Stupid Rumors and Big Name Goaltending- Or Why Fans Of Other Teams Should Shut Up About How They're Going to Get Zach Parise

Lets play a game guys. I'll give you two statistic lines and you can tell me which team needs a goaltender more.

Team

Wins

Losses (Reg and OT)

Sv%

GAA

A

0

8

.880

3.39

B

3

3

.916

2.40

 

It's pretty obvious that team A needs a goaltender more. The fact that their goaltender is a massive sieve is probably the biggest reason why team A doesn't have a single win this season. Team B on the other hand, has recieved competent goaltending and has managed to win 3 games so far. Which team needs a goaltender?

Obviously Team A, it's a no brainer.

Now, lets put some names to these teams. Team A is the Columbus Blue Jackets, who employ Steve Mason, easily the worst goaltender in the league. Team B is the New Jersey Devils, who has a hall of fame goaltender going into the tail end of his career. The Devils have a competent backup in Johan Hedberg, while the Blue Jackets are hoping Mark Dekanich can be the answer to their goaltending woes, but he's currently injured and has pretty much no NHL experience.

So what does Columbus' goaltending issues have to do with the Devils? Well, despite Columbus' severe goaltending issues, you never seem to see teams hoping they can trade a goalie to Columbus for their best player, Rick Nash- mainly because he's in the 2nd year of an 8 year, $62.4 million deal. The Devils on the other hand, have a different problem- fans of some teams thinking they can acquire Zach Parise and his expiring contract for a goaltender, because the Devils apparently "need" a goaltender to replace the "retiring" Martin Brodeur. Case and point- the 110 Report Claiming that "Zach Parise's visit to the Staples Center will be his last as a visitor" because the Devils "need" Jonathan Bernier. As much as I hate breaking it to all the people who think those trades (also applicable, Parise for Schnieder/Lindback/Campbell), getting Zach Parise won't be that easy.

So why do all these stupid rumors always come up? It comes from a form of bias called the Endowment Effect. The Endowment effect is where one perceives that something they own is more valuable than it should be. In this article from the Leafs Nation, Danny Gray further explains the Endowment effect.

This is why people propose such ridiculous trades. They place a higher value on the players they "own". They think about all their highlight-reel goals and hits, their potential, and the emotional impact of losing them. So they demand what an objective, rational observer would deem to be disproportionate compensation.

Every time you see one of those "Parise for [insert young goaltender here]" rumors, it's mainly fans overvaluing their own players. These are unproven goaltenders who have yet to prove that they can play 60 games and be able to keep their teams in the game. However, the fans of the team know that they "own" him, and for every highlight reel save and shutout they've made in their career, they put so much more emphasis on that rather than their actual value as unproven players.

Another point to add to this is that a lot of the goalies you hear rumored to be moved for Parise are currently behind a better goaltender in the team's depth charts. Cory Schneider is behind Roberto 7uongo 8uongo Luongo and his infinity billion year contract, while Jonathan Bernier is behind Jonathan Quick, who's already got off to a hot start with a three game shutout streak and could potentially have the Kings goaltending job locked down for the future. They're more or less expendable seeing as they've got someone who's more competent and proven to fill the job.

And what are the teams going to get for an expendable, unproven goaltender? An all star, an olympian and a proven 30 goal scorer who also has an excellent two-way game. To a Kings fan, Jonathan Bernier is worth as much as Zach Parise because both teams get what they need- the Kings get an elite winger for Anze Kopitar, while the Devils get their goaltender of the future. But to the Devils fans, the Devils get a goalie who could either be the next Martin Brodeur or the next Vesa Toskala for their best player. The trade really is just  fantasy- namely because there's no chance in hell Lou sells his best player THAT low.

For comparison's sake, if I started a rumor where the Devils were to trade Mattias Tedenby and Jon Merrill to the Kings for Drew Doughty, Kings fans would laugh and call me an idiot. Why? They will say Doughty is an elite defenseman and they'll laugh at the offer stating that Tedenby and Merrill aren't even close to being in the same breath as Doughty. Which may seem incredibly hypocritical, seeing as they're treating Jonathan Bernier in the same way as we are treating Tedenby and Merrill in this scenario- as being worth more than they should be. Those two are not worth one of the top 5 defensemen in the league, so what makes Bernier, who is about equal value to Tedenby or Merrill, worth one of the top 5 left wings in the league?

The point- these are all irrational fantasy. If Lou's going to trade for a goaltender, he's probably not going to trade his best player for a goaltender. Just because Paul Holmgren traded his two best players so he could sign a goaltender doesn't mean Lou would do something similar. Just because a fan feels a certain way about a trade fantasy doesn't mean the other team's GM, who barely even cares about what you're saying, will happen. To further the point, here's a good quote from Danny's article on the Endowment effect.

How can we combat the endowment effect? Try to evaluate players as objectively as possible. Be cognizant of the influence ownership can play in assigning value to an item.

This quote is important because the people that matter are the ones who have power over the players- the GM, team president and Owner. Unless Lou or Vanderbeek feels that Bernier (or another unproven goalie) is worth THAT much, they will trade Parise. Of course, it seems that both would much rather keep Parise than trade him for an unproven goaltender. And because Devils ownership wants to keep Parise... I think you get the point. He's probably not going to get traded simply because ownership values him more than a potential starting goaltender.

Of course, this isn't going to stop irrational fans from hoping that a bogus rumor will come true. The only way to stop these rumors would be the Devils signing Zach Parise to a long term deal. And even then, with some of the Devils recent ownership issues, they might still make those rumors because the Devils would need to "cut costs". The rumors won't go away, but keep this in mind- as much as fans of other teams want Zach Parise, they are not Lou or Vanderbeek. Kings fans are not Devils management. So as much as they can bother us with the bogus rumors, as much as they can want him, and as much as believe that it's going to happen...

It's not going to happen.

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