreal.

Yves said...

With Gainey.. pretty hard to predict.

I like that.

The LA deal seems to make lots more sense to me.

But it's pretty much just rumours.. until something actually happens.

Anonymous said...

I hope we stand pat until the season begins. Let's see what we have before we start changing it.

Francois said...

Lang signed as a free agent. He was not traded to Montréal.

Wencz said...

Arpon: it's true what you say about Gainey, his deals always seem to come out of nowhere, and usually don't fall on the heels of ongoing rumours.

That being said, he also seems to deal mostly with the same GMs, with Wilson (SJ) and Lombardi (LA) being two of his favourite trading buddies (he has also maintained a good working relationship with the Stars organization, and Tallon (Chicago) and Sather (NYR)). My point being, considering the GMs involved in these "rumours", there could be some truth to it.

btw, just to clarify, Lang was traded in early September 2008 from the Hawks for a 2nd rounder.

Anonymous said...

You're right about the organizations Bob tends to work with... I would add Colorado to that list.

It could also say something about the deals... where maintaining the long-term relationship with the other trading partner becomes as important as getting a good deal. It means there are no crystal clear winners or losers where someone gets embarrased - that would be detrimental to the long term relationship.

Might explain why the Gomez deal looks like we gave up a bit more than you would expect under the circumstances... might have been a bit of payback for the Belaj (I think that was his name) for Kovalev trade that was clearly one-sided.

Dann said...

Lang was traded to Montreal.

Frolov doesn't really make Montreal better considering he's an upcoming ufa.

Now that the Lecavalier rumours have died down, maybe BG is working on that deal. Move Plekanec and Hamrlik and there's enough space.

YourHabs said...

What ever happened to that Patrick Sharp rumor. That's one guy who I would gladly stake a claim for in a trade.

pfhabs said...

no one twisted Sather's arm to take Balej. in fact he had a choice between Balej and Plekanec and took Balej. no one makes a deal thinking they are getting screwed (although I wonder about the hockey end of the Ribeiro for Niniimma deal). So I would assume Sather thought he was making a deal for a rising offensive talent from the AHL for a diminishing talent in the NHL. I would also guess that even Milbury thought he was getting value for his stupidity with many Islanders trades.if Bob padded the Gomez deal because he "owed" Slats for the Kovalev deal he's not as bright as all the apologists make him out to be. you don't send away your best defensive prospect, 2 other players and take $7.37 of cap away from a major competitor for a top 8 position as a favour. if you do you should be removed.

continued to be amazed that a $7.72cap hit for 11 years is a desireable financial deal for some fans. managaing the cap is everything and the key to Cup success. Barrie is still part owner in Tampa and he's reported to not trading Vinny

Arpon Basu said...

That Patrick Sharp rumour was more like speculation, at least on this site. It appears clear that Sharp is available, but his $3.9 million cap hit remains a sticking point.