Marty's Better #30
Ilya Kovalchuk is a star player; no doubt about it. He can pass, dangle, snipe, and judging by his interviews, he seems like a good team player. In saying this though, adding him will only do two things. These things are most likely preventing us to resign our best d-man, no matter which way you put it, Paul Martin, and not be able to fix the glaring hole we have at the center position, a void yet to be filled since the end of the 2007 season.
First, when making this trade, Lou knew that Ilya may only be a rental, and he had to accept that, while trading the assets he did. So, when talking about resigning Ilya Kovalchuk, the players we gave up are irrelevant to this topic. So that's one counter argument that cannot be used against me.
Second, we all know that the Devils are still losing a little money. Although, we may get even with all of our money problems soon, the Devils currently have problems. Thus, year in, year out, the Devils are never right 'next' to the Salary Cap, leaving room us about 3-5 million dollars in space. Another reason they leave room is for improvements needed to be made during the actual season. So, say we sign Ilya Kovalchuk. Realistically, he will demand about 8.5 Million dollars. We have about 15 million dollars in cap space, but if the Cap does go up, as Garry Bettman recently alluded to, we will have 17 Million. Signing Ilya brings us down to about 9 Million. Then we have to resign Paul Martin, and he will demand something in the range of 5 Million. So this brings us down to 4 million. Then, I feel we should resign David Clarkson. He is a diamond in the rough. This guy can hit, fight, and is even getting a nice little scoring touch; maybe he can become a 20-25 goal scorer in the future, which is good enough for me. He will cost about 1.5 Million Dollars. That brings us down to 2.5 Million left in Cap Space. Then, I'm guessing the other RFA will resign for about the same price they get now, so that leaves us at about 2-2.5 Million Dollars. Now, that could work, but I just don't see Lou going that close to the cap.
Instead, I see him doing something like this. First, he resigns Paul Martin for 5 million dollars. You may argue and say he isn't worth that much, but he is the best d-man on the market this year and he will demand something like 5 million. That leaves us at about 12 Million Dollars. Then, we go after a cheap second line center. One player, mentioned in another post by RolliePollieKovy, is Chris Higgins. He has had a couple good years with Montreal, and I feel if he is brought here, he can 'revamp' his career. Say he signs for about 2.5 million dollars, as he is currently making about 2.3. That then brings us down to 9.5 million dollars If you don't like the idea of Higgins, however, as John pointed he doesn't have the best faceoff%, we could go after a guy like Matt Cullen, though he will demand something like 3-3.5. This fills in our need at second line center. Then we resign Clarkson for 1.5 million dollars, leaving us at 8 million. Then resigning Mike Mattou for 1.5 million. Say all you want about how he should not be resigned. Thing is, he is cheap and is perfect for a second/third pairing. That puts us at 6.5 Million. Then signing all our other RFA, that puts us at around 5.5 to 6.5; plenty of cap space heading into next season.
Now, I will post lines. I know you hate it when I do this, but I'm just giving you a picture of what our team will look like:
Parise-Zajac-Langenbrunner---We all know what these three guys can do together. They are magical. In the 08-09 season, some regarded them as one of the best lines in the NHL. If only Jaques put them together more often in 09-10.
Elias-Higgins/Cullen/Belanger(Thanks to RolliePollieKovy for convincing me)-Zubrus---Elias is most effective on the left wing. Zubrus on the right wing is smart, because he will dig and fight for the pucks in the corner, and he is a good passer. Now for the center, either Cullen or Higgins. Higgins is a hit or miss. He can have a good season, as he did with the Habs a couple years ago, or he can only put up 30-40 points. Cullen is pretty consistent, averaging a good 50-60 points a year. Then, Belanger. I admit I always thought he was a prototypical third line center. But after RolliePllieKovy convincing me, and also seeing he put up 45 points last year, maybe he could be our guy.We could sign Cullen short term, and then let Henrique or Josefson fill in the second line.
Rolston-Josefson-Clarkson---Clarkson and Rolston have shown pretty good chemistry last year, so keeping them together should be smart. Then add Josfeson. This guy is very intelligent on the ice. He can pass, and knows how to play both aspects of the game good and effectively.
Pelly-Henrique/Mccamond/Sestito-Davis/Hallischuk---Pelly is our energy guy, as he can throw hits and drop the gloves. Mccamond is a good veteran leader, decent enough for fourth line duties. You can give Henrique those limited duties, just to get used to the NHL, if you don't like Dean.I love Sestito, as well, as he is a good energy center, but I doubt he will be on NJD in 10. Hallischuk was alright when he was up here earlier this year. I liked the way Davis played; good on both sides of puck.
Martin-Greene---Good pairing. Could be extremely effective on transition game.
Salvador-Fraser---I like it; youngster with veteran. IF Fraser gets more mature hockey wise, could be our shutdown pair.
White-Mattou---Weren't bad last year, just can't have them playing 20 minutes a game. They can be very good at 10-15 minutes a game, though.
Brodeur---Simply the best.
Danis---He says he liked playing for New Jersey, so why not pay him the league minimum of 500,000 a year.