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top-shelf-1

The time is now

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As far as I know, Brind'Amour's current contract does not include a no-trade-clause. His contract that he signed in '01 did have a no-trade-clause, but I haven't heard or seen it written anywhere that the deal he signed in '06 had one. Personally, I feel that Brind'Amour's presence has had a negative impact on Staal's ability to develop into a leader. While I appreciate what Brind'Amour has done for this franchise, I think we've reached the point where it would be best for the team if he would step aside or be dealt.

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I was going to start my own thread, but I'll build upon what TopShelf has already put forth...

Scientifically, if you were to just look at the task at hand, you need to assemble a team that performs better than the other teams, but with the same available resources, i.e. salary cap. for the Canes, its even harder, since our cap is less than the other teams in the league. (reference for those who want to know the cap situation: NHL Salary Numbers)

How do you do the impossible, i.e. make a better team with the identical (or less) resources than the other guys? Basically, you need to assemble combinations of players that are worth more than they are individually.

Now, addressing the point TopShelf made (mistakes)... There are guys on this team that don't fit the bill, and others that did fit the bill that are gone... I can't pretend to know everything about every player on this team, but let me give you some examples...

Fit the Bill: (Make others around them better)

Cory Stillman - of all the guys I can think of, this is the most glaring example. Here is a guy who was a linchpin of two separate cup runs on two separate teams, and look at Ottawa after he left there. He is a 3.5M dollar player, and he makes everyone around him better. He's an important part of why FLA is a serious threat to make the playoffs now. How could we not recognize how important he was and keep him? There is a serious value player.

Erik Cole - I just don't see how you can give Staal all of that money and then take away his synergistic partner. I know all about the arguments about why he was the obvious guy to trade last season. So what... In the end, the team needs guys like him if you are going to have Staal be effective. Cole opened up the ice for Staal... When they were both on the ice, it was tough to just focus on Staal. Now, Eric is smothered and far less effective.

Other like this on the team now: Williams, Whitney, Cullen, Gleason, Wallin

Brindy was that guy, and its not his fault, but his body has let him down. He's not that guy anymore. I know we all hope this changes, but the longer this goes on, the more obvious it is that its not going to happen.

Don't fit the bill (in fact, play hurts those around them)

Same old whipping boys... Kaberle, Eaves, others, I don't want to badmouth the marginal guys

Note Staal is not on the list. I just don't see him as that guy who makes others around him better. They touted him as the next Ron Francis. Ron is the epitome of what I am talking about. He was the quintessential guy who could make others around him better. Staal has fallen far short of filling those big shoes (skates).

What to do? Too late to get Stillman back, he's signed for another year. Can get Cole back next year, I would do it. And look for other guys around the league like this, you know they are out there. I would not get rid of Whitney, Cullen, Williams...

Roddy, sorry to see you retire, but it's time.

Finally, make way for youth. If you must trade one of the untradeable I list, make sure you get prospects or picks. We aren't probably going to get Cole, so who is going to be "that guy", Staal's bud. Every great player has a sidekick. Without his sidekick, he's shut down. If you doubt it, look around the league, there's a heckuva lot of pairs out there. Staal needs his sidekick.

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I agree the length of the Brind'Amour contract was a mistake and heis hurting the team but I don't think Staal's deal is a mistake. Given the climate in the league with contracts spiraling up, JR needed to sign Staal to that deal because with the way things were going it would have taken 10 million by this summer. That logic is obviously flawed now because of the economic tailspin we're in but it wasn't obvious then that things would get bad enough to be lowering the cap in the future.

A buyout for Brind'Amour is out of the question. As bad as he's been I don't think it would be terrible if he played 3rd line minutes against other teams 3rd liners, and I'd rather have a half speed Brind'Amour for two more years at 3 million apiece instead of 4 years of 2/3rd's of his cap hit of 3.6 million to do nothing. If he doesn't like the demotion he can retire, which fixes the budget problem though not the cap hit.

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Ive seen some progress from Eaves, I think hes gotten the confidence back that he can go full speed without the threat of injury, now he needs to find his scoring touch. If healthy, I predict a strong second half from him. Definitely dont think his play has been detrimental to the players on his line the past month.

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I agree with the other posts. Rod needs to be a 3rd or 4th liner or retire. I don't see use putting up the green it would take to bring Cole back. Stillman, as noted, is tied up as well. Who is the other distraction? Who can be gotten? I don't have that answer nor do I claim to have an in depth knowledge of the game/league. What I do know is good hockey when I see it, and I haven't seen it often this year. If Staal isn't living up to his job, then sit him. It worked for Rosey. Mo shouldn't let the dollars Staal is getting keep him from benching a pretty boy. Since we already got rid of the coach, who was having about as much luck with this team as the current coach (ending there, pros/cons for both opinions), you have to send a message to the players that they are not untouchable. In the cap era, you can't just start unloading your major players to send a message, so that leaves the bench. It kills these guys not to play. Its even better when they have to watch and take notes during the game and give their opinions during intermission.

