Unlike Tim Thomas, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time pumping the tires of a player who doesn’t play on the team that I support. Since first penning an article last March that featured a brief blurb about how Ottawa should consider acquiring a player like Kyle Turris, I’ve devoted more than a few posts over the course of the summer and fall that have followed his contract negotiations (or lack thereof) with the Phoenix Coyotes -- maintaining all my original position that it’d be of benefit to the Senators to kick the tires and perform their due diligence on acquiring the disgruntled player.
So naturally when Ottawa acquired Turris in a trade this afternoon, you’d think I would be pretty ecstatic to hear the news?
Absolutely! I imagine this is how Hasse Alfredsson will feel like when he finds out that his two sons have grown filthy dusters in his honor. Besides, when has a highly touted player who has worn number 91 never panned out? (Wait, don’t answer that!)
When I look back on this day, I'll never forget where I was when I got the text from Tim that told me that Pierre Lebrun broke the news on Twitter: ugly Christmas sweater shopping at the Value Village on Merivale Road.
After triumphantly fist pumping the air, it wasn’t the awkward glares that I got from passing strangers that brought me down. No, it took the steep price that Ottawa paid to get him to subdue my excitement. In retrospect, I blame my own naivety that Turris would come for cheap.
I realize now that the old adage that to get something, you have to give something up is true and Bryan Murray certainly gave something up by trading David Rundblad and a second round pick trade to the Coyotes. While not quite a ransom, it’s the kind of price that will generate some mass hysteria on the Hfboards or be questioned by prospect porn indulging fans who’ve become enamored with what Rundblad did in the Swedish Elite League last season and how much better he could become moving forward.
At its simplest level, the two involved teams traded promise for promise and we’re not going to know the winner for years to come. Nevertheless, it’d be boring not to analyze it now, so let me break down the players and factors involved. So let's get at it...
Size: 6'2" 185lbs
Contract: In the second year of a three-year contract that carries a cap hit of $1.5 million
I’m not going to lie, the first thing that came to my mind when Rundblad’s name was linked in the trade was that this is probably a sign that he balked at the idea of playing in the AHL. Whether this is true or not, we won't know until an involved party confirms it. Neverthless, the imminent returns of Sergei Gonchar and Filip Kuba would have forced the organization into making a roster move and based on his underwhelming play of late, Rundblad was the likely odd man out because of his two-way contract.
Often cited as Ottawa's top prospect, perhaps the best argument for not trading Rundblad for Turris was brought up by Scott (@Wham_City), "Irrelevant how (Rundblad) develops now. What do you think Rundlad's value was today? And what else could we have gotten elsewhere?"
It's a great point that is representative of the gamble that Bryan Murray truly took here. Maybe he could have gotten more for Rundblad. Looking back, the last good Swedish defensive prospect to be dealt was Tim Erixon. Although the circumstances were different (Erixon refused to sign in Calgary and could have re-entered the draft), Calgary received two second rounds picks and prospect Roman Horak in return from the Rangers. I'm not entirely sure of what could have been made available on the trade market. Perhaps a player like the recently demoted Magnus Paajarvi could have been fetched. Ultimately however, I still think that the only deal that could have been made involving Rundblad is a project for project deal like the one that Ottawa made.
For anyone who’s watched him play this season, Rundblad’s defensive deficiencies are as readily apparent as his fluid skating ability or ability to move the puck. Considering he’s entering a Phoenix Coyotes organization that perennially puts short-term results ahead of the development of its prospects, it’s going to be fascinating to keep track of how much patience head coach Dave Tippett will have for the blueliner.
Size: 6'1" 185 lbs
Contract: In the first year of a newly negotiated two-year deal that carries a cap hit of $1.4 million.
On the surface his numbers seem underwhelming. Upon closer examination however, proportionate to the amount of even-strength ice-time that the Phoenix Coyotes players received last season, Kyle Turris produced at the highest rate. When regarding this stat, it's important to keep a few things in mind:
1) Turris benefitted from his high proportion of O-zone starts.
2) He typically was matched up against the other team's third and fourth lines. In other words, the easiest competition.
Now that he has a fresh start and an opportunity to play regular top six minutes, the question becomes, 'will he be able to produce?'
A lot of time and energy is going to spent dissecting the reasons behind Turris' trade demands in Phoenix. After Dany Heatley's trade request and snubbing of the Senators' organization, it's going to be interesting to see how the fans respond to Turris. Will they embrace him? Or will they have tepid reservations?
So long as he produces, I couldn't care less.
1) The Filatov Factor
After Bryan Murray acquired Nikita Filatov for a third round pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the GM stated that Filatov would be given every opportunity to play and develop. When Filatov was loaned to CSKA this past week, it represented a Murray gamble that hasn't paid its dividends yet. Now with Turris is in tow, Ottawa's slowly morphed itself into an island of broken toys. With Bryan Murray rolling the dice again, he's putting his neck on the line and helps put an end to the cozy rebuild movement that afforded him some time and patience.
2) Why Trade a Puck Moving Defenceman?
