The mailbag’s a shorter one this week, what with the author also having to write the next cover story for The Hockey News magazine and all. But things will pick up about a month from now when we get back to our twice-weekly mailbag format, so keep your inquisitions coming to email@example.com.
Do you think the Blues could sign Brendan Shanahan? Also I have not liked the Blues’ off-season; they only really signed two players (Mike Weaver and Matt Foy). How do you rate their off-season?
Devan Sant, St. Louis
The Blues have the salary cap space to welcome Shanahan back into the fold, but for a few reasons – his wife loves Manhattan, the Rangers are much closer to being a playoff contender than St. Louis is – there’s little doubt his first choice is to re-sign with the Blueshirts.
That may yet come to pass, especially if you-know-who (hint: his name rhymes with Bats Fundeen and he doesn’t make any rash decisions) chooses to sign with a team other than the Rangers.
The Blues’ summer hasn’t been anywhere near as splashy as, say, Tampa Bay’s, or Chicago’s, or Edmonton’s. But given the still-developing state of St. Louis’ young cornerstone players, the 2008-09 season isn’t the ideal time for John Davidson & Co. to top up their roster with some productive and expensive veterans.
Instead, many presume they’ll be looking to the ’09-10 season, when Keith Tkachuk’s contract comes off the books and they’ll have close to $20 million in available cap room, to make their big move. And that’s the right way to do it, as it keeps expectations reasonable for now.
As a Canuck fan I was cautiously optimistic when Mike Gillis was hired to run the team. Now that we've had the summer to watch his moves I'm no longer optimistic. If (and I realize it's unlikely) Mats Sundin signed here for a cap hit of $10 million per year, how does Gillis expect to keep the Sedins and Mattias Ohlund after this year? It is pretty much impossible to keep Pavol Demitra, the Sedins, Roberto Luongo, our expensive defense, and Sundin for two years. Is there anyone who believes Sundin is worth two Sedins? Thanks,
Dan F., Langley, B.C.
I’m glad you realize Sundin signing with the Canucks is unlikely, because it is, in fact, exactly that.
Now, is Sundin still more of an impact player at this late stage in his career than either of the Sedins have demonstrated so far? I’d say yes.
However, would his presence turn Vancouver into anything more than a franchise good enough to squeak into the playoffs, but mediocre enough to get whipped in the first round? I’d say no.
The fact is, the Canucks are closer to having to re-shuffle their roster drastically than they are to augmenting it for a championship run. Nobody’s saying that can’t change in the next two or three seasons, but in the short term, the growing pains Vancouver fans are painfully accustomed to are likely to stick around.
Thanks for your time answering my question. What are the chances of Peter Forsberg returning to the NHL – and if he does, will he be more likely to go back to Colorado or Philadelphia? I'm a big Flyers fan myself and I would love him back in a Flyer uniform. If he comes back, will he ever be a Flyer?
Mike Clark, Wyalusing, Pa.
There are few people in the hockey world who think Forsberg has even a half-tank of gas remaining in his engine. His desire can’t be doubted, but the facts speak for themselves – his body clearly can’t take much more wear-and-tear.
Should he attempt another comeback, it’s quite likely the Avs and Flyers will be his only options. And if he’s truly intent on leaving the game by playing on a team that can make a deep playoff run, the Flyers seem to be his sole destination.
Obviously, he’d make Colorado a better team as well. But that organization hasn’t kept pace with the rest of the Western Conference powerhouses this summer, while Philadelphia still must be considered one of the favorites to emerge from the East.
That said, I return to my first point – how much more is Forsberg capable of giving? The days of assuming he can be the difference between winning and losing a Stanley Cup are long gone.
I was just wondering if the Bruins did the right thing in letting Glen Murray go? Is he finished, or is there a team that can use him? If so, which team and what does Murray bring to the table? Is there an alternate player Bruins management should have bought out instead? Also, seeing as how Manny Fernandez will be back healthy this season what do you think about their goaltending situation? I appreciate the response. Take care!
Calogero "Cal" C., Montreal
First of all, way to insert a question into every sentence but the final two. In terms of questions-to-sentences ratio in a single email, I believe you’ve established a Gretzky-like unbeatable record.
With the Bruins over the cap maximum, there wasn’t much choice as to who would be bought out. Would you have preferred Patrice Bergeron to be shown the door? Or Chuck Kobasew? Or Peter Schaefer? Of course you wouldn’t.
Somebody will take a chance on Murray this season. He might be 35 years old and starting to show signs of a physical breakdown, but he remains a big body with soft enough hands to produce 20 goals on a championship contender that needs help on the wing. He may have to wait until early in the season to get a shot, but he’ll get one.
A healthy Fernandez only muddies the Bruins’ goaltending picture. Twenty-one-year-old Tuukka Rask has to be the team’s future in net, but he may not get a ton of playing time this season behind Fernandez and incumbent starter Tim Thomas.
That is, unless Boston GM Peter Chiarelli swings a deal for one of the thirty-something veterans. The goalie market isn’t exactly a seller’s dream, though, so it’s safe to assume there will be at least one unhappy camper in Boston this season.
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