Thursday, April 23, 2009

Garth Snow's Gonna Do WHAT????!!!! Part Deux

My Dad and I were talking on Sunday about the possibilities of a trade for the #1 pick. Mark Hermann's Sunday article on this whole mess gave a pretty good overview of the situation. What if Snow were to trade the pick? What would you want in return if you're the Islanders? This could get really complicated. Let me try to hash this out for you from my point of view (These ideas are only theoretical so don't go crucifying me for having pipe dreams).

As far as I can see, only a few scenarios actually exist.

First, let's start with the teams that could be involved (No, Burke. Sit down. We don't want the your 7th overall pick, the older Schenn that we already passed on the first time or any of your other prospects that still don't fit the bill).

I would ONLY consider the rest of the top 5 as potential trading partners: Tampa Bay, Colorado, Atlanta and LA. Of those four, the only potential deals I can see involve Tampa Bay, LA and Atlanta.

For Tampa, this is easy. Snag the #1 and make sure the Isles don't pick up Hedman (a franchise d-man they've sorely needed) or Tavares (possibly a younger and cheaper version of their soon to be overpaid franchise center) and possibly the Isles #26 pick. In return, the Isles get (drum roll please)...............Vinny Lecavalier and the #2 pick! Ok, so it might sound ridiculous but bear with me and let me explain my logic.

The Lightning have part of their future already locked up with Stamkos up the middle. Why not give them Hedman or possibly even Tavares and savor the satisfaction of pissing off the entire Canadian hockey community by stealing Vinny from under their noses in the process? The 11-year, $85 million contract with attached NTC is no problem for Charles Wang to swallow. I mean, he did give 15 years and $67.5 million to a goaltender that might as well be the "Bionic Man" at this point.

What if the Lightning do choose to go with Tavares? Then, this situation is more of a win-win for the Islanders. Not only do they get their 1st line franchise center, but a #1 defensive prospect as well. Not a bad deal all around. The Lightning solidify their offensive presence for the next 15 years and the Islanders get two huge pieces for their rebuild. Far-fetched? Maybe.

Now what if the Bolts go with Hedman as has been predicted they would? This is where things get really complicated. At this point you might see the beginnings of another 5-7-9 (see the Atlanta theory below, which would be going from 1-2-4). Now, let's get to the LA connection before someone decides I need to be checked in to the nearest mental asylum.

Now LA is an interesting idea to me. John Tavares might do well where a certain guy named...oh what's his name...damnit...Gretzky? Yeah, that's right Gretzky, brought hockey to United States. Let's try to picture this one.

Any deal that the Isles would swing with LA would have to include either Anze Kopitar or Alex Frolov and one of their major "D" prospects: Doughty, Hickey, Quincey or Teubert or the Kings 5th overall pick.

With the Isles giving up the same package as with Tampa Bay (the #1 and the #26) the Isles could solidify the same issues that the Tampa trade would. The addition of a top flight winger with size and speed plus a young defensive prospect that could help out on either the powerplay (Doughty, Hickey, Quincey) or shutting down the opponent's top line (Teubert) would yet again speed up the rebuild by easily a year (If they can't receive one of each a forward and defenseman in that deal and instead get the 5th pick, I would be very disappointed in the deal). Let's look at the potential in Hot-lanta before you string me up by my toes from the tree in the backyard.

Lastly, the most plausible deal in my mind, that might prove beneficial to both teams would be with Atlanta. Again, we're going to assume that the Isles are offering a package of the 1st overall and the 26th overall. The return...Ilya Kovalchuk and the #4 overall!

I think this might be the best possible deal for several reasons:

  • First, the Islanders get a bonafide superstar in the last year of his contract, rather than having to deal with an inflated contract for 11 years (this is not to say that if the deal were to happen, that Kovi wouldn't have to agree to a contract extension).
  • With the #4 pick, things get quite interesting. If things fall into place as they've been predicted, Tavares and Hedman go 1-2 in no particular order. That leaves the next 3 players in the tier below those two, including Matt Duchene, Jared Cowen and Evander Kane.
  • Of those 3, I'd love to see Matt Duchene fall to #4. He's such a well-rounded center and could really benefit from having a winger of Kovalchuk's caliber on his left and a budding star in Kyle Okposo on his right.
  • If the Avs get smart and take Duchene at #3, then the Islanders still can pick up Jared Cowan who was easily the best North American defensive prospect despite a season-ending injury in January.

Atlanta benefits from ridding themselves of a frustrated star in Kovalchuk who would most likely be looking at a huge payday come July 1, 2010 and would be able to sign that #1 franchise center to their depth chart that they haven't had since Marc Savard. With Bogosian coming into his own this season, the Thrashers would have two huge cornerstones to build on.

Even the Lightning benefit from this trade. With Atlanta most likely taking Tavares numero uno, that still leaves Hedman at 2.

Now what if the "Snowman" pulls 1-2-4 as a I mentioned above? Think of it this way:

  • Lecavalier and the #2 to the Isles for the #1 and #26
  • The Isles package the #2 with 2 or all 3 of their 2nd rounders to Atlanta for Kovalchuk and the #4
  • Hedman goes #1 to Tampa, Tavares goes #2 to Atlanta
  • The Avs choose between Duchene, Kane and Cowan (hopefully going with Kane, who I've heard they've been hot for)
  • That leaves Duchene or Cowan to be chosen at #4

Bottom line, this is the absolute perfect scenario (and totally unrealistic?). The Islanders walk away with a #1 center already under contract, a #1 left winger who needs to be signed and either a #2 center or #1-2 defensive prospect that will have time to grow into the role. Again, this is just me throwing out ideas. It does kind of make sense though. The other teams receive a lot in return for their investment and the Islanders get established stars that can carry the team.

You might be asking yourself...why not trade with Colorado for the #3? Well, as far as I can see they don't have the kind of assets other than possibly Stasny, that would even make a trade of this magnitude worthwhile. Having said that, I also don't think the Avs would part easily with their top point producer and hope for the future, although Tavares would look good in the Burgundy and Blue according to Avs fans.

To wrap this up let me just say this: I honestly don't think that Garth Snow is this crazy at least I hope he's not. He's so much better off taking the #1 overall, choosing whoever the scouting staff feels is the best player and walking away from any trade proposals.

I do however prostrate that Snow will utilize San Jose's first rounder (#26) and one or two of the early second rounders to move up in the first round. It's a belief of mine that a defenseman such as Simon Despres (listed at 6'3", 208lbs) or Oliver Ekman-Larsson could be available around 15-18. As well as forwards such as Nazem Kadri (who's had a fantastic OHL playoffs) or Landon Ferraro also might fall that far. Any way this plays out, the Islanders organization and their fans will walk away from the 2009 NHL Entry Draft with a great feeling that the future is upon us.

I know I'm nuts but I welcome any kind of feedback or alternatives to the ideas I've presented here.

(Photos courtesy of (Lecavalier), (Kopitar) and (Kovalchuk))

Leave a comment at the link below.


fscfaceoff said...

Great read! No question the Isles have the ball in their court and are currently in a "no-lose" spot. The thought of getting a Lecavalier is almost too much to handle: just too good to be true. I'm also a little skeptical about Kovalchuk, seeing this as a "Ryan Smyth all over again" scenario. To me, the best deal would be with the Kings. I'm a huge fan of their young guys like Kopitar, Frolov, Brown (no chance of nabbing him), and Jack Johnson. I would love to see a few of those names wearing the orange and blue next year.

I can just see that first line now...Kane, Kopitar, Okposo. We can change our slogan from "We're all Islanders" to "Long Island: Nasty Lives Here!"...for now, at least.

Doug said...

I think Kovalchuk would be a different situation than Smyth. If you acquire him in a trade it would have to be conditional on him signing a contract before being dealt.

Needless to say, I think he would be a great addition here and would be able to find a stable relationship in the New York market. He's in the middle of nowhere right now down in Atlanta.

Anonymous said...

Anything with Lecavalier is a no go period!! 11 years 85mil?? for a post peek star-Hello Yashin again? Look the isles are rebuilding why would they saddle themselves like that? They could probably sign Marian Hossa as a free agent for less. Plus with the economy the cap will probably start contracting not increasing teams with cap room like the isles will be in the drivers seat to pick up high priced talent for little trade bait in a few years. Only thing you see will be a package deal of the 26th pick and some 2nd rounds to move up or a deal with Toronto in the mix to move down to 2 or 3 and bank a bunch more picks. Snow is in rebuilding mode and he's sticking to the plan (and being smart about it)