Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Martin Havlat not long for Ottawa?

If you subscribe to the theory of where there’s smoke there’s fire, then Martin Havlat’s days in a Senators uniform may be numbered.

The suspended speedster, who Bobby Clarke still seems to have on his shitlist, seems to be the hottest property in the NHL right now. Why that is, I don’t know. There’s no denying his talent, but there are a handful of comparable players in the league. Yet if you believe the rumor mill, GMs are fighting over themselves to acquire Havlat.

Some have mentioned that because he’ll be a restricted free agent at the end of this year, Havlat will have to be moved. The Sens will likely make re-signing unrestricted defencemen Wade Redden and Zdeno Chara their top priorities and you could probably estimate where they’ll be on the pay scale. Jason Spezza will also need a new contract, and though he’ll be restricted and can’t leave, you have to think that if they don't give him a Rick Nash-like longterm deal, and instead once again try to sign him to a lower paying one-year contract, some other team will send an offer sheet his way.

While we don’t know where the cap will be, even if we assume if goes up by a couple million, the Senators will still be up against it. Thus, some have theorized that Havlat will be the odd man out.

The idea of moving Martin Havlat may not be a new one, by the way. There were reports that during this past offseason, when the Marian Hossa contract talks weren’t going well, that they were close to moving Havlat to the Hurricanes for Erik Cole. Alas, they traded Hossa to Atlanta for Dany Heatley instead (and by the way, how you liking the ATL Marian?). Moving Havlat was not longer necessary.

It’s since heated up again.

”Code”, who looks to be cut from the same cloth as the infamous Eklund, is reporting that the Senators and Minnesota Wild have been in talks to deal wingers, with Havlat going to Minnesota for Marian Gaborik. Sadly, I’m not a member of his site’s “insider” forum (I know, I know, how will I ever exist), so I can’t say what he says in the promised elaboration, but we can probably assume it’s a lotta nonsense. Gaborik’s had injury problems all season and will also be up for a new contract soon.

Meanwhile, over in Edmonton, GM Kevin Lowe has apparently set his sights on “Mach 9” as a remedy to save the sinking ship that has become the Oilers. This has led to both Oilers fans and Sens fans to throw names around about who would come this way. Ryan Smyth, Raffi Torres, Radek Dvorak, Ales Hemsky, Jason Smith. You name them, they’re on their way to Ottawa.

And finally, this afternoon on The Team 1200’s drivetime show, a rumor coming out of New York was brought up: Havlat to the Rangers for Martin Rucinsky, Tom Poti, and Dominic Moore. Nevermind that, with the salary cap now in place, this move makes zero sense. Combined those three players make close to $6 million, while Havlat only takes up $2.6 million of cap space. For hockey reasons, it’s a difficult deal to justify as well. Though Rucinsky would give the Sens a natural left winger who can score, something they’ve been without since they traded Shawn McEachern to Atlanta for Brian Pothier after the 2001 season, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Tom Poti has played like shit in New York this season and is in head coach Tom Renney’s doghouse as we speak. Why inherite that headache? As for Moore, though he’s a promising young player, he’s not exactly a bluechipper.

If you read this blog regularly, you’d realize, based on how few of them I talk about, that I’m not a big rumor guy, but when are this many, you have to at least acknowledge them.

That said, I’m not holding my breath waiting for a trade of this magnitude.

Even if the Senators are down on Havlat right now because of the embarrassming kicking incident, I find it hard to believe they’re listening to many offers. Even if they have resigned themselves to the fact that they’ll have a hard time bringing Havlat back for next year due to the financial restraints of the salary cap, would it not make more sense to just hold onto Havlat for this year, when it looks like they’ll have their best shot at the Cup with this core group anyway, since he’s a pretty good goal scorer?

Still, all this talk might make you wonder…

3 Comments:

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Matt said...

An Oilers fan? Take that back!!! I demand satisfaction!

btw, I agree that the Sens would be lunatic right to trade Havlat because of either (A) cap considerations OR (B) his ball-kicking incident.

 
At 8:37 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

If we assume that both Chara and Redden sign below the 'Alfredsson cap' that would mean more than 18 million allocated to Alfredsson, Heatley, Chara and Redden. if Spezza continues to perform and ends up with 30 goals and 90 points, he might be demanding in the $4 million range too. Now we are pushing $22 million for 5 players. Smolinski, Philips, Fisher, Volchenkov and Varada are already signed for a combined $6.75 million so for a total of $29 million to 10 players. If you have 10 more players (for 20 total) at $500,000 you are already at $34 million. That doesn't leave much left to resign Havlay and a goaltender (Hasek or someone else). I am sure they will try to dump Smolinski which would save $2.2 million but will there be any takers?

And even if the salary cap rises there are doubts that Eugene Melnyk would even choose to increase their payroll and sustain more losses. The Senators are still experiencing pretty dismal season ticket sales.

 
At 11:40 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

If we assume that both Chara and Redden sign below the 'Alfredsson cap' that would mean more than 18 million allocated to Alfredsson, Heatley, Chara and Redden. if Spezza continues to perform and ends up with 30 goals and 90 points, he might be demanding in the $4 million range too. Now we are pushing $22 million for 5 players. Smolinski, Philips, Fisher, Volchenkov and Varada are already signed for a combined $6.75 million so for a total of $29 million to 10 players. If you have 10 more players (for 20 total) at $500,000 you are already at $34 million. That doesn't leave much left to resign Havlay and a goaltender (Hasek or someone else).

Pretty much.

I am sure they will try to dump Smolinski which would save $2.2 million but will there be any takers?

Smolinski's salary cap hit is less than that. They tried to move him in the offseason with no success.

The Senators are still experiencing pretty dismal season ticket sales.

Which they make up for in walk ups. Ottawa's always been a walk up town when it comes to sports.

 

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