Having grown up in Cleveland, I'm used to teams that are not up to par. I have also seen a youth movement produce an almost dynastic line of success in Cleveland for the Indians of the mid/late 90s and the Cavs a few years later. Rebuilding sucks and it is depressing, but that is what is happening here, but they won't admit it to themselves. That just makes it all the more painful.

Seidenberg has been a very pleasant surprise, save for a few bad passes. Pitkanen the same. Gleason is solid, though cursed as a target. Corvo is solid. Wallin and Babchuk or Kaberle have been unreliable, though Babs has shown some glimpses of his potential (again). Defense could use some toughness, as you can't have Tim be your enforcer and your #1 or 2 defenseman. Brookbank? Coach doesn't see him as an answer to anything other than a body to put in when a River Rat can't get here.

Future? Brookbank won't be back, and good for him. He should be where he can play, even if its in the AHL. Conboy has a 1 way contract next year. Trade him or keep him, I don't see him beyond a 3rd line defense pairing. Offensive hopes? Lets hope Sutter continues to mature, Boychuk comes in with some size, and we get something via trade or draft.

Its dark now. I'm not sure if we're near the dawn yet.

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This is a long post, but covers stuff I've been thinking about for a long time, so bear with me.

One thing I feel hampers efforts to analyze what

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i think j.r. and the canes really had a lot of hope in staal, and really had hoped that he would have turned into that player that the other teams have to worry about. sure, he is a nice player, but he is not a real threat most of the time, and teams do not really have to worry or make a game plan around like they have to with other stars and top players in the league. i don't think they need to get rid of staal he is a great player for this team. he just isn't what they think he is or what they had hoped he would of become. that being said it would be nice to have that player on this team that makes other teams worry and to have to plan around. sometimes it seems as if the canes broadcasters really over hype staal and what he does on the ice. (much like some of the saves that ward makes.) which makes everyone here locally think that he is that super star, so when he is not scoring every night something must be wrong. truth is he is not that player that is going to score everynight. just the cane's organization and broadcasters want you to beleive he is so you think you have a super star, and are not upset over the fact that we do not have a top player on this team.

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Yep..we don't have the media frenzy of NY or any of the cities in the Northern climes. How did the Canes reespond to the Boston and New England media? And, should we have the attack media, would it make a difference to the Canes organization?

The only thing that matters is tickets sold. And when this number declines enough, they make take action. But will it be too late to stop the bleeding?

Without media to answer to, the team and entire organIzation can slack a lot more. I can only imagine how the Canadian or Philly media would treat Brindy or Staal this year. Or what about bringing back Mo, they would have lost it. But we also accumulate guys who cannot respond in those other markets, Samsonov and Cullen to name just 2.

Revenue matters more than tickets sold as long as attendance stays 14000 or better. The Canes have increased revenues this year due to the ticket price increase even with decline in attendance, so they will most likely receive their full portion of revenue sharing this year. Hopefully this $ will find it's way to the ice.

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Fit the Bill: (Make others around them better)

Cory Stillman - of all the guys I can think of, this is the most glaring example. Here is a guy who was a linchpin of two separate cup runs on two separate teams, and look at Ottawa after he left there. He is a 3.5M dollar player, and he makes everyone around him better. He's an important part of why FLA is a serious threat to make the playoffs now. How could we not recognize how important he was and keep him? There is a serious value player.

Erik Cole - I just don't see how you can give Staal all of that money and then take away his synergistic partner. I know all about the arguments about why he was the obvious guy to trade last season. So what... In the end, the team needs guys like him if you are going to have Staal be effective. Cole opened up the ice for Staal... When they were both on the ice, it was tough to just focus on Staal. Now, Eric is smothered and far less effective.

If we had kept Cole/Stillman we wouldn't have Pitkanen/Corvo. Imagine our defense without those two.

I don't understand how people can complain (and rightfully so) about the Brind'amour contract, then turn around and suggest we should have signed 35-year old Cory Stillman to a three-year contract at a similar dollar amount. We need LESS long-term contracts to older players, not more. Stillman may look good in the first year of his contract...but so did Brind'amour, Walker, etc. That is the risk in long term deals to older players. For every Ray Whitney you get, you get a Scott Walker or a Frantisek Kaberle or a Niclas Wallin.

As for the Staal deal, it is much too early to tell. The deal hasn't even kicked in yet, it is backloaded and Staal still has plenty of room to improve at the age of 24. Staal was struggling last season before Brind'amour got hurt, then magically turned it around afterwards and wound up at a point-per-game on the season.

