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2015/16 In-Season Talk

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You contradict yourself in this post.

But before I get to that, let's say you are right, that the org has made no effort to surround him with talent. We'll just forget about Cole, Semin, Jokinen, Skinner, Ruutu, Tlusty, and even Eric's own brother. I'm assuming the "one time" you're talking about is Cole, but please remember - because some love to overlook it - that Cole had a full season with Eric after his injury, that we still missed the playoffs that year. If Eric's contract were more in line with his production, we might have been able to re-sign Cole and add other players.

Now, about Eric making those around him better. If that were true, wouldn't it have manifested with the parade of bonafide wingers just listed?

You say we have no one in our system who is ready to be a top-line center. Forgetting for a moment that Eric is a 2-center at best, how about Rask? Lindholm? Or even Jordan? Any of these guys will win more face-offs, regularly go to the front of the net, and play physically--things Eric has chronically not done during his tenure.

Sometimes you have to turn the page. The time to do that with Eric came about three years ago. I'm thankful we've finally got a GM and coach who are holding guys accountable, and letting go of the "franchise player" model. This market is too small to carry that, and Eric's outsized salary has proven that over these past seven years. Great orgs are built from the ground up and the goal line out. JR never got that. He thought he could trade his way to consistency, and you can't. It might win you a Cup one year, but look what happened after that. Then he made matters worse by doubling down, signing Eric to a far-too-big contract much too soon, on the basis of his performance with a group that caught lightning in a bottle. Eric has never matched that level of output since, and blaming everybody else simply ignores that Eric has some responsibility, too.

Now, in the final year of his deal, RF has a responsibility: to scrutinize Eric just as critically as he does everybody else. More critically, really, given his salary and captain status. Unfortunately, Eric is playing at a level that fetches about $4 million in this league. Paying him anything over 5 is overpaying (if Eric is sincere about wanting to stay).

So, good luck on the FA market, Eric. I've got no doubt somebody will pay you $6 million. But we can't. We've got fans, 21 other guys, and the future of this franchise to think about.

I referenced in my first post '11 on so not Cole but instead Semin being the last offensive talent that we attempted to put around Eric, and when we did that he was successful. None of the names you listed from '11 on we're 1st line guys Semin was for a year/year and a half.

I don't think neither Rask or Lindholm are ready to be a top line guy yet. Jordan needs to be on our shut down line. Caniac247 summed up my thoughts well. I'm not arguing Eric is the what we need per say but instead he is serviceable and I don't see any better options coming anytime soon unless we fork over a lot more in free agency than someone is worth or make a trade that stunts our future growth. We need some form of a top offensive line center on our roster the next few years and perhaps I'm being negative but realistically he's our only option aside from moving up Rask or Lindholm which I agree with Caniac247 would risk stunting there development.

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1. Just because he scores in juniors doesn't mean he can cut it in the NHL.  Because I was an outstanding goalie for my middle school soccer team does that also mean I will be great as goalie during the world cup?

 

2.  He freaking asked for a trade and proceeded to not show up to games for his AHL team.  He also requested a trade before proving himself.  Need I say more?

 

3. He couldn't crack the tampa Bay line up.

 

1. Sorry blue, not a very good analogy imo.  I'm guessing that your stint as an outstanding middle school soccer goalie wasn't comprised of you at 17 and 18 yo putting up monster stats against some of the best similarly aged soccer players in the world.  And you're ignoring what Drouin has done in the NHL.  In addition to your middle school success you'd need to have a successful full season plus at the Worlds level under your belt in order for your analogy to hold. :D

 

2. Although reports are that the situation might not have been all on Drouin, clearly that's a concern and the Canes brass would have to sort through it to make sure that his attitude wouldn't present undo risk moving forward. That's why I said "If he were to pass muster with RF and BP".  Although in fairness, I didn't make the "If" a big one until after you responded.

 

3. Actually, he did.  89 games over a season and a half before the whole trade debacle broke open.  Sounds like the line-up thing was more a personality issue than a performance one.  The personality issue is a valid one, see 2. above.  

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The idea of replacing what Eric Staal once was is a very fair point. The problem is that it is increasingly clear that Eric Staal cannot replace what Eric Staal once was. Even if we discount his something like 2 goals in 13 games and almost no points stretch, even if we waive that away and focus only on the 2.5 years before that, Eric is a 50 point center at best at this point, and likely for the future. At least that's how Francis HAS to look at it.

Projecting the old Eric into the IC is wishful thinking at best.

So, yes, we probably do still need that guy, but it really isn't Eric anyways. Eric is now a very nice 2C.

