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Posts tagged: Scouting The Market

Scouting the Market: Ilya Kovalchuk

Up next in Scouting The Market: everyone’s favorite Russian, Ilya Kovalchuk. Read the other Scouting The Markets here. Since the draft ended, and tomorrow all hell breaks loose for UFA’s, let’s give you a big dose of available UFA’s. Jeremy has been keeping you up to date this month, but for a day, I want to chime in too.

Kovalchuk is easily the most skilled winger available in this extremely thin UFA class. The LW averages over 40 goals and 80 points per year, and is easily considered to be an elite talent in the NHL. The knock on Kovalchuk though, is pretty much every other aspect of the game. He appears to be lazy in his own zone, and doesn’t really know what to do without the puck. In fact, the guys at Behind The Net have done some fantastic analysis of Kovalchuk’s advanced metrics. You can read about it here. There is one sentence you should focus on:

To recap that table in a sentence: Ilya Kovalchuk has been much more likely to start out in the offensive zone than his teammates, and even though he lines up against his opponents’ weaker lines, his teams have been significantly outshot while he’s on the ice. In other words, he’s a seriously negative player at even-strength.

Essentially, Kovalchuk’s stats are inflated based on his powerplay time, and his ridiculous shot percentage. Kovalchuk takes plenty of shots, and his shot is so lethal, that he is able to put the puck in the net more often. So, when you package all that together, you get a great scorer who at best is a mediocre player at even-strength.

Kovalchuk’s ridiculous salary demands have left many GMs with a sour taste in their mouths, especially after he rejected a $100 million contract from Atlanta over 12 years. Maybe he just wanted out of Atlanta, but that is a lot of money to turn down. The fact that he received a mammoth contract from the KHL probably plays a part, but since Kovalchuk’s salary is limited by the salary cap, it doesn’t play that much of a factor in the negotiation process. He simply can’t receive that kind of money in the NHL.

Kovalchuk would add another high profile, high scoring winger to the Rangers roster, but is the cost worth it? If the Rangers do in fact waive Wade Redden, should they reinvest all of that, and then some, in Kovalchuk, when they have players like Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky with expiring contracts the following year? It’s a big risk, but he really would help solve the Rangers scoring woes, even-strength play notwithstanding.

Scouting The Market: Vinny Prospal

Up next in Scouting The Market: Our old friend Vinny Prospal. Read the other Scouting The Markets here.

Vinny Prospal was the Rangers alternate captain last year, and had a great year, putting up a line of 20-38-58. The 35 year old foward play wing and center, and meshed well with Marian Gaborik.

Prospal isn’t the best defensive player, but he plays hard, and scores goals. The Rangers need that. He proved to be a great presence in the locker room, and was well-respected.

Prospal was a bargain last year. He only made $1.1 million. Still, with his age, I wouldn’t expect that to go much higher.

The problem with re-signing Prospal is that you’re bringing back essentially the same team as last year. Which, if you take away the middle 40 games, wasn’t a bad team. But, you can’t take away those games. They underachieved, and if you bring back Prospal, you’re not sending a great message to your fans.

If they re-sign Vinny, here’s what the lines could look like:

Prospal-Dubinsky-Gaborik

Avery-Christensen-Callahan

Prust-Anisimov-Shelley

Weise-Drury-Boyle

It’s a lot like last year’s team. Hell, it is last year’s team. What do you think? Bring back Vinny? Let us know in the comments.

Scouting The Market: Shaone Morrisonn

Up next in Scouting The Market: Shaone Morrisonn. Read the other Scouting The Markets here.

Shaone Morrisonn is a 27 year old defenseman who has played the past couple years with the Capitals. Tough as nails, Morrisonn doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he’s a solid stay-at-home defenseman, who can be very physical. A reliable partner, he helped Mike Green flourish as a offensive force. Said Caps coach Bruce Boudreau:

Shaone Morrisonn deserves a lot of the credit for allowing Mike Green to do what he’s doing. Shaone is the constant security blanket back there.

