Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Florida: 1 Maple Leafs: 3

Is just about how I tally this year's transactions between the two teams. The point Florida gained? The Bryan McCabe trade of course.

his last effort as a Maple Leaf was making Florida look good in
a trade, which would be fitting if it wasn't so damn depressing.

So what's the score breakdown? Well I'd put it at:

Kilger/ 3rd Round Pick: Advantage Leafs
Belak/ 5th Round Pick: Advantage Leafs
Bryan McCabe + 4th Round Pick/ Mike Van Ryn: Advantage Panthers
Bryan McCabe + 4th Round Pick/ Mike Van Ryn: Advantage Leafs

Why would I ever think getting rid of a draft pick is a good idea for a rebuilding team, and why does Florida even benefit from picking up our garbage? Well...

Florida Gains:
Bryan McCabe, a guy I believe still has some offense left in him and an NHL veteran used to eating up minutes. If Bouwmeester can cover up for him in his own end the way Kaberle used to then Florida's on it's way to a decent top pair and a capable offense that doesn't need to play Jokinen on the point on the power play any more.

McCabe also has some built up chemistry in the locker room with buddy and over all good guy Wade Belak, and potentially Chad Kilger should he ever return from the wilderness. Plus, though Martin may come to regret this, there's stability built into McCabe's deal. McCabe is likely loathe to want to move again, and has family in Florida to root him there as well as a friend. Martin was also probably the only GM in the NHL who even considered trading for the guy. Martin has a top-pairing defenseman for the next 3 years, regardless of how the Panthers fare in the standings.

They also got a fourth round pick in 2010 from the Leafs, which is pure gold.

Panthers Lose:
Van Ryn, a guy with potential to be a steady 40 point dman whose career has been set back by injury and circumstance. Really the Panthers aren't hurting for depth on the defensive end after the Jokinen trade, so losing Van Ryn and gaining McCabe is still likely a move up in skill level without the team regressing in other areas.

Leafs Gain:
Van Ryn, a potential 40 point dman who will probably play better defense with no wrists than McCabe ever did. With Van Ryn we get insurance heading out of camp if Cola is injured or if Frogren or Stralman don't progress to the NHL level like we might hope. Also Ian White sucks, and he better be our 7th or in the Marlies next season. If Van Ryn does well enough throughout the season then we have the depth to finally be a seller at the trade deadline, which will hopefully at least yield us back that 4th rounder.

Leafs Lose:
Bryan McCabe. And let me be the 4,000th to say, Thank the Lord. In McCabe we lose a 1st pairing power play defenseman on a team that already has one (Kubina) younger, cheaper, more physical, and on the upswing in terms of his point curve. Regardless of how we felt about Bryan's play, he was one-dimensional, redundant and old on a team that needs youth and an emphasis on defensive responsibility.

A 4th round draft selection in 2010. Unfortunately GMs knew the kind of situation the Leafs were in with McCabe and so weren't willing to simply take the guy off our hands. A fourth rounder is hopefully something we can recoup later on with a trade of one of our defensive depth players.

At the end of the day the Leafs were never going to add anybody significant to their roster for McCabe, he's old, coming off a very poor year in terms of production. Plus Toronto might as well have tarred him and feathered him with a big sign on his back that read "Honk if you love blowing games in overtime" for emphasis. Which, to most of us, is pretty awesome.

The advantage the Leafs gain is not by adding Van Ryn, but in what is left in McCabe's absence. The Leafs gain about 2mil in cap room next year, and more over the next 2 if Van Ryn leaves later on. 2-5 million might not seem large in today's NHL but it gives us room to hold onto our core guys once they hit contract years a little down the stretch. It also frees up 20 minutes a night on our blue line, to be distributed however way Ron Wilson sees fit, but ultimately frees up space over the next 3 years for guys like Stralman, Schenn, and Vorobiev should he ever fly over.

That 4th round pick we lost with McCabe gives us more time and space to sign and play the guys that were identified as people we want to keep within the organization, and so in my mind is worth the expense. Much more so than, say, a 5th for Ryan Hollweg to dance around in our locker room.

Also, DGB over on his great Leafs blog started up a pretty good discussion about McCabe's priorities and commitment to winning when the details of McCabe's decision came to light. Some great comments there, just adding my two cents: McCabe's priorities aren't out of whack as a person or even an employee, everyone works in order to better suit themselves and their families. However, when it boils down to it, McCabe's obligation as an athlete to this team and this city was to compete and play with desire every game, regardless of the state of his personal life. If he'd simply performed instead of getting comfortable with mediocrity then he never would have had to move his family in the first place. McCabe has every right to look out for his family, we as fans have every right to feel frustrated over his attitude to his commitments.

1 comment:

Chemmy said...

Bryan McCabe + 4th Round Pick/ Mike Van Ryn: Advantage Panthers
Bryan McCabe + 4th Round Pick/ Mike Van Ryn: Advantage Leafs

That's some three point shootout math right there.