Monday, December 17, 2007

Would Patrick Marleau Be A Good Fit On Ottawa’s Second Line?

With the injury to Mike Fisher, it looks like Chris Kelly will get the chance to play with Daniel Alfredsson and Antoine Vermette on Ottawa’s revamped second line.

But long-term, is a healthy Mike Fisher and Kelly really the solution Ottawa is looking for?

I doubt it. In all honesty, Fisher isn’t consistent enough offensively to offer the secondary scoring that will be needed in the playoffs when teams target Jason Spezza for shutdown. Fisher is a valuable asset for the Senators, but probably best suited for a third line banging role.

Kelly is basically a penalty kill specialist and Vermette has never been consistent in the scoring department.

So it seems like a trade is necessary, especially after Ottawa could no longer afford the services of Mike Comrie who would probably be a perfect fit to play with Alfie on the second line right about now. Over in San Jose, the dilemma is the sub-par play of captain and number two centre Patrick Marleau. There all kinds of rumours that Marleau doesn’t get along with head coach Ron Wilson, especially after Wilson seemed to target Marleau for San Jose’s losses in recent playoffs.

Could a trade be worked out that would be beneficial to both teams? Probably, but it would mean that Ottawa would have to give up on one young roster player and a decent prospect.

So who would San Jose demand in a trade for Marleau? Probably Antoine Vermette and another young centre like Ilya Zubov or Alex Nikulin from Bingo. Or maybe even Patrick Eaves even though San Jose has plenty of wingers in the same mould. It’s entirely possible that Ottawa may try to offer Chris Kelly instead of Vermette because of Kelly’s contract situation but San Jose already has a player like Kelly in Mike Grier. They would definitely need someone with more offensive potential, and who on Ottawa is more synonymous with potential than Antoine Vermette?

In today’s Ottawa Sun, Bruce Garrioch talks about the chance that Vermette has to show his stuff with Fisher out of the lineup, but haven’t we heard that many times before?

Perhaps all Vermette needs to blossom into a scoring threat is better ice time and he would probably get that in San Jose taking over Marleau’s minutes.

On the other hand, Marleau would bring plenty of blazing speed to Ottawa and would seem like the perfect fit for a guy like Alfredsson.

But who really knows if such a deal is possible. Not too long ago, Marleau was considered the franchise player for the Sharks and letting him go would leave a contender a big hole to fill on their second line. Is Vermette worth a gamble for the Wilsons in San Jose?

We’ll see soon enough.


Matt said...

Marleau's contract could be an issue. He just signed a deal a cap hit of $6.3M per season. I don't think that's exactly what Murray would be looking for in a second line man.

Jeremy Milks said...

Good point Matt.

I'm not sure Ottawa would flinch taking on Marleau because it looks like Redden might be on the go and they have almost identical salaries.

Martin Gerber will probably be out the door as well come next season so that opens up ample room. But that is pricy for a second line centre.