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Well, despite discussing on his contract, there's one thing we all have to see: Eric Staal is, without any doubt, the most talented and skilled guy in this team, his potential is far beyond any other guy here. The questtion is: How could this team make sure he can live up to his potential?

I think it's time for some changes...changes about the line-policy, as for a start.

The idea of even out scoring over 3 lines is nice, but it doesn't work right now, and in my opinion, it's easy to find out why: To build more than one or two potential top scoring lines, those 1 or 2 lines have to work first, and right now, they don't. I really do not understand, how our best scorer (whitney) can be seriously put on the 3rd line. I could think of Whitney playin on the 3rd when Staals/Brindys lines were on fire, but obviously, they are not.

Staal is a young boy, and whether Brindy's wearing the C or not, he is the head of this team. That's a big responsibility for a young boy. One thing that's most important in this situation is confidence, and in that case, nothing, noone on this team, is more important than Staal when it comes to who should be pushed to get his game goin.

That being said...it's time to stop rotating all the players up and down just to get every line to get a scoring touch, when even our first and most important scoring line doesn't get it goin. As for example, Sammy had his chance, and he took over at least a bit (good for him, good for the team). But however, I think this has been overdone. Sammy is 30 years old, he's played a lot of seasons in this league. He should be able to care for himself. How could JR or Lavi even think about spending all our talent from Staal, who's already got a cross to carry with all his responsibility for this team, in getting a 30 year old veteran goin, just for the sake of it. I mean, we already had a good guy on the left wing with Whitney, and lookin to the first games of the season, Staal and Whitney worked well together.

To build at leat one working scoring line, the 1st line should, for now, hold our best players, Whitney, Staal , and probably Williams or Ruutu. Then, start building a 2nd line with the rest of the players, and try to get them goin, too. And then, when this is working, then, and not one day earlier, we could be caring about a 3rd line filling up the net.

As things turned out lately, whether it was a good decision or not to spend all this on Sammy (thats another discussion), I see Sammy working well with Staal, so yes, we could keep it that way. Now we should leave that line, with Williams, alone, and find their way to score all by themself, they should be able to do it with all the talent they have. Now it's time to care about a 2nd line, and right now, even if i was on brindys side all season, I don't see him to bring the needed offense to the ice. Find another center for the 2nd line, maybe Cullen, maybe Ruutu, or even Sutter, and put the best and talented (most important!) available scorers to his side (Whitney, (Ruutu), (Cullen), or even Eaves (talented!), and if this doesnt work, Walker, LaRose). It's important to have a look on player peronalities in the building process. Get this line goin, let them build chemistry, and then try to focus on building a 3rd line with whatever is left.

In my opinion, that would be the way to build this team with what we have right now, and the, for the future, too look wisely for players out there, who could fit in. It's better to have 2 scoring lines that find a way to produce, than having 3 of them who all don't consistently fill the scoreboard.

I HAVE to say: I'm not that deep into the players potential and performance as Mo or JR, so every specific thought on players, whether it's sammy or the wizard onthe first line, or who may be the better offensive center (Ruutu, Cullen, Sutter, Brindy) is just my opinion, and so the final decision should be made by those who are our experts (Mo, Ronny, etc). What I'm tryin to say, is: the way of consideration about the lineup of this team should be made with another focus. Stop lookin at 3 lines, but focus on building socring lines from top to bottom, one by one.

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I wonder if JR may be hesitant to do much this season as far as trades because he hopes for a big off season. Think about it. If the cap DOES go down (not so sure it will go down much if at all) this could be a unique opportunity to acquire some great talent. Teams would be trading guys they wouldn't normally trade so they can get under the cap. We have lots of reasonable contracts that would make us a favorable trade partner. I imagine there will be lots of guys on waivers too. If the cap does go down we could make significant improvements on our team if we spend some money! I hope this is the case but unfortunately I think if the cap goes down, so will our self imposed cap. I hope management realizes this could be a career opportunity to improve our team.

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i think j.r. and the canes really had a lot of hope in staal, and really had hoped that he would have turned into that player that the other teams have to worry about. sure, he is a nice player, but he is not a real threat most of the time, and teams do not really have to worry or make a game plan around like they have to with other stars and top players in the league.

I disagree. I think teams do plan a defense around Staal, and it's pretty easy since we don't have any complimentary threats to play with him. A healthy Staal, Stillman, Cole line was very difficult to defense, 2 speed guys and a playmaker.

My basic premise is that you can't pay a guy 7 or 8 million and not give him the right tools to work with for him to be successful. It's stupid. And for those who are pointing out the obvious, yes, it might have been the right time to get rid of Stillman and Cole to help out the rest of the team with defense. Well, you have to replace them now, which is my point, and those are the types of players you need to make Staal successful. He's just not a guy who can dominate the game all by himself.

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I disagree. I think teams do plan a defense around Staal, and it's pretty easy since we don't have any complimentary threats to play with him. A healthy Staal, Stillman, Cole line was very difficult to defense, 2 speed guys and a playmaker.