Much has been made on Twitter about the importance of having puck-moving defencemen in the ‘New NHL’ and how having Rundblad and Karlsson on the same blueline could have been one of Ottawa’s strengths for years to come. While true, the organization is rolling gambling on Rundblad not developing into an all-around player. By trading him now, the Senators are essentially indicating that what David brings is replaceable. Others have mentioned that Ottawa does have more blueline depth in their current system; naming prospects like Mark Borowiecki or Patrick Wiercioch as potential replacements. While both of those prospects could eventually develop into decent NHLers, personally, I feel like this trade was made with the foresight of what’s available in this year’s draft class. Aside from a few skilled Russian forwards – Grigorenko, Yakupov and the Russian-American hybrid Alex Galchenyuk – the 2012 Entry Draft will be headlined by an inordinate amount of talented defencemen - one of whom will likely find himself in a Senators jersey on draft day.3) Emergence of Jared Cowen
For a website that prides itself on a pragmatic and reasonable approach, it's not often that we get caught up in the hyperbole. After last night's game however, fuck it. Jared Cowen's a beast who is destined go on and become the best defenceman to emerge from his 2009 NHL Entry Draft class.
That's to take nothing away from players like Victor Hedman, Olivier Ekman-Larson or Rundblad but in a few years, we'll be praising the hockey gods for the fortuitous luck that the injury to his right knee -- tears to his ACL, MCL and a slight one to his meniscus -- caused him to slide to Ottawa's ninth overall draft position.
Entering his first NHL season, many fans knew what to expect from the hulking 6'5" 225lb defenceman: a defensive acumen a willingness to use his size and reach to his advantage. Thanks to this defensive aptitude, I had heard rumbles that because of his defensive strengths by comparison, his offensive game was understated. However, through 33 games, he has posted four goals and ten points - putting him on pace for 9 goals and 24 points on the season.
In 28 minutes and 11 seconds of ice-time last night, he contributed in every facet of the game. His goal and three assists helped contribute to a team +4 rating. Interestingly, he also registered 4 minutes and 5 seconds of ice-time on the team's first power play unit.
When combined with Erik Karlsson's continued growth as a dynamic offensive player, it's reasonable to assume that Ottawa is comfortable with what they already have.
4) Deep Farm System
One point of contention that I've seen on Twitter can be paraphrased as, "I'm alright with a one-for-one trade of Turris for Rundblad but why throw in the second round pick?" It's a fair point and one that can be strengthened by alluding to the fact that this is supposed to be a rebuild. In fairness to Senators management, the conditional third round pick that the team acquired when Mike Fisher's Nashville advanced one round last season helps soften the blow somewhat.
More importantly, this isn't reminiscent of the days when the organization was flippantly trading first or second round picks for the likes of Chris Campoli, Andy Sutton and Matt Cullen. There's no desperation to remain competitive and assure itself of a bottom seeded playoff berth and first round shitkicking. Thanks to a few strong drafts and a well stocked farm system, the Senators have the depth in a prospect pool to absorb the loss of one second round pick - it was ranked as one of the top five systems in hockey in a preseason forecast by Hockey Prospectus. Besides, a second round pick is easy to recoup at the NHL trade deadline. Don't believe me? Two words for you: Chris Campoli.
5) Depth at Center
At fans it's easy to get caught up in the forecasts and projections of the talent within the farm system. While there is optimism that players like Mika Zibanejad or a Stephane Da Costa can eventually develop into important pieces that can help this team achieve success, it's entirely possible that neither of these players will ever develop into a productive first or second line center. By acquiring Turris, the hope is that this new opportunity will afford him a chance to not only be a productive player, but help protect against any stuttered development from the organization's other centers. Normal 0 false false false EN-CA X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4
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Enough with the Bryan's head being on the line; he's had an insane amout of rope and could seemingly miss the playoffs indefinitely and the mainstream media would move the goalposts to the propsects, the last coach hire, how he's a local guy etc. etc. Most GMs need to win to keep their jobs, that is not the case here for a vareity of reasons, from the transition of farm systems and GMs to just a comfort level and attachment to local people.
That said, not a fan of this trade at all. You can never have enough picks or "D", given injuries and so on. The pick alone should have got us a disgrutled Turris. It feels like The Bryan is sacrificing the future for a few extra bucks and a quick playoff exit...makes me uneasy to say the least.
@SteveHL I don't think he's sacrificing the future so much. Could we afford Runblad, Karlsson, and Cowen? Not so much that'd be probably close to $20 million for all three, but I do think we didn't get all we could have for Rundblad. Had he played another season or so I'd think his value would be higher.
Also Don Maloney made it very clear he wasn't just going to give Turris away.
And don't get me wrong, I like Rundblad. But they wouldn't take Lee. It takes two to make a handshake, and sadly Mike Milbury is raising bail for smacking teenage boys instead of being a GM. This trade by itself is weighed towards the seller, thanks to Twitter and the slow Christmas season. Poker players play matches, not hands. Let's see what the Senators have at the end of the season before critiquing too much. And who knows:
Filatov might have got the kick in the slats he needed, come back and report to the B's, and grow up to be an NHL player. Rundblad might take his time, and Bryan might offer sheet him in two years. But what I can see Turris being is as a playmaker 2nd line with that WHL monster Mark Stone crashing the net. That's the core of a line that would have Don Cherry wetting his depends.
