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Goaltending options and their impact on rosters - or - Playing with Capgeek



Everyone is enjoying the pleasures of Capgeek now (and many thanks to BSH for promoting the use of it with the roster contest) and seeing beyond the "Gee, Bryz is great, Comcast has money, just sign him and we win the Cup!"  So in the effort to continue the conceptualization, I present three possible alternatives.  First, if we assume that Holmgren comes up lame in the coming weeks, and makes no moves at all, what would the roster look like?  Second, if Homer does in fact sign Bryzgalov, what moves can the organization make to still be competitive?  (And yes, I realize this one may be beating a dead horse, but it should be included for comparison.)  Then lastly, if Bryzgalov walks, what options does the team have to improve via trades and free agency?

THE STAND-PAT OPTION

Realistically, there's almost always some turnover in your lineup from year to year (unless you're the Red Wings, who seem to have the same players from 1990 and somehow keep winning).  But let's just say that all the other GMs decide that Paul Holmgren has cooties, and refuse to deal with him; ditto for all the free agents.  Could the team field (ice?) a competitive squad for 2011-12?  Comfortingly, the answer is yes.

CAPGEEK.COM CAP CALCULATOR

FORWARDS
Scott Hartnell ($4.200m) / Daniel Briere ($6.500m) / Kris Versteeg ($3.083m)
James Van Riemsdyk ($1.654m) / Claude Giroux ($3.750m) / Jeff Carter ($5.272m)
Andreas Nodl ($0.950m) / Mike Richards ($5.750m) / Darroll Powe ($0.800m)
Tom Sestito ($0.677m) / Blair Betts ($0.700m) / Daniel Carcillo ($1.075m)
Jody Shelley ($1.100m)

DEFENSEMEN
Kimmo Timonen ($6.333m) / Braydon Coburn ($3.200m)
Chris Pronger ($4.921m) / Matt Carle ($3.437m)
Andrej Meszaros ($4.000m) / Erik Gustafsson ($0.900m)
Oskars Bartulis ($0.600m)

GOALTENDERS
Sergei Bobrovsky ($1.750m) / Brian Boucher ($1.000m)

CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $62,400,000; CAP PAYROLL: $61,654,988; BONUSES: $1,700,000
CAP SPACE (22-man roster): $745,012

The Briere line obviously loses the talents of Ville Leino, but adding Versteeg - who is a pretty decently balanced player, with some defensive ability as well - shouldn't adversely affect their performance too much.  JVR continues to get great linemates in Giroux and Carter; I actually envision this as the team's top scoring line, regardless of any other moves.  Richards' line is now purely defense, as neither Nodl nor Powe are expected to score.  And Betts' linemates have some scoring potential, and in fact could be interchangeable on Richie's line at need to provide grit instead of shutdown defense.  The only UFA signing is Boucher; Powe, Nodl, and Sestito (already signed) the only RFAs.  Could this team win the Cup?  Well, if you thought this season's team had a chance, then yes (and I would agree).  Does it have that extra oomph?  Nope.

 

THE BRYZGALOV OPTION

So if we assume that Holmgren is under the gun from Snider to sign Ilya Bryzgalov because the 'team needs a number-one goalie', that has considerable cap implications.  Basically, the lowest cap hit number anyone feels is reasonable to assume for Bryz is around $5.25m a season - which is basically about $5m more than the team has to spend.  So, in this scenario, replacement players are needed to cover spots lost to cap casualties.

CAPGEEK.COM CAP CALCULATOR

FORWARDS
Mikkel Boedker ($2.500m) / Jeff Carter ($5.272m) / Anthony Stewart ($2.250m)
James Van Riemsdyk ($1.654m) / Claude Giroux ($3.750m) / Scottie Upshall ($2.250m)
Tom Sestito ($0.677m) / Mike Richards ($5.750m) / Kris Versteeg ($3.083m)
Andreas Nodl ($0.950m) / Blair Betts ($0.700m) / Darroll Powe ($0.800m)
Cody McCormick ($0.850m)

DEFENSEMEN
Kimmo Timonen ($6.333m) / Braydon Coburn ($3.200m)
Chris Pronger ($4.921m) / Matt Carle ($3.437m)
Andrej Meszaros ($4.000m) / Erik Gustafsson ($0.900m)
Oskars Bartulis ($0.600m)

GOALTENDERS
Ilya Bryzgalov ($5.250m) / Sergei Bobrovsky ($1.750m)

CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $62,400,000; CAP PAYROLL: $60,879,988; BONUSES: $1,700,000
CAP SPACE (22-man roster): $1,520,012

I admit - getting both Briere and Hartnell moved is a VERY tall order for Mr. Holmgren, but since I already have Geoff's promise to wear a pro-Homer t-shirt in this eventuality, I see Holmgren making every effort for such adulation.  IN short, both players would be moved in salary dumps for lesser lights.  Briere goes to Winnipeg for Stewart, Hartnell (and maybe Leighton) goes to Phoenix for Boedker, and McCormick and Upshall are UFA signings after Shelley and Walker are traded for wet sanitary napkins.  More realistic perhaps would be moving one or the other of Hartnell or Briere, but then keeping Bob is nearly impossible - and the only way Bryz can hang is if his games-per-season drops each year.

 

THE ALL-NEW, ALL-THE-TIME OPTION

Some people insist that blowing up the roster is needed, since the team did SO poorly last season.  Reactionary - yes.  Unlikely - perhaps not.  If we consider that Holmgren is under pressure to get a goalie, but Bryzgalov may be unattainable, then some real wheel-and-deal may be in the works.

CAPGEEK.COM CAP CALCULATOR

FORWARDS
Scott Hartnell ($4.200m) / Daniel Briere ($6.500m) / Jakub Voracek ($2.275m)
James Van Riemsdyk ($1.654m) / Claude Giroux ($3.750m) / Scottie Upshall ($2.250m)
Simon Gagne ($2.750m) / Mike Richards ($5.750m) / Sean Bergenheim ($2.000m)
Tom Sestito ($0.677m) / Blair Betts ($0.700m) / Arron Asham ($0.700m)
Jody Shelley ($1.100m) / Darroll Powe ($0.825m)

DEFENSEMEN
Kimmo Timonen ($6.333m) / Braydon Coburn ($3.200m)
Chris Pronger ($4.921m) / Erik Gustafsson ($0.900m)
Andrej Meszaros ($4.000m) / Jack Hillen ($1.200m)
Oskars Bartulis ($0.600m)

GOALTENDERS
Sergei Bobrovsky ($1.750m) / Tomas Vokoun ($3.700m)

CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $62,400,000; CAP PAYROLL: $61,736,428; BONUSES: $1,700,000
CAP SPACE (23-man roster): $663,572

Gutted indeed.  The oft-mentioned Carter to Columbus trade goes through, netting Voracek and the rights to Upshall.  Carle goes to the Islanders for the rights to Hillen and a pick.  Bergenheim and Gagne share moving costs, and pick up Vokoun on the way (hence his generosity in his contract).  Asham returns to Philly where the GED classes are easier than in Pittsburgh.

 

So there you have it.  Three very different options, with three very different teams.  The first creates a more typical NHL lineup, with two scoring lines, a shutdown defense line, and an energy line.  It also retains all the defense and goalies that allowed 2.63 goals per game against last season - only good for 11th in the league.  The second lineup brings in a top-flight goalie, and basically eliminates the HBL line.  There's a couple of fliers on wing, and the difficulty level in assembling this lineup is absurdly hard, but this is the 'ideal' option.  Odds are that this will be impossible to accomplish.  The last version just has Holmgren blowing up the lineup for the sake of change; trading Carter and Carle but not getting Bryzgalov anyway.  It does see Vokoun arrive, and one decent defenseman with one RFA winger, but the remainder of the lineup is merely placeholders - you could substitute any mix of other players around the league for similar results.  Short story on this: not appealing to me, since you're sacrificing all your forward continuity for a few years of slightly-better (maybe) goaltending.

SO, my advice to Paul Holmgren comes from George W. Bush (although I feel dirty doing so): STAY THE COURSE.  The team made a committment to strength down the middle, and has four top-flight centers.  Unless you can move the oldest and most expensive one, don't do it - it won't be worth it.  The defense played exceptionally well, with every defenseman landing in the top-20 in one defensive category or another except for Pronger, who was injured.  (And contrary to popular opinion, Matt Carle was in the top 20 for blocked shots in the league; his salary is pretty reasonable for his skills.)  Bobrovsky may not be ready for a full NHL campaign yet, but that is NO reason to hit the panic button and ditch him.  And the cost of making some of the moves popular in the media would be catastrophic.

This item was written by a member of this community and is not necessarily endorsed by <em>Broad Street Hockey</em>.

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