My basic premise is that you can't pay a guy 7 or 8 million and not give him the right tools to work with for him to be successful. It's stupid. And for those who are pointing out the obvious, yes, it might have been the right time to get rid of Stillman and Cole to help out the rest of the team with defense. Well, you have to replace them now, which is my point, and those are the types of players you need to make Staal successful. He's just not a guy who can dominate the game all by himself.

But he's also not a guy who is doing what he needs to do, based on his abilities, or based even on the dictates of his position. He has maybe the softest hands in the league, yet I can count on one hand the number of games this season where he has planted himself in the slot rather than at the side of the net. In front, you get two for one: you create a screen and you're available for garbage collection (i.e., rebounds). By hanging down at the goal line you immediately cut the percentages. First, you can't get to rebounds out in front. Second, you're not there for your linemates or as a distraction to defenders. And third, on those rare chances you get, you have lower percentage shots due to the hard angle orientation of the net.

The bottom line for me is not that Staal lacks the ability to be successful -- but he may lack the physical presence and/or will. Whatever the case, he had not yet earned the deal he got, and IMO, its the COMBINATION of that deal and Roddy's that is crippling this team in terms of on-ice leadership.

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The mistake that stands out to me on this team is a lack of players who are now in the prime of their career. This span is most often from ages 26 to 30, with some players being early or late bloomers. Looking across this roster, there are a lot of guys early in their career still improving and learning facets of the game (Staal, Pitkanen, Ward, etc.) Then there are also the past their prime guys (Brindy, Kaberle, Whitney, etc.) Williams or Samsonov fit the "prime" years. Williams with 2 major injuries cannot be faulted for not being all he might be right now, he gets a pass. Samsonov has been an underachiever most of his career with difficulty handling pressure and was brought in as a salvage project. I would add too Corvo because he is a late bloomer and playing well, but again, he came here to reclaim his career after being bashed in Ottawa.

I bring this up because young players and older players are both subject to inconsistencies in play. Young guys due to learning the NHL level game and how to handle the season and older guys due to bodies not always firing at the same speed as they used or they want them to. It is players in their prime years who lend balance to these other groups. They can offer that steadying assurance that mistakes made will be overcome. We do not have enough of this this year. If the Canes had a core of players (3 or 4 total) 2 or 3 forwards on their top 2 lines and 1 or 2 defensemen playing in their prime now, I think they would look a lot better.

This type of gap exists due in part to poor drafting and other decisions, such as Cole being gone. It is not necessarily something that they can change quickly, but with the guys who are developing, the team may have a bright future. Decent drafting now can then provide a quality core of players to learn from the guys who are on the team now who will be in their prime then.

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Well, to be fair, all of JR's recent trades have dealt with trying to address the 3 biggest problem areas for the 'Canes:

1. get a couple of puckmoving d-men. 2. get more 'tweeners (25-30 year old guys). 3. add more size and grit.

Which he accomplished, in part, by acquiring Corvo, Pitkanen, Ruutu, Eaves, Gleason, Seidenberg - even by giving ex-

panded roles to LaRose and Bayda. As you alluded to, it's not easy to turn the Titanic around. All due to poor drafting.

JR's mistake has been to place confidence in players who, simply, haven't deserved to have that faith placed in them.

Did you see the second half of last season? It was pretty amazing! All because one player was injured and off the ice.

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folks don't realize that, something needs to be done about Brindy. He needs to swallow that pride and retire instead of taking the ship down with him.

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folks don't realize that, something needs to be done about Brindy. He needs to swallow that pride and retire instead of taking the ship down with him.

Relinquishing the C would be a start.

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Did you see the second half of last season? It was pretty amazing! All because one player was injured and off the ice.

I'm not going to say it had nothing to do with Brind'Amour's injury but his injury didn't solely cause the run at the end of the year.

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retiring would be more dignified but if he can't take a hint then yep, take the C.

The only problem I have with that and the main reason I would rather see him traded is, as far as I know, if he does retire his salary will still count against the salary cap until his current contract expires.

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The only problem I have with that and the main reason I would rather see him traded is, as far as I know, if he does retire his salary will still count against the salary cap until his current contract expires.

It will but it's not like PK allows JR to spend to the cap anyway.

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It will but it's not like PK allows JR to spend to the cap anyway.

That's still three million dollars that could be spent elsewhere if Brind'Amour were dealt by the trade deadline.

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That's still three million dollars that could be spent elsewhere if Brind'Amour were dealt by the trade deadline.

It makes me sad, but I don't see how he has any trade value with his current physical condition. Obviously if he were playing up to his old form he would be a good deal and worth keeping as well. Its the same old Catch 22 when discussing trading away problems. If they were worth the money, you wouldn't want to trade them.

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