If Bryan Murray gets a 2nd for one of Kuba, Auld (bringing up Lehner, who needs to get away from Bingo and into a rotation in the bigs), or Gonchar then will people calm down? It's quite simple: Ottawa is a bubble team when it should have been a lottery team, that changes everything in the draft. If the Leafs continue to stink it up as they have in their last 10-15 Ottawa is likely in the playoffs facing Boston, a quick 1st round exit that pays for the scoreboard, thanks. Not bad for Euge as bums will be in the seats for a playoff race. Good business, especially given the fact that the Senators can remain as a bubble team while STILL BEING SELLERS given the depth that they have at D and goal. That is a rare position to be in, enjoy it.
But what if they do tank? Not much different. Carolina and Columbus aren't going to stop stinking faster than Ottawa might start sinking. The same players would be available for sale if they were horse-trading at the bubble or at the bottom, at a lower value than they would be in a bubble team, but they're not going to get to the bottom. So given that, might as well make your chances as a bubble team as strong as possible without being a buyer. It maximizes the value of the players you are selling, it might bring in playoff cash, and it pulls bums in the seats, especially games against Boston, Buffalo and Toronto.
-It sounds like Turris has plus talent in every offensive dimension
-Filatov is only other high end O prospect- but he doesn't finish and he's two years away from bringing it
-Turris is NHL ready and can step into the lineup on Tuesday
-Michalek is out for awhile and that leaves a void in the top 6
-Our top six lacks the consistent offensive punch of other contenders
-Sens get exposed against any team with 3 good centers
-Alfredsson is 1-2 years away from retiring and will leave a skill void
-Eugene Melnyk believes in magic - one player can work miracles while everyone else does dirty work
-Eugene Melnyk believes the grass is greener in Ottawa for disguntled players who can't get along elsewhere
-Brian Murray has more experience with disgruntled players in Ottawa than any other GM
-The Sens prospect pool won't get much deeper with another second round pick
-Karlsson has the higher upside, and one smallish pp QB is the right number
-To be a contender, Sens need Nastier D. Think Borocop, Gryba
-Rundblad's trade value piqued now as a prospect - hasn't played enough to prove sites like this wrong
-DaCosta is too slow, Regin's shoulder is suspect and Zenon is an inert noble player
-He's not a rent-a-wreck, but an elite prospect entering his prime
-He's and asset under contract for 1.5 years and he's still restricted at the end of this deal.
-Rundblad may develop a well rounded game in 1-3 years and become a good second pairing defensemen
-That second round pick may turn out to be a Ryan Kesler or Patrice Bergeron
-Turris could be the latest in a string of misfits - Kovalev, Filatov, #91's.
-Turris is guilty of being another soft skill player until he shows us otherwise
I'm most certainly not a fan of this trade at first sight. I certainly don't think we got all we could get for Rundblad, as there would have been the opportunity for more ice time and ect for him to perfom next year. Though we all know we couldn't afford to pay Karlsson, Cowen and Rundblad market value and have any room for our forwards.
Personally, I'm concerned with how he left Phoenix, Paul Maclean isn't afraid to play him on the 4th line so he better be okay with that. And with the price I feel we payed, he better play closer to a 1b centre than a 2nd line center.
To make a long story short: Rundblad probably won't be ready until he's an RFA. At best he'll bloom in his RFA season. Follow the money!
You know what, I think The Bryan is being completely honest here: David Rundblad will be ready in two or three years. Maybe next year, and his contract clock is ticking. Meanwhile Jared Cowen is a monster sucking up #1D minutes as the yang to Erik's ying on rookie contracts. He's going to be wearing the A in a year or two. Maybe the C. He's the real deal. Ottawa won't be able to keep three expensive defensemen, as we sadly remember a few years ago with our previous giant, who went on to win a cup, the big guy is probably the one you want to keep. Bryan just made that choice a little early. This is about following the money.
I can see Bryan Murray telling The Huge Euge Friday night that in a few years you'll be forced to choose between Rundblad and Cowen, a puck-mover with defensive lapse and a huge playmaker. Tough shit. Wanna try that do-over on that again, IF it pans out? Or you can address the lack of forwards NOW.
Rundblad has the most awesome pass I've seen since Paul Coffey, but he's not there, yet, as an all-rounded player, and the Senators don't have a Gretzky or even a Kurri for him to pass to. Well, perhaps a Kurri, but our Swedish version is at the end of his career. That's the area that needs addressing and Turris, love it or hate it, is this season's shot at that, that's it, end of story.
lol, I think YOUR neck is on the line. As the chair of the "Bring Turris to Ottawa" committee, If Turris doesn't pan out you will be eating it for the rest of your days. May god have mercy on your soul.
I'm sure the amount of talented defencemen in this years draft helps to further justify the trade, and im too happy about having a 2nd line centre to worry about how good rundblad is going to be