Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Wild Nest Crowded - Big Decisions Ahead

I posted this on Russo's Rants originally, but there's no need to reinvent the wheel.

The bottom line is that DR has some tough decisions ahead as the Wild (hopefully) return to full health and we find ourselves over the 23 man limit.

Here's a rundown of the situation:

Lets do the math.

When we’re completely healthy we have 15 forwards: Belanger, Boogey, PMB, Demo, Fedoruk, Foy, Gaby, Koivu, Moore, Parrish, Radio, Rolston, Shep, SRV and Voros.

On defense we would have: Burns, Carney, Foster, Hill, Johnsson, Nummelin, Schultz and Skoula.

In goal we have Nik and Hards.

That’s 25 guys. You get 20 dressed (including 2 goalies) and 3 more on the roster as scratches, right? So a minimum of two need to go to Houston or elsewhere.

We generally have 6 defensemen and twelve forwards dressed for a game.

Up front, Belanger, PMB, Demo, Gaby, Koivu, Parrish, Rolston and Shep are givens.

That leaves four forward jobs to spread between Boogey, Fedoruk, Foy, Moore, Radio, SRV and Voros.

None of those guys can be sent back to Houston without going through waivers I believe (Voros just played his 11th game for us). Moore is the only natural center of the bunch, so he’s got that going for him. SRV has certainly endeared himself to JL (on balance) this season, so he’s got that going for him. Voros has darn near made himself indispensable so far, so he’s got THAT going for him. Radio’s been in la maison bow-wow already once, at least partially triggering the signing of Fedoruk who has been a pleasant surprise – though certainly not setting the ice on fire. Boogey has been well-chronicled here. He can add something to the game that no other player on our roster can, and, given the space to do so, is quite good at it. Whether or not he gets the space would appear to be the question – but perhaps it was the fact that his fate may have been taken out of the team’s hands in the first place that lead to us acquiring Fedoruk. Foy has produced sporadically, but not consistently, and even when he HAS produced it has not been enough to keep him in the lineup.

When you look at it like that, Boogey, Fedoruk, and Radio or Foy would appear to be the odd men out. But we only need to get rid of one of them. Among them, Foy is the cheapest by salary, Fedoruk by cap hit. Boogey is the most expensive by salary and cap hit. Fedoruk would be a poor-man’s Derek Boogaard by every measure that counts, but the difference he doesn’t have the target on his back that DB has – and he’s got more game.

But we’ve already talked about how hard DB will be to move. I still think this could add up to them risking sending him through waivers. That would still leave two tickets out of town unclaimed. If Boogey goes, Fedoruk stays. That alone leaves Radio and Foy in the cold. I’m okay with that. Those four jobs go to: SRV, Voros, Fedoruk and one of Radio or Foy (the other one gets moved).

So your twelve forwards are: Belanger, PMB, Demo, Gaby, Koivu, Parrish, Rolston, Shep, SRV, Voros, Fedoruk, Moore. (Boogey on waivers, Radio/Foy as scratches.)

On defense, Burns, Johnsson, Schultz and Skoula are apparently givens.

That leaves two defense jobs to spread between Carney, Foster, Hill and Nummelin.

Foster probably still has the most upside potential in that group, but Nummy’s probably the most versatile. The team seems to play better when Carney’s in the lineup, though and that speaks very loudly (at least to me). Hill has been fine, though to some extent you have to assume he’s not up to 100% game shape yet. We know he’s going to hit people, we know he’s going to lob a shot on goal here or there…the jury’s still out on him. One thing about Hill is that, while his salary is nice and low ($475k), his cap hit is $992k. Is there a team out there that’s willing to pay around $475k for Sean Hill? If you still believe you’re a playoff team I think you have to keep Carney. To some extent that mitigates Hill’s value if you have to cut one. I almost think Nummy might be the most attractive in the trade market. He’s also a UFA after this season which helps – especially because he’s almost half as expensive as Carney ($1.1M to $2.1M, respectively).

I think they risk Boogey on waivers and try to move either Radio or Foy. If they can find someone to take one of them, then you have whichever one isn’t traded taking up one of your three scratches. That means you can scratch 2 defensemen. That’s essentially where we are right now. If you can’t find a taker for either one, you have to move a defenseman. I think Nummy’s the most replaceable by the rest of the lineup, but I just don’t feel like he’s got a lot of trade value. If I was a GM I’d either want Carney for his Yoda-value, or Foster for his potential, of that group.

I’m now going to go take some aspirin.



Anonymous said...

Posted something like this there too, but I'll say it here.

Why keep Foy and get rid of Boogie?

Boogaard brings something to the team that nobody else does - he is a true enforcer.

On the otherhand, there isn't anything that Foy does that someone else does better. Foy was put on notice early on that while he got a spot on the club out of camp, he had to prove that he belonged. The team doesn't feel he can develop any further in the minors.

The first one out the door should be Foy. Boogaard and Fedoruk will rotate as scratches. When we need an enforcer, Boogie plays. When we don't Fedoruk plays. (Unless Fedoruk takes someone else's spot - in that case, replace Fedoruk with say... Radio in my scenario.)

Nick in New York said...

I don't like Foy at all. As I said in the piece, I would try to shop him or Radio.

I like Boogey too, and agree that he brings something that no one else can - which I wrote.

My point was more along the lines of: if we HAVE to make a roster move, then it makes sense to risk sending Boogey through the waiver wire because A) he's one dimensional and B) he's expensive enough that even a GM looking for an enforcer might not be willing to grab him.

I also don't think there are enough pure enforcers out there anymore to justify having one on our team - even one I readily admit I like.

Kirsten said...

WHY, WHY does Skoula have to be a given? Can he be given the boot? A very interesting post. I'm sure I'll have something more thoughtful to say on Saturday when I'm not cramming for two exams.