Besides the fact that his family doesn’t know how to spell (I’m sorry, but really, Shaone? Really? Between him and Chone Figgins, there are just too many people who can’t spell Sean.I’ll accept Shawn. But Shaone? Chone? Child, please), he’s a pretty good player, who doesn’t get a lot of publicity. He’ll drop the gloves, and help in a scrum. He can be the crease clearing presence the Rangers currently don’t have. He’d also be a perfect pairing for Mike Del Zotto. He also hates Sideny Crosby. No, really. That’s a plus for any Rangers fan:

“Well, I don’t like him ’cause he’s on Pittsburgh,” Morrisonn said. “On a national stage, I’m not gonna comment. But you know, for our team, I definitely dislike the Penguins and Sidney Crosby.

Morrisonn made $1.975 million last year. He can expect to make about $2 million. If they sign Morrisonn, here’s what the D-pairs could look like:

Staal-Girardi

MDZ-Morrisonn

Redden-Rosival

It’s not a bad top four at all, and we all saw how well Rosival played towards to end of last year. The albatross is Redden, but he’s always going to be the albatross. Morrisonn represents a significant upgrade to the defense, and he comes pretty cheap. What are your thoughts on Morrisonn? If he signs, would you support a petition to change the spelling of his name? Let us know in the comments.

Scouting The Market: Alex Tanguay

Free Agency is not that far away. But we keep plugging along here on Scouting the Market. Read the other Scouting the Markets here. Next up: Alex Tanguay

Alex Tanguay is a 30 year old winger who spent last season with Tampa Bay. He wasn’t incredibly productive, putting up a line of 10-27-37, but most think he wasn’t a good fit in Tampa. He’s used to scoring 20+ goals and netting 40+ assists.

The 6-1, 191 pound winger is not a defensive player at all, but playing alongside Gaborik will get his offensive numbers to his previous levels.

Assuming no other signings, here’s what the lines could look like:

Tanguay-Dubinsky-Gaborik

Avery-Christensen-Callahan

Prust-Anisimov-Shelley

Weise-Drury-Boyle

That’s not bad. Tanguay will provide a much needed boost to the offense. He’ll come cheap, too. He made $2.5 million last season, but after his season last year, I’d expect that to come down to the $2 million area. For a one year deal, that’s not bad.

What do you think of Tanguay? Worth the price of admission? Let us know in the comments.

Scouting The Market: Garnet Exelby

Next up in Scouting The Market: Garnet Exelby. Read the other Scouting The Markets here.

Garnet Exelby is a 28 year old defenseman who played last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has no offensive game, and is not great in his own end, but the guy blocks shots, and is a punishing hitter.

If we know anything about the Rangers, is that they don’t have a crease-clearing presence. The 6-1, 215 Exelby could be that guy. He’s physical, and could provide energy to the team.

Is he a first pair defenseman? No. But, he’s a solid 6th defenseman who will lay out hits and block shots. And he’s cheap. He made $1.725 million last year, but the Rangers could probably get him for  $1.5

What do you think of Exelby? Worth giving a shot? Let us know in the comments.

Scouting The Market: Mike Comrie

Up next in Scouting The Market: Mr. Hillary Duff, Mike Comrie. Read the other Scouting The Markets here.

Mike Comrie is a 29 year old center who played last season with the Oilers. Battling mono, Comrie put up a line of 13-8-21 in 43 games. This is not indicative of his abilities. A two time 30 goal scorer, Comrie has always put up big numbers when healthy. Problem? He’s not always healthy. In 9 seasons, he’s only played 75+ games 4 times.

Comrie is a scoring center, who’s quick and slippery in the offensive zone. He could benefit from playing with Marian Gaborik.

Of course, the 5-10 centericeman isn’t the only attraction. He’s engaged to Hillary Duff. It wouldn’t be awful seeing her at Rangers games.

So, assuming no other signings, here’s how the lines could shape up:

Dubinsky-Comrie-Gaborik

Avery-Christensen-Callahan

Prust-Anisimov-Shelley

Weise-Drury-Boyle

Comrie made $1.125 million last year. Coming off an injury plagued season, Comrie should net around $1 million.

Comrie provides scoring, but he’s very fragile. Is he worth the risk? Let us know in the comments.