BTW over the last 30 or so games, Jordan Staal has been putting up 1C numbers while shutting down the best 1C's of the other team. Eric may or may not take less than his brother, but can anyone argue he's not worth less?

Francis has to find a way to get us at least 1 elite forward, and 1 near elite, though I do think more and more that Jordan could be the first line center. It might not be the traditional first line role, but with a solid 2C with offensive upside, it could work if we had elite wingers. But at best Eric has the "near elite" in him.

Since Eric probably thinks he's worth more than a typical 50 point forward ($4.5 million/year), I see very little chance he signs here. The only thing is whether he's traded or not.

Let's not get caught up in who is 1 and who is 2. Jordan needs to be in a shutdown possession role and then we need a top offensive center. For the time being our best option is Eric. Other guys aren't ready and the free market will cost is much more than the $5 mil Eric would sign with us for IMO. If he hits the free market he will easily get over $5 from teams, also IMO.

Jordan is our best forward right now hands down. Eric's game might not be what people want but he is playing sound defensively and offensively his line mates are over performing production expectations. We can be tired of the line ate excuse all we want (I'm tired of it too) but, we have done nothing to fix it. Eric has played with an assemblance of guys who are 3rd/4th liners else where. Increased ice time comes into play but, guys have career or near career highs when playing with him. People were ready to ship Cam out and we're tired of the defense as an excuse, well we gave Ward some solid D men infront of him and look at his stats now. It's ridiculous to say that an excuse is over used or not applicable anymore when the problem was never addressed in the first place. RF is building this team back to front as he should, the next step is our forwards and getting some more skill, until then we need Eric, he elivates the play of those around him a lot more than he is given credit for.

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Canes Country, unless I'm mistaken, the McBain trade to Buffalo for Sekera was done by JR at his last draft. The Sekera trade to the Kings was done by Ron though.

Youre 100% right I'm off by a draft. Guess my memory couldn't recall JR doing anything to help out defense.

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Semin being the last offensive talent that we attempted to put around Eric, and when we did that he was successful.

I don't think neither Rask or Lindholm are ready to be a top line guy yet. Jordan needs to be on our shut down line. Caniac247 summed up my thoughts well. I'm not arguing Eric is the what we need per say but instead he is serviceable and I don't see any better options coming anytime soon unless we fork over a lot more in free agency than someone is worth or make a trade that stunts our future growth. 

Semin, Tlusty and Staal were successful - ? Yeah. Alllllll those playoff appearances.  :lol:

 

It doesn't matter whether you think Rask or Lindy is ready; what matters is whether BP does. Either are more than ready for 2C, and Rask is quickly convincing me that he is close to 1C. He certainly has the hands, he can stickhandle in a phone booth, and he practically lives in the slot. The real problem is that, like his brother, Jordan is not a 1C. He is perfectly slotted right now, at 2C.

 

So Rask, Jordan, Lindy, McClement down the middle? Works or me. But I'm not BP either :)

 

So now let's talk numbers. If we were talking about a 31-year-old 2-3C described as "serviceable" who we were bringing in from another team, how much would you be willing to pay? Because the league is willing to go about $4.5 (3C) to $6 (2C) million on a multi-year contract for that kind of player.

 

Now, if we're talking about a one-year deal, maybe Eric gets the top end. You really need to look at what happened with Jarome Iginla in 2013, whose situation in leaving Calgary was nearly identical to Eric's (except Iginla is a more physical player). Iginla was moved as a pending UFA at the deadline to Pitt for a first-round pick. He played out his contract thru the playoffs (the Pens lost the Conference Final to the Bruins in four straight). Iginla then signed a ONE YEAR deal with Boston for $6 million. Boston couldn't fit him under the salary cap the following year and he went to Colorado on a 3-year, $16 million deal ($5.3 million/year).

 

So again: If this team renews Eric at anything over $5 million, is it overpaying him.

Edited by top-shelf-1

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Youre 100% right I'm off by a draft. Guess my memory couldn't recall JR doing anything to help out defense.

 

Another very savvy move by JR was moving Gleason to the Leafs for Liles.  Not only was Gleason's total contract at that time a couple million more than Liles but the Leafs promptly bought out Gleason after the season was over.  :P

Edited by LakeLivin

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...but he is playing sound defensively 

Whoa Nellie. Not even close to true. E has been a defensive liability for years and this year is no different.

 

However, I see we agree on the number: $5 million. Where we diverge is on whether he will take it. I don't think so, or he'd be re-signed by now. 

