Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Centreman front and Center, Man

I think JR has to make a move in the coming days to bring in a centerman to run the second line. Matt Cullen is still suffering from Marty Feldman Syndrome and the remaining cast of depth centermen are at best NHL/AHL tweeners. Most of the top-named centers who are reported to be on the block are prohibitively expensive. If they even get traded at all, Sundin, Jokinen, Richards and/or Marleau will likely end up on deep pocketed teams in a position to sell their sell their souls for that one player they think will put them over the top.

The Sens are reportedly looking for a top-two line forward. The Canes might be in a position to offer them Erik Cole. If he is still held in high regard by Bryan Murray and the Ottawa head shed, I'd pull the trigger on this deal. The Sens would finally get the guy they have coveted since the Marty Havlat days. Cole and Cory Stillman on the second line. Sounds great.

In return, I'd want Antoine Vermette and a prospect or second round pick. Vermette would be an instant upgrade at center over Trevor Letowski and Keith Aucoin-maybe even over a healthy Matt Cullen. This is a guy whose star is on the rise in this league, and as much as the Sens might want to keep him, he's a pending RFA on a team where he has to compete for ice time with Chris Kelly and Mike Fisher (and the Sens have already invested in a long-term deal with Fisher). Antoine is an aggressive young centerman who wins faceoffs and plays a high tempo game on the attack and on defense.

The move would provide the Canes with instant liquidity as they swap Cole's $4 mil contract for Vermette's $1 mil. Such a flush of cap space might open the door to the Canes swinging a deal to bring in a big physical blueliner like C/B Hall of Famer, Aaron Ward.

As good as this all sounds to me in the cozy confines of my fertile mind, my Spidey Sense tells me to look out for a deal involving Mike Comrie if the Isles appear out of contention. How many times has Mikey the Homewrecker turned Pop Star Despoiler been rumored to be on JR's tradar? Maybe as many times as Joe Corvo? Just sayin'.

1 comment:

DrFrankLives said...

Ruutu for Ladd?

Too high a price.

I think JR got taken on this one.