Friday, February 20, 2009

Murray Makes a Deal


Finally, something happens.

Okay, I guess Bryan Murray already canned Craig Hartsburg but today he made his first big personnel move since the Andrej Meszaros trade.

You probably all know the details: McAmmond and a first rounder (San Jose's) to the Islanders for Chris Campoli and Mike Comrie.

Undoubtedly, slick defenseman Campoli is really the player that Murray was after and that first round pick is what the Islanders desperately wanted for their interminable rebuild.

Unfortunately for Dean McAmmond, he was the dead salary weight that Murray probably forced onto the Islanders for the deal to work. The same could be said of Comrie as he is having a horrible year in New York. Both of those players are unrestricted this summer so it was merely a swap to make the salary cap work for both teams. Murray takes considerably more money on but he also gets the best player in the deal in Campoli. That's how trades are going to work nowadays - to get what you want you have to take something you don't along with it.

That being said, Comrie is going to add some offensive potential to the Senators lineup with Daniel Alfredsson rumoured to be out for longer than a week. He could wind up getting traded again at the deadline but if the Senators can string some more wins together, he's an inexpensive player in the short term. Even if he walks in the summer, Murray still has his offensive defenseman in Campoli. This is in direct contrast to the trade he made late last year when he acquired two potential unrestricted free agents in Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore (who both walked for no compensation).

But do I like the trade?

To be honest, I'm a little skeptical of Chris Campoli being anything more than a second-tier defenseman. He is still young, can help a power-play and he's cheap. But I don't expect him to make a really big difference here. He will probably be an upgrade on good guy Brendan Bell and the invisible ghost that is Alex Picard, but he's not the number one guy this team needs.

But I do like the trade.

Murray gave up a lot in that first round pick but Campoli is a known commodity and he'll be able to help right away, something that late-first rounder won't be able to do for a few years.

I'm also glad to see Comrie back in the fold. He is one hell of a chippy player who isn't afraid to drop the gloves despite his size and he adds some much needed skill. He might even re-sign in town (though not likely) and he probably won't cost much money due to his poor numbers.

I do feel bad for McAmmond as he has a family and he is basically going to a team that is even more doomed than Ottawa but I've always had the sense that McAmmond was never a Murray guy.

When Murray first took over for John Muckler, one of the first things he did was voice his displeasure with the two-year contract that McAmmond recieved just before Mucks went out the door. He managed not to trade him for two years but I think this day was inevitable.

More on the trade tomorrow after the Habs game....

***

NOTE: Apparently, Campoli had asked Islander GM Garth Snow to trade him because he wanted a change of scenery.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Really dumb trade.

He should not have traded the #1 pick (San Jose) unless it was for a higher pick.

I like Comrie. But, we could sign him as UFA at the end of the year. Our year is done. It makes little sense to add Comrie and his salary.

Campoli is a 5 or 6 d-man. Now he's part of the Bell, Picard, Schubert rotation. We have enough of this type of player.

Clearly, this move suggests that Murray is going to try and make the playoffs. My bet is that if he felt secure in his job, he would not part with the #1 pick.

Add another item to the long list of reasons to fire him.

mickey said...

I wouldn't worry too much about campoli, offensive defencemen seem to overachieve in ottawa (atleast in terms of production). Just look at mezaros, kuba and redden. Whether the sens are trying to go into rebuild mode, reload for next year or "gasp" make the playoffs there isnt much not to like about this trade. They obviously need a more dominant defenceman than campoli to be a serious contender next year, but its a good start. Mccammond was a great player for us, shame he couldnt finish his career here.

Anonymous said...

The good thing about this trade is that campoli's salary is only a little more than 500,000 next year. This puts them in pretty good shape next year. If they can sign comrie to a smaller contract-and you get the feeling that's what murray wants to do, then they are in a good position to reload this team by signing a big name like Bouwmeester.

Blood Red Army said...

Really good move. Really good.

Canucnik said...

6:51PM

Rest easy for the moment this is just "the openers!"

Both these guys will help, short and long term.

The man of the Year/the play of the season is the Murrays(pl) dealing of Neil and Kuba. I want tangible/bragable returns. Let's show