Following in the great blog tradition of posting entries, I present to thee…
Goaltending Wish and Sparkle Panel 2010-2011 Edition
James to Peter, Conrad
Now, it’s no secret in Ottawa when it comes to goaltending blah di bling blong sdfjweoafie;lkvnvh;a.
Given the (incredibly) recent solid net minding of Brian Elliott and the 8.1 games that Pascal Leclaire has played since joining the Senators IN 2009!!! (seriously CCFR nation: can someone provide a percentage of games that Snoopy has started since coming to town? Including when he was signed while injured? That’d be greaaaaaat – Bill Lumberg) I gots goaltending on my mind grapes.
Really, it has been bit of a godsend that the Senators have avoided the absolute basement the past couple of years. I mean, as much as I knock Bri-Bri Destiny Elliott, overall I admit he has stepped up after essentially being a given baptism by fire (weirdest metaphor btw…you KNOW it makes you picture a baby being dipped in fire) as defacto starter in a post-Gerber/Auld/Leclaire/garbage dump paradigm. I mean isn’t bro making like 800K and change? Picked something like second LAST over all?
Real Talk: Pretty lucky that we can even start Elliott against teams like Warshington or Chicaga with a grain of confidence. Now, this is coming from me; a guy who throws him under the bus constantly. I know Bri-Bri was never destined to be legit #1. When you string together 9 wins in a row with some back-to-back shutouts and are STILL in question as a starter…I suppose that cements you as a career backup. I recognize that he is doing his damnedest even maybe playing way over his head in the role he has been given (I’m building on something, promise *tugs collar*).
Turning our Terminator 2 red robot eyes to focus on Leclaire, I think we can all agree by now this signing was a delicious warm glass of second period intermission Scotiabank Place toilet water. Vermette’s role as Penalty Killing Centre and entire-team-deker-outter-and-subsequent-net-misser was filled more or less no probski by Christobal Kelly. So the trade price, which I think I’m probably neglecting a draft pick in, was not overly steep. That said, salary wise Leclaire is basically getting half a million dollareedoos per games played at the rate he’s falling apart.
Okay, so I have given a brief summation of goaltending situation as it stands. We have a guy doing a half decent job in a role he is not exactly cut out for and a dude IN A BODY CAST MADE OUT OF BLACK CATS AND BROKEN MIRRORS *deep cleansing breath*
Both of these dudes are in the last year of their contracts.
What would YALLS like to see from the Senators organization goaltending wise this summer?
Jettison Leclaire? (jokes yall, themz was jokes) Go all in and try to sign Tomas Vokun? Eff it, if Robin Lehner looks good in Binghamton this year lets just put him in there? Chicago Blackhawks/Detroit Red Wings it and build the D up like crazy and keep the goaltending discount priced?
In the spirit of wishes and sparkles I would love to see a Vokun signing behind a slightly improved D. Maybe even get insane and put Robin Lehner behind him…yes burning some of his entry level years but maybe he could be Karlsson to his Gonchar…Or re-sign Elliot for like a year or two…-seriously, is competition on the market going to be all that crazy for him? Have Ells finally be the solid backup we know he can be to a big fish #1. Keep Lehner in the A to hone his craft as the Lundquist in our back pocket we hope he ends up as.
Tell whats on your minds, lovers, tell me what’s on your miiiiiiiiiiinds.
Peter to James, Conrad
Interesting discussion. James your sense of timing is exquisite.
Leclaire has had the opportunity to start/play in exactly 100 games since being accquired. The actual total… drumroll please, .. 34! (sv %.903, GAA slightly north of 3)
I think the goalie situation solves itself this summer, Elliott definately stays, considering the shit he’s gone through and his tendency to occassionally flash some brilliant leather (phrase trademarked for my band name, btw). Tandems are the name of the game, lets keep one and jettison the rascal in hopes of developing Lehner with the big club. (I think it’s fair to say young goalies are better off seeing as much NHL rubber as possible.)
Now a question of timing. I say we go one more year without selling out our cap space for an immediate number one solution. Vokun doesn’t do it for me and the rest of the names at the singles table at this wedding are less than appealing. Take an extra year, see what we have with Lehner and try to time it with the ascencion of more of our highly-touted prospects. One more year of Elliott, give Lehner some spot starts and wait to see what shakes out with other teams since a lot of high expectations have been heaped on some not so sharp playoff performers (cough, Bobby Lou, cough) I think there’s going to be more than one team looking to change gears between the pipes. Not saying a clear cut number one is going to fall in our laps, but welcomes get worn out, that much I do know.
Alternatively if we want to get one more run in with Alfie, I’d love to see us put together a package for Tim Thomas. Not sure the Sens have anything of value to the B’s but hey, that’s why I’m not a GM.