Edited by top-shelf-1

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In the post game interview Peters said that Ward is the man and he's going to ride him.  So if RF has a trade for Cam in the works it  doesn't sound like he's let Peters in on it. 

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On stepping back, the difference between discussions on this board between E. and Cam are that Cam pops up when he has a funk, but E. has been a constant talk of discussion.

 

Despite Cam's one gaffe last night, he looks solid.  Now if we could only forget the funky first two months.

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The only guy I really hope the Canes resign is Versteeg.  I have a feeling he is gone at the deadline though unless RF states that he is "Going for it.".

With the other UFAs we'll deal we can probably afford Versteeg. I think it comes down to whether he wants to stay.

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On stepping back, the difference between discussions on this board between E. and Cam are that Cam pops up when he has a funk, but E. has been a constant talk of discussion.

 

Despite Cam's one gaffe last night, he looks solid.  Now if we could only forget the funky first two months.

Yes. Cam is soooo good under pressure and always has been. His slow starts have never been as long as Eric's, but he does seem to have trouble getting up for early-season games sometimes. Hopefully this year makes the connection for everybody on this roster that the season really does begin in October, and the more wins you bank early the better shape you'll be in down the stretch.

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On stepping back, the difference between discussions on this board between E. and Cam are that Cam pops up when he has a funk, but E. has been a constant talk of discussion.

 

Despite Cam's one gaffe last night, he looks solid.  Now if we could only forget the funky first two months.

 

Really the funky first two months for Cam and Eddie for that matter has more to do with the defense in front of them than their actual play. It took them too long to figure things out. The additions of Pesce and Slavin solidified our blue line and the play of our forwards coming back into our zone has vastly improved since the end of November. Though both Cam and Eddie do not get a complete pass on their "funk". Their stability in between the pipes should have been better and at least have stolen a game or two before things came together.

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In the post game interview Peters said that Ward is the man and he's going to ride him.  So if RF has a trade for Cam in the works it  doesn't sound like he's let Peters in on it. 

I also wonder if BP has let RF in on his feelings about Eric - did you catch his positivity on E's play in the presser? I know he's slower, and my feelings about his value going forward are well-known, but I was very impressed with E's fight on the third goal, both in front and, as Captain, in pointing out the replay to the ref. 

 

For better or worse, we're getting into that zone we all discussed about a month ago, where moving Eric (and others - how about Chris Freakin' Terry last night??) could be a mistake in terms of chemistry in the room for the stretch drive. BP sure seems determined to make the dance, and Versteeg, Jordan and Skinner all seemed genuinely enthused in their post-game interviews.  

 

So the question is: Does keeping together a roster that is winning constitute a "detour?" Or, does knowing that we're going to free up at least $4.5 million with Eric next year (if he re-signs at $5 million; $9.5 million if he goes FA), allow us to re-sign Versteeg with a nice increase right now, move Liles (with Faulk coming back - although F's defense spottiness makes my sphincter tighten up...) and keep our other UFAs until the season ends? Because all of them (Terry, Gerbe, Murphy, Malone), are, by any standard, role players and are therefore easier to replace when the season ends?

Edited by top-shelf-1

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Really the funky first two months for Cam and Eddie for that matter has more to do with the defense in front of them than their actual play. It took them too long to figure things out. The additions of Pesce and Slavin solidified our blue line and the play of our forwards coming back into our zone has vastly improved since the end of November. Though both Cam and Eddie do not get a complete pass on their "funk". Their stability in between the pipes should have been better and at least have stolen a game or two before things came together.

You totally beat me to it :)

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OK, first off, after last night, I have decided to get back out to the Island and start taking the tarps off of things. This team is for real. It has now been 2.5 months of being around the 6th best team in the NHL. We have beaten the best teams, back to back, on the road, whatever. We are in almost every game. Ironically, if Eric stepped it up a notch?....

 

I can't help but think that if Jordan and Eric had peaked together, JR would be looking a lot better. )Still have Semin on his resume, but hey), but imagine an 80 point Eric Staal right now centering line one, and Jordan line 2, and Rask line 3. This would be one of the top 1-2-3's down the middle in the NHL. Gotta give JR at least some credit. I could have been awesome. That's what he was banking on (literally). Never really got both Staal's going at the same time.

 

So this does further complicate the whole deadline thing.

 

Versteeg is a guy that we should move mountains to try to keep. He cannot suffer from delusions that he is worth $7 million or something, and slightly overpaying a guy, especially if he has no or modified NTC, that has been as consistent as him, is worth it. Does he want to stay? YES!!! He said as much. He was quoted last night as saying he liked playing here and he would like to be a part of things if the organization thinks he fits! But NO!!! He also made a comment about players not getting the respect they deserve because no one follows them in this small market. He was talking about other guys, but it reveals his thoughts about at least one aspect of the market.

