Saturday, August 30, 2008

Meszaros Deal Another Step Back For Ottawa

This trade might end up being worse than Pavol Demitra to St. Louis for Christer Olsson.

The Senators lose another promising young player for what amounts to filler.

Filip Kuba on the number one power play unit? A first round pick that is certain to be in the mid to late twenties (originally San Jose's 1st rounder)?

Imagine if the Senators had given up on defenseman like Anton Volchenkov or Chris Phillips, both of whom struggled early on in their careers?

Meszaros didn't even sign the big deal that everyone was expecting. 6 years at $4 million per season. Not exactly a cap-buster.

The Senators basically paid the money and time to develop a bonafide NHL player who has skills that any team would covet and then let him walk for substantially inferior players like Kuba who is on the downward trajectory of his unremarkable and anonymous career.

The Ottawa Senators are now a one line team with no elite defenseman and without a number one goalie.

How did this happen?

The overall talent level of the Senators hasn't been this low since 96-97 when they squeaked into the playoffs thanks to a Steve Duchesne goal in the last minute of the final game of the regular season.

The Senators no longer have anyone who is even in the same league as Steve Duchesne in their current defense roster. And this was the team that went to the Cup finals only two years ago.

It is almost inconceivable that GM Bryan Murray would let his two top offensive defenseman go in one off-season but the new reality is that the Senators may be lucky to even compete with teams like the Lightning, the Panthers, and the Bruins who are all much better off thanks to contributions from Ottawa (Lightning-Meszaros, Panthers - Stillman, Bruins - Chara).

This is definitely a case of "don't know what you got until it's gone".

In a league that is more and more trending towards skill and puck movement, the Senators are regressing in a confusing and muddled direction.


Andrew said...

So your position is that we should have over-paid a player who had a strong rookie year, and then two relatively weak seasons thereafter? That doesn't exactly sound like a winning proposition either.

The Sens are a victim of their own success in a lot of ways - they've lost a lot of big time talent in the last few years - true - but look at the money being played to those departed players now - we'd be miles over the salary cap.

Anonymous said...

Don't panic, man. Kuba put up slightly lower numbers than Mez last year while playing for a train wreck of a team. I think Kuba + 1st would almost be worth it just based on Mez's attitude. Philips and the A-Train struggled at the start as well, but neither held out and demanded to be the highest paid DMan on the team. They both EARNED their respective salaries, and as a result turned out the way they did. I believe if you pay someone based on potential, they tend to lose some of the spark that drives them to be better.

Picard could have incredible upside as well. Mez flourished very early don't forget. Most D Men take time, and end up being big surprises.

I also believe that now more than ever Murray is not finished.


Jeremy Milks said...

I'm saying you pay for potential instead of past success which seems to be the new model around the league. Young players are being given big contracts based on what teams project them to be two or three seasons down the line.

The Lightning made a great move and unloaded Kuba who can now walk away from the Senators after just one season. Picard and the pick are nice window dressings but none of those assets are guaranteed to be any better than Meszaros will be.

I understand having to let players go due to salary, but sometimes you have to overpay for what you don't have.

Maybe Meszaros doesn't work out and Murray uses that expected late round first pick to snag a better player.

But he won't be here to help Alfie, Heatley and Spezza this season.

To me, that's a step back.

Anonymous said...

i think you might be the only person in the city who liked meszaros.

6 more years of him? god help us.

'sometimes you have to overpay for what you don't have'?

you mean like when we thought emery was gonna be our franchise goalie and gave him 3 million/year after 1 good season? meszaros had one good season too, and it was 3 years ago.

Andrew said...

"I'm saying you pay for potential instead of past success which seems to be the new model around the league. Young players are being given big contracts based on what teams project them to be two or three seasons down the line."

Who cares what the "new model around the league" is - it's a pretty terrible model, IMO - for every young player you take a gamble on, overpay and end up getting a good deal on there is probably a player who ends up flopping after one good season.

In 90% of the cases the mantra should be: pay for success. Paying for potential should be the exception, not the rule.

nate. said...

I think Sens fans should be mildly pleased with how Murray handled this situation. Its just a bad situation for the Sens and the entire league players like mike commodre and jeff finger signing gargantuan contracts- i mean what did we really expect with mezaros.

Filip Kuba is not much of a downgrade at all in the short term from mezaros and like andrew said he came from a pretty bad situation in tampa. I wouldnt be surprised if he puts up similar numbers to mezaros but this really depends on the play of Shubert and/or Brian Lee, whoever does become his partner. This is ALOT better than losing him to an offer sheet.
Another 4.5 million+ added to the salary cap issues we already have would ensure that the team has no room for adjustments of any kind come trade deadline time. Imo it seems like kuba is a good enough guy to sign on for another year- perhaps for even less given that he expressed interest in playing in ottawa to Murray.
While I agree that the model of signing young players to lengthy contracts is a successful one i dont think it applies to all teams in every situation-particularily ottawa given that we have minimal cap space as it is and have several other players signed to similar contracts. Obviously it is distressing to see that the blue line will not be close to what it once was, but it would be wiser to see just what needs adjusting as the season progresses.