Monday, January 4, 2010

The Contract Year Anomaly - The Pivots

Last but not least, we arrive at the most versatile position on the ice, the men who are held to be responsible offensively, as well as defensively. Yes that's right folks, we're talking about Centers.

Took me long enough right? Yeah, up yours.

Well I'll tell you one think I noticed when making up this fourth and final list, is the type of guy these centers are. They're commonly not your flashy superstars, they're you're grinding, everyman-type workhorse, rarely getting noticed, but contributing so much more than points or penalty minutes. Let's take a look shall we...

One-Year or Bust
Its hard to know whether these guys will be back for another year (or two) or whether they'll just hang 'em up, but they'll look for short-term deals to keep that flexibility. Damn, there's a lot of these guys this year.

Wila's waiting for me at home, I don't need this shit!
Mike Modano, C, DAL - $3.45mil - Modano's snub for this year's Olympic team could very well be the final insult. For the free-wheeling, leading American point-getter to not get a spot in a typically wide-open Olympic game (albeit in North America). He's already had the Captaincy taken away on the Stars, and has had to put up with the antics of Avery and Ott for too long.

Saku Koivu, C, ANA - $3.25mil - Saku's still got game in him, especially since connecting with countryman Teemu, who's also in a contract year. Their decisions will play off of one another, similar to previous years between Selanne and Niedermayer, who's also in a contract year. See the trend?

Craig Conroy, C, CAL - $1mil - Corduroy's getting long in the tooth, but he's a part of the glue in that Calgary locker room, I wouldn't be surprised to see Sutter ante up for at least another year.

Glen Metropolit, C, MTL - $1mil - Metropolit's another great glue guy in the locker room and on the bench. And he'll slap the shit out of anyone who says otherwise, or has a bullseye drawn on them.

Rob Niedermayer, C, NJD - $1mil - I guess anyone can thrive in a defensive system. And you're related to Scott.

Dean McAmmond, C, NJD - $500k - See what I mean? Except for the brother thing.

Doug Weight, C, NYI - $2.2mil - Isles will keep him because no one else will take their money. Unless you have bad hips or whine a lot and plan to move to Russia.

Robert Lang, C, PHX - $1mil - That achilles slice put his career in jeopardy, but Bobby's got too much grit not to get back in it. Smart signing for Phoenix, then and now.

Scott Nichol, C, SJS - $750k - Shrewd signing by Doug Murray to rebuild that 3rd line.

Manny Malhotra, C, SJS - $700k - See previous statement.

Jeff Halpern, C, TAM - $2mil - This is the anomaly. Just not this year.

Pavol Demitra, C, VAN - $4mil - I don't see anyone offering his groin more than a year, and I certainly expect Gillis to be done with him. KHL bound?

Brendan Morrison, C, WAS - $1.5mil - Supposedly he's had a resurgence in Washington, I don't see it. Not nearly the same player he was.

Blair Betts, C, PHI - $550k - You may not think so, but a guy like this is key to every team's success. He has quietly shown that he's not a throwaway on a team that has plenty of star power (just not showing it). Now he's not going to get paid a hefty sum, but he'll be paid at least double or triple what he's making now, and that's a deal for both parties involved.

John Madden, C, CHI - $2.75mil - Madden is the premiere defensive specialist in the league and ain't too shabby at taking draws either. I doubt if Chicago will have the space to keep him in the fold and he'll no doubt go to the highest bidder.

Don't try this anywhere.
Matthew Lombardi, C, PHX - $1.8mil - Lombardi is one of the reasons why Phoenix is coming together as a team. Again, this is a guy worth more than his point totals, he adds meat to a roster, but he's also putting up points too, now that he's got the ice time. Maloney will re-up if he gets the green light to spend.

I am part ape.
Olli Jokinen, C, CAL - $5.25mil - The only reason I throw the Orangutan on here is because I believe he will see a dramatic reduction in his pricetag. And yet, he and his agent will be looking for big numbers, and they may find it, on the Florida's and Phoenix's of the League. Calgary is none too pleased with the dividend from this move, and I fully expect him to be on his way out of town not being the fit the Sutter's thought they were looking for.

I'm going to take this puck and put it in the net.
Patrick Marleau, C, SJS - $6.3mil - Doug Wilson's loss is someone else's gain. This guy is what you want in a hockey player, and you won't have to spent 20% of your payroll to get him. 'Nuff said.