Conrad to Peter, James
RESPONSE THE FIRST:
I think GMs, being generally business-minded guys, are obsessed with Return on Investment. If you draft a guy in the top ten, and you draft a guy in the 7th round, and they both play about equally, the perception is that the guy with the better pedigree is going to eventually pull up and play more consistently and the guy drafted lower will start playing poorer. So, if they’re playing equally it just means the guy drafted lower has a high value and should be traded. Perfect example is Price / Halak. The Habs are SURE that Price is the real thing. They used a 5th overall pick to get him. They’re so committed to the concept that he’s going to be a more consistent goaltender that they’ll practically give away a guy who got them to the third round for another bluechip forward. I don’t disagree with the logic, but I still think these guys are a little fundamentalist about it. This also explains how Ottawa can call up Mike Brodeur, see him allow only one goal in two games, and then never, ever play him again. They have no investment in the guy, so why play him? Get your expensive pooch in the game, get him where he needs to be, because you believe he has a higher ceiling and will ultimately help you win.
Which is to say that Elliott has provided crazy good ROI for such a late draft pick, and considering that he’ll re-sign for less than $1M should probably be kept in the fold as long as possible. If he demands more, he won’t get it from any GM in the league – the market for goalies is too competitive, and he hasn’t ever played lights out. And besides, he’s an RFA, so if he’s going anywhere it’s because we trade him, or because someone signs him to an offer sheet. And who the hell would give up draft picks for Elliott? He’s a very good, and cheap, tandem goalie. But he’s probably not a starter.
RESPONSE THE SECOND:
James will remember me saying even before we saw a Finals with two teams using beach chairs in net that I’m in favor of signing twelve guys on two-way contracts and making them compete rather than the whole $4M “bona fide #1!” who may or may not work out. Meaning, the market for Vokoun will be crazy next year, and if Ottawa wants to get into it they’ll probably have to put out big time – years, cash, it’ll be intense. And I don’t want to see them do it, as much as I like Vokoun and think he’d be mostly great.
If we wanted to have Thomas – who’s like 37 and making all kinds of dough and has a NTC and a million other reasons he won’t move – I’m sure Chiarelli would accept a 7th round pick just for the salary dump, even though Thomas is pretty legit when he’s on his game. They have a starter in Rask, and all kinds of cap problems. Problem is, they can’t take any salary back, so we’d have to use all our cap space this off season.
RESPONSE THE THIRD:
It’s all about expectations in this market, the number one driver of which is salary (see Kovalev, aka JUDAS). Sign a goalie for $4M and people will lose their minds when he allows the occasional softie. Sign a sound positional goalie who is completely unspectacular for $1.5M and spend your cash elsewhere, people will forget about it. They’ll still hate the goalie, but for the right reasons. They’ll just hate that high-priced forward you signed more.
Having said that, I think Ottawa has a complete boner for Lehner right now and he’ll get his shot. I think it’s a bad idea, but that’s what I think will happen. If they go after, say, a Brad Richards next year, maybe they’ll have to go with Ells / Lehner to save cash. If they don’t get anyone, I bet we see someone offloading their expensive, slumping starter on us for next to nothing.
RESPONSE THE FOURTH:
We got completely hosed in the Leclaire deal. I mean, absolutely no way in hell Murray could have known, and it looked sound enough at the time – starting goaltender and a 2nd round pick for a top six forward who we have unreasonable expectations of? Yes please – but they’re playing Vermette as a first line center in Columbus. He’s getting all the time and patience we never afforded him, and looks ok for it. It’s weird to think of all those years when we were braying at Muckler to trade Vermette at the deadline for a rental Gary Roberts or some shit and as soon as Murray is in: Vermette is outta here!
Guhhhhhh goaltending… To be honest, I’m not sure it really matters what we do with our goalie situation. Goalies are so unpredictable with what they put out. For all we know, Elliot could turn up the heat this year and knock everyone’s socks off. Maybe those flashes of brilliant leather are his real deal. Or maybe Mike Brodeur takes us to the finals… it’s all one big mystery.
All kidding aside though, we have to do something, so here’s what I say we do. Obviously do nothing about Leclaire, unless he comes back from injury and amazes us all. I really doubt that will happen, so let that contract dry up and wish him well, as he got a pretty shitty end of this deal as well. All the guy wanted to do was play. Second, I say we keep Elliot and let him and Lehner work things out. We should build up that defence, so they’re feared for all aspects possible of a defensive game. Did we not use the 2nd round pick acquired in the Leclaire trade, for Lehner? If so, aces. That kid will give us as good of a chance as someone like Vokoun would, due to the randomness of goaltending. The sooner we get him in there, the better. I think he’ll be fine in there next year, as long as we don’t ice a crap defence. I really want to see Alfie hoist that cup, and if Elliot can’t help him get it, someone needs to. Why not give Lehner that shot? I ‘m really skeptical of big contracts for goalies, which is something we’d probably have to give for Vokoun. Really don’t think a veteran goalie is what we need. I’ve always thought Emery gave us our best chance in net. Too bad he turned out to be such a norton.
Still diggin the blog, enjoying a few bottles of Newky Brown before the game. Cheers to you all.
Hey dude, thanks for reading, and for commenting. I agree that chucking a bag of money in some veterans lap ain’t gonna work. Problem is that the market for UFA defencemen isn’t much better next year. (Knowing Murray, he’ll probably offer Nick Lidstrom 3 years, $5.5M a year.) There isn’t really a way to upgrade our defence, other than to let some of our prospects take a crack at it. Which, in combination with Lehner, basically makes for an AHL team on the back end.
Aaaaaaaah, I dunno. What is Prusek doing these days, anyway? Let’s fly him over.
You’re killin’ it Yessi.