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email@example.com. Today's post comes from Roundtable participant The Speckled Kiwi, a true man of mystery.
The team and the organization is in an interesting position at this time. We're one of the older teams in the league and we have a lot of money tied up in contracts that we cannot move. Our prospect depth is getting better little by little but we're still missing a blue chip offensive player. Granlund, Zucker and Haula are all great pieces but this organization has been starving for a dynamic offensive player since 2005 to play with Gaborik when he was here.
Latendresse, Havlat and Bouchard are excellent complementary pieces for this organization but they are not guys that can stand up and take over a game like Gaborik could do.
We got a solid foundation with Burns and Koivu (if Burns is signed to an extension) but the pieces are still missing for us to be a dangerous team year in and year out. We'll do damage in the regular season and cause some noise but our depth is lacking and we are mired in mediocrity. For three years in a row we've been in the bottom 3rd of goals scored at around 210. And it's not going to get any better.
Haula and Granlund are not pure goal scorers. They are complementary players like Havlat and Latendresse and Bouchard. Zucker isn't going to be an immediate impact player for at least 3+ years. And we've got bits and pieces here and there that fill out our prospect depth.
We've also got a lot of money tied up in contracts for aging players that do nothing for the future of this organization.
We can make the playoffs one year and then miss the next two and then make it again but we constantly are struggling to find a steady pace and goal for this team.
We're losing three major pieces this year, for better or worse. People moan and groan about Brunette's lack of foot speed or Miettinen's inability to hit the net but the options out there are not any better for this organization. As well finding chemistry with Koivu could be difficult.
We got to replace two thirds of our top line. And we lose Kobasew, who while we overpaid for has been a decent depth guy when healthy.
This team is going into two directions and trying to find an alignment will be difficult. The fans want the playoffs. We've been starved for the playoffs for years given that Riser drove this team into the ground and Fletcher made a few panic moves to appease the head guy.
In order to keep us knee deep in the playoff race, we've had to sacrifice the future for the present and let our guys walk. Now some years wasn't as bad as other years and there is a balance that needs to be struck. However, given the health of the organization, not just in the NHL but the development programs as well, there are times where you need to trust your scouts to find a project player that can turn out to be someone like Haula, like Zucker and you trade guys off for mid range picks in order to provide depth so when you go to the playoffs, you have a deeper roster to pull from. That is why teams like Detroit have had success is finding those mid round guys to add a little more depth to an already deep roster.
As for what to do this year; it's easy to say to sell or to buy or to stay put.
We can't buy. We can't sacrifice another first round player or pick and miss the playoffs by a point or two. And we don't have anything to buy with.
So the other option is to sell or to stay put.
Personally I would explore the option to sell; see what is out there and see what we can get. We should at least move Kobasew or Miettinen. Try to extend Brunette or at least offer him a position in the organization after this year. We should also explore options to move Backstrom and his contract along with Barker. Moving Backstrom and Barker can clear almost 10 million from the cap making it easier and more flexible to bring in someone like Wheeler or Setoguchi as we can now take on some 'bad' contracts.
Staying put would be the last option I would explore. At least explore the options to move players and think long term instead of short term for this organization.