Saturday, August 9, 2008

I hate you, Bryan McCabe

pictured here: Paragons of uselessness

Though this time it isn't because your idea of taking the man is poking at him with your stick from behind the goal line when he has an open net. It's not because you're a whiner, or a connoisseur of apologetic excuse making. It's not because of your stupid facial hair or shit-eating grin.

I hate you today because you're making me a liar.

I knew that, if I said you weren't moving long enough, you'd see your way out to spite me. Now that your stance is weakened, the end result is inevitable. You're like some poor unsuspecting victim at a bar, someone asks you to go grab a slice of pizza and after a while you go "Well, I suppose I am a little peckish" and then before you know it you wake up in some hellhole in Connecticut surrounded by Darcy Tucker jerseys. Your plane ticket's already been paid for, first class, because we like to treat our guys right while threatening to not play them.

I think the better question now is, who the hell even wants him?

mf37's Toronto Maple Leafs blog had an excellent piece covering the issue a few weeks ago, the market has changed a little bit since then so let's take a look:

The Variables

Location: McCabe still gets to choose where he goes, and then it all comes down to whether or not those specific teams are interested. Garth Snow is, for the first time in his life, playing hardball with the Leafs over the McCabe issue. Good for him, but like a retarded stepchild he's picking the exact wrong time to try out this exciting new concept. This is a team that had Bryan Berard and Marc-Andre Bergeron as it's first power play unit. Mark Streit's only one half of a pair, and well, we'll see how much of his production was a product of Montreal's system, as Souray didn't do so well his first year out.

I'm going to assume McCabe is not a total asshat (a stretch, I know) and say that family is very important to him, and that he'll want to stay close to New York or southern Ontario.

Cap room: Now, Fletcher's already gone on record saying we may have to take some salary back, this isn't a salary dump as the market probably won't allow that. This actually supposedly gives us a wider range of teams, as individual cap space isn't an issue.

Need: Free agent frenzy's over, and a lot of teams have addressed their needs on D. While the Boyle trade let us know that it's entirely possible to sign a contract with a no-trade and get traded immediately, not all teams are undergoing an ownership change.

That makes our potentials: New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators. Not too different from mf37's list, it's true. I didn't include Atlanta because, well, Georgia's a lot closer to Florida than it is to Rhode Island or the GTA, and if we include them we might as well include Tampa and Florida*.

The Islanders signed Streit, but still have loads of space and the need for a power play defensemen. The question is whether Wang will allow his team to spend higher, and if Snow will soften on his demands for a 1st rounder. I kind of doubt that either is likely knowing the Islanders.

The Sabres need a good powerplay dman and have the cap room to make anything possible. However, just re-signing Numminen fills up their roster slots and with guys like Sekera, Weber, and Gragnani looking to crack the line-up I think we'd have to take at least one bad dman back in order to make any trade remotely possible.

New Jersey's interesting, losing Rafalski hurt them a great deal, but they're right up against the cap. Their d-corps is modest, but their forward core is actually fairly expensive, with 8 guys out of 12 being paid at least $2.5 mil. With some of those guys being 35 year old John Madden, and 37 year old Bobby Holik, I can see some moves being made to allow a guy like Bryan in. Whether or not they want him at all is a better question.

The Rangers are out of the picture with the Redden signing and the amount of money they've invested in their vets; I can't conceive of a deal that would work and they have a solid enough core.

Ottawa's another interesting choice, they have space to do whatever they want and just lost Redden, but guys like Meszaros and Lee are supposed to be stepping up. I think the biggest impediment to this deal is the fact that I can't understand why a team that saw 8 games of Bryan McCabe last year would want him.

Oh Fuck We're Probably Keeping Him Anyway Aren't We

The Islanders are going to remain the front-runners in this discussion, the circumstances are too perfect for them not to. Looking up and down a list I can see Buffalo, Ottawa, or Jersey also receiving some consideration, though the deal would likely be epic.

I'd say the market for a $5mil broken, old defenseman whose peak was two years ago is pretty slim, especially when he gets to choose the region his team would be in. I'm still optimistic that the deal will work itself out by the start of the season, but this list exercise was depressing in it's limitations. Just stop being a dick, Garth Snow.

*rumours of a McCabe to Florida trade have gone around despite being tremendously dumb. With Bouwmeester likely to leave Florida will need a good point shot, but the location works against this. With Belak McCabe's at least got someone to talk to, but I'm putting this into the 'no' category until McCabe proves me wrong again and accepts a trade to Los Angeles.


Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

it really blows my mind how quick this guy's stock has fallen in the eyes of leafs fans. in 2006/2007, with andrew "the human sieve" tending goal for the leafs, mccabe finished a +3 and put up 15 goals and 42 assists for 57 points in 82 games. in 06/07 when he went down with an injury, the leafs lost 8 in a row and essentially blew their playoff hopes.

yes, he was awful last year, and his contract is pretty brutal, but it amazes me how everyone wants to dump this guy for a pack of juicy fruit...

Chemmy said...

Hey wait a minute, I live in a Connecticut hellhole surrounded by Darcy Tucker jerseys. :(

Scott Baker said...

@ eyebleaf

I think it's more of a case of being easy to look over someone's shortcomings when they're successful, kind of like Emery over in Ottawa. I think McCabe will make some other team very happy, and I believe that if we kept him it wouldn't be the end of the world either.

The knives have come out but they come out for anyone in Toronto that makes themselves distinct from the pack. With all the changes we've made and the idea Sundin isn't coming back McCabe has become symbolic of the overpaid, underperforming Toronto team we've come to know and groan over. People are tired of the ref baiting, stupid penalties, undisciplined play, and the blaming of injuries and circumstance vs. taking responsibility for your actions.

The fact that any of us can be remotely comfortable with the moves the Leafs have made in the past months speaks to the idea that we'd rather see honest, hard working guys out there than talented assholes. McCabe is the biggest asshole left in the bunch.

@ chemmy

What a coincidence... :)