Scouting The Market: Jordan Leopold

Next up in Scouting The Market: Jordan Leopold. Read the other Scouting The Markets here.

Jordan Leopold is a 29 year old defenseman, who played last year with the Panthers and Penguins. An offensive defenseman, he put up a line of 11-15-26 last season.

He’s a good puck mover, and won’t embarrass you in his own end. He’s not a crease clearer by any stretch of the imagination.

Leopold, unfortunately, might be remembered more for this than anything else:

Leopold made $1.75 million last year, and he should expect to get a similar amount in his next deal. A one year deal worth $1.75 million is not bad at all.

What do you think of Leopold? A good fit for the Rangers? Let us know in the comments.

Scouting The Market: Lee Stempniak

Next up in Scouting The Market: Lee Stempniak. Read the rest of the Scouting The Markets here.

Lee Stempniak is an enigmatic winger who split time between Toronto and Phoenix last season. The 27 year old was tremendous in Phoenix, scoring 14 goals in 14 games. He put up a line of 28-20-48, He’s been up and down in his career. He scored 27 goals in his first full season with St. Louis, but just 13 the next season. After an injury, and a move to Toronto, he scored 25 goals in 123 games.

Stempniak would benefit from a winger like Gaborik to take off some of the pressure. Teams will focus on Gabby, leaving Stempniak open for opportunities. That could lead to a big year. He’s a scorer, but has some grit, and isn’t afraid to jump into the fray. He’s a legitimate top 6 forward.

Stempniak made $3.5 million last year. After his explosion with the ‘Yotes, Stempniak can expect a hefty raise. Somewhere in the $5 million range seems right.

Assuming he’s the only acquisition, here’s what the lines could look like:

Stempniak-Dubinsky-Gaborik

Avery-Christensen-Callahan

Prust-Anisimov-Shelley

Weise-Drury-Boyle

What do you think of Stempniak? Worth the price of admission? Let us know in the comments.

Scouting The Market: Milan Jurcina

Next up in Scouting The Market: Milan Jurcina. Read the other Scouting The Markets here.

Milan Jurcina is a 26 year old defenseman, who has played the past couple of seasons with the Capitals (he was traded briefly to the Blue Jackets, before getting hurt and being traded back to the Caps this past season). A physical, stay at home defenseman, Jurcina will never put up big offensive numbers, but he’ll be responsible in his own end, and be physical at the crease and in the corners.

The 6-4, 245 pound Slovakian is slow and plodding (as anyone at that size would be), and he’s not a good skater. He could use his size better.

Still, for a price of somewhere around $1.5 million, he’s a good bargain as a 3rd pair defenseman. He won’t make too many mistakes, but he won’t be a shutdown guy either.

The risk with signing any defenseman is that it limits play for some youngster, whether it’s Matt Gilroy, Bobby Sanguinetti or someone else. But for that money, Jurcina might be worth the risk.

What do you think of Jurcina? Worth the money? Or stay away? Tell us in the comments

Scouting The Market: Matthew Lombardi

Next up in Scouting The Market is Matthew Lombardi.

Matthew Lombardi is a 28 year old center, who played this season with Coyotes. Lombardi put up a 19-34-53 line in 78 games with the ‘Yotes.

Lombardi is a speedy playmaker, who is adept at leading the rush. He’s one of the fastest skaters in the league, and that speed allows him to set up guys better. He worked well with Jarome Iglina in Calgary.

Lombardi isn’t very physical, and he isn’t a defense first guy, although his speed allows him to succeed on breakaways on a pass from the defensive zone. He would fit well with Marian Gaborik.

Lombardi made $2.35 million last year. He should get a raise, somewhere in the 3-3.5 million range. Not bad for a first line center.

Lombardi would play with Gaborik, and his speed should allow for more opportunities for Gaborik to get open. Lombardi would also benefit from riding shotgun to Gaborik.

If Lombardi is the only signing, here’s what the lines would look like:

Dubinsky-Lombardi-Gaborik

Avery-Christensen-Callahan

Prust-Anisimov-Shelley

Weise-Drury-Boyle

Is Lombardi worth the money? Is he a good fit? Let us know in the comments.