 

So who knows? My guess is that Francis doesn't want to move both Versteeg and Eric during a playoff push, and is waiting on Versteeg, to decide on Eric.

 

Ward. Ward now has two years of bad-solid-very good. Last year he tailed back off in March. Still, when good he's been very good. I think for Ward it all comes down to a ratio of return and the lowest amount he'd slgn for. It is a business decision. He has played himself into a position that very likely he is worth much more to us than his likely return on a trade market. So trading him is not ideal. But we cannot go paying $5 million/year and a NTC to him either. I wonder if he'd do a one or two year deal? He almost certainly is looking for term though. So it comes down to price and tradeability. If the deal is right, say $3 million/year,  4 years, no NTC. He can almost certainly be traded for a 5th round pick if he had to be moved.

 

Aside from return, do we really make or go anywhere in the playoffs without Ward? Without Staal, maybe? Without Ward, hard to see. Not only because Lack is more unsteady, but because we'd have no NHL back up. We need Ward far more than E. right now, and in the next 1-2 years.

 

I think we end up keeping Ward and trying to sign him either now, or later, but can tolerate him walking, especially if the return is a second rounder or less.

 

E? This is really tough, because it just really really seems that this team just needs to finally move on from E. I think even in a playoff run. Yet, actually trading him in the midst of this run and how well this team is playing? Somewhere between tricky and impossible. I'd still like to see it happen, but don't see it.

 

JML. He has been great, but we gotta move someone!

Edited by remkin

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Just to add to the complexity: don't forget that several columnists have pointed out that moving E with his big contract may be tough due to where most contenders are in relation to the salary cap.  Sure, we can retain some salary, but start out with a limited field of potential trade partners (playoff contenders), and add in cap issues, and the field shrinks even more. 

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Sebastion Aho (Karpat, FEL)

 

39 games - 16G, 19A 35 points +23

 

Get this kid signed when the FEL season is over, ASAP.  He's getting 22 minutes TOI, and is on the first PP and first PK unit. Can play center or wing.

 

I wouldn't say this about many prospects but I don't see any way he's not on the roster in 2016-17 if we can get him locked up.  He's got Bill Peters all over his sweater.

Edited by coastal_caniac

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Sebastion Aho (Karpat, FEL)

 

39 games - 16G, 19A 35 points +23

 

Get this kid signed when the FEL season is over, ASAP.  He's getting 22 minutes TOI, and is on the first PP and first PK unit. Can play center or wing.

 

I wouldn't say this about many prospects but I don't see any way he's not on the roster in 2016-17 if we can get him locked up.  He's got Bill Peters all over his sweater.

 

Thanks for the update Coastal. As you know he just dominated World Juniors too.

 

I had this indirect feeling he must be good since Francis not only went against type (tending to draft bigger guys) but also by many estimations may have seemed to reach a bit for him, going high in the second of a very deep draft, that Francis and company must really really have liked this kid.

 

Now we see why. Very exciting.

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No one is going to want to hear the doom-crier, but I need to level set.

 

As always, the standings are misleading.  

 

The current cut-line for the playoffs is +9. (over fake .500)

 

Washington     +33
Florida        +16
NYR            +15
NYI            +12
Tampa Bay      +11
Boston         +11
Pittsburgh     +10
Detroit         +9
--------------------
New Jersey      +5
Philadelphia    +5
Carolina        +4
Ottawa          +2
Montreal        +1

 

The line is supposed to be +10 by the end of February, and I hate being right all the time, but it looks like it is going to be +10 right on schedule.

 

Even if the Canes win all 4 remaining games they will be +8, still looking up.  Losing 2 out of the last 3 was/is devastating.

 

For all of the talk of this team being hot, we are only one game over .500 in February, at 4-3-2, which is really 4 wins 5 losses.

It hurts me to say it, because we need this team to make the playoffs so bad it is painful.  But be realistic.  Hot is 7-2 for the 9 games.  Not 4-3-2.

 

SportsClubStats says today that 92 points makes the playoffs for the Canes 50.2% of the time, which is +10.  So MAYBE the requirement has come down a point this season.

 

In other words.  Stick to the plan.

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Let's be a bit more conservative and say 94 points would get us in.  Here's what that translates to over the last 22 games:

 

15 - 7 - 0

14 - 6 - 2

13 - 5 - 4

12 - 4 - 6

11 - 3 - 8

 

Yeah, I'd say tonight's game is pretty much "must win".

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