Odds and Ends
Steve Begin, C, BOS - $850k - There's a gap in between, where I end and you...
Adam Mair, C, BUF - $760k - Hard to see this guy playing anywhere else but Buffalo.
Brandon Prust, C, CAL - $500k - Utility guy in Calgary.
Matt Cullen, C, CAR - $2.875mil - Nobody looks good in Carolina this year.
Stephane Yelle, C, CAR - $550k - Boston's not the same without him.
Matt Hendricks, C, COL - $500k - Really impressed a lot folks in Denver.
Steve Ott, C, DAL - $1.425mil - Fucknut. Who wants him?
Toby Petersen, C, DAL - $550k - Working his way up the ranks.
Jason Williams, C, DET - $1.5mil - Seems like a lot for the return.
Mike Comrie, C, EDM - $1.25mil - Was returning to form before injury.
Dominic Moore, C, FLA - $1.1mil - Haven't heard him mentioned since he got traded to B-lo.
Kamil Kreps, C, FLA - $683k - Sounds like an STD.
Eric Belanger, C, MIN - $1.75mil - Another soldier in a faceless crowd.
Chris Higgins, C, NYR - $2.25mil - At least we got rid of Gomez.
Ryan Shannon, C, OTT - $600k - You stay classy.
Matt Stajan, C, TOR - $1.75mil - Whip cream on shit. Or is it the other way around?
Wayne Primeau, C, TOR - $1.4mil - Waaay too much money.
John Mitchell, C, TOR - $488k - Don Cherry is brokering a deal for him with Brian Burke.
Ryan Johnson, C, VAN - $1.1mil - More than likely replaceable.

Offer Sheet Bait
Bryan Little, C, ATL - $900k - Has played himself into a well-paying contract.
Vladimir Sobotka, C, BOS - $750k - Boston should have enough, right?
Dustin Boyd, C, CAL - $650k - Good depth player for a strong Calgary team.
Darren Helm, C, DET - 600k - Can't imagine Holland letting him go.
Sam Gagner, C, EDM - $1.625mil - Worth less than the guy below.
Andrew Cogliano, C, EDM - $1.13mil - Opportunity to step up in a lost season.
Marc-Antoine Pouliot, C, EDM - $825k - Arbitration Eligible - Injuries = playing time.
Ryan Potulny, C, EDM - $595k - See previous statement.
Gregory Campbell, C, FLA - $763k - Arbitration Eligible - Should get a better contract.
Nick Tarnasty, C, FLA - $525k - Arbitration Eligible - Shouldn't get a better contract.
Edward Purcell, C, LAK - $600k - Come on Teddy, step it up.
James Sheppard, C, MIN - $1.4mil - Hasn't he been on this team forever?
Andrew Ebbett, C, MIN - $500k - Arbitration Eligible - Ended up in purgatory.
Tom Pyatt, C, MTL - $850k - Habs have a hundred of these guys.
Maxim Lapierre, C, MTL - $688k - Arbitration Eligible - Supposedly good.
Marcel Goc, C, NSH - $550k - Trending downward.
Rodney Pelley, C, NJD - $550k - Arbitration Eligible - Lou?
Rob Schremp, C, NYI - $715k - Worked at Dunkin' Donuts last season.
Erik Christensen, C, NYR - $750k - Arbitration Eligible - Kicked around.
Peter Regin, C, OTT - $608k - You pooped in the fridge?
Jesse Winchester, C, OTT - $550k - Arbitration Eligible - Collect.
Darroll Powe, C, PHI - $520k - Pay up.
Peter Mueller, C, PHX - $1.7mil - Value's gone down.
Martin Hanzal, C, PHX - $980k - Not impressed.
Daniel Winnik, C, PHX - $600k - Him either.
Alexander Steen, C, STL - $1.7mil - Arbitration Eligible - Has played better, but...
Boyd Gordon, C, WAS - $761k - Take 'em or leave 'em.
Thomas Fleischmann, C, WAS - $725k - Arbitration Eligible - Will get more.
My mouth is always open.
Joe Pavelski, C, SJS - $1.638mil - Arbitration Eligible - I know he's a mouth-breather and all, but he's shown a lot more this season. He's got a hell of a shot, and his faceoff percentages have been getting better and better. He'll collect.
Sometimes, I look like a girl.
Nicklas Backstrom, C, WAS - $2.4mil - There's basically three guys on this team. One's signed for a shit ton, the second is in his contract year as well, and then you've got Backstrom. If Semin balks, let him walk, you want to keep Backstrom, he's only going to get better and better.
This is my best move.
Ryan Kesler, C, VAN - $1.75mil - Arbitration Eligible - I have no doubt that Gillis will get Kesler his contract. He's rounding out his game that already includes scoring, and pestering the shit out of the other team. Works nicely with the other signing(s) last summer.
Well, that's it, hopefully this will give us something to look at leading up to Canada Day, the most exciting day of the offseason. Looking forward to it.

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