Monday, February 4, 2008

Franchise at a Crossroads

It's no secret that the weeks leading up to the NHL trade deadline will be very important to the Atlanta Thrashers. Just how important remains to be seen. This is a franchise that desperately needs to take the next step after winning the division last year. A step will be taken for sure, but will it be a step forward or a step in reverse? That will depend on the events that take place in the next couple of weeks.

Marian Hossa. A sentence all in itself. My goodness, what do you do if you are Don Waddell? By now you've probably heard that Waddell was in Montreal for the Rangers game on Sunday. Ding, ding, ding... we have a rumor! I'm not going to sit here and tell you what I think Waddell is going to do. I have no clue. What I can do is list our options as I see them:

  1. Sign Hossa: OK... probably not going to happen. Can't really blame Hossa there either. For the first time in his life he gets to pick where he wants to live/play. I know it's hard to believe, but the number one place might not be here. Also, with our ownership mess, we can't sign a player to more than a 4 year deal with out ALL owners consent. Let me tell you something, these guys can't even agree on whether or not Santa is good or evil. Why sign for 4 years when you can easily go anywhere else and get 5, 6 or 7?
  2. Sign and trade: Slim odds of this as well. As far as trade value goes, this would certainly be a blockbuster much like the trade that brought him here. I just don't see Hossa putting his John Hancock on anything before July 1st.
  3. Trade for immediate help: This is where the Montreal rumors come into play. Ryder has scored 30 goals the last two years but has only 8 so far this year. He fell out of favor with the coach and has been either on line 3 or 4, or scratched all together. They seem to think he has lost his touch. A change of scenery might do him good. Sound familiar (Mark Recchi). The problem is he is a UFA next year like Hossa. So any deal involving Ryder, would either be a secondary deal or a deal in which he is not the centerpiece.
  4. Trade for the Future: I know, not as much fun. Most deadline deals are for the future though. Why would a team want Hossa for a month or two and want to give up someone that has value on their team right now? Any team wanting Hossa is making a push for the Cup and more than likely will not give up someone off their roster that has close to the value that Hossa does. We could possibly get a top prospect or two, and a good draft pick. It would be nice to have that Number 1 pick the Ducks have courtesy of Kevin Lowe, but Hossa alone would not bring that.
  5. Gut the Team: This would only happen if we ABSOLUTELY tank in the next couple of weeks. We have several players that we could trade (keep in mind these are players that have value to other teams and are UFA's next year, I'd like to trade Zhitnik and so on, but it would be tough). Hossa, Holik, Hedberg, Recchi, Dupuis, all would be attractive as rental players for any playoff team. This is not a very fun option, but it's an option nonetheless.

What say you Blueland? Does Hossa stay or go? Is it a trade for now, or the future, or somewhere in between? Things are about to get interesting. I have faith Waddell will do as good as any other GM could do under this circumstance. He has pulled off many a shrewd trade in his day.

I realize I have to go out on a limb and make a prediction. So here goes: I say Hossa is traded for draft picks and top prospects. We then take part of the picks or prospects and trade for immediate help. Try and offset the loss of Hossa for this year and the playoff run. Just a guess!


Mortimer Peacock said...

I tend to agree with your prediction. Maybe, though, it's time for Thrash to suit up.

Mortimer Peacock said...

Or lace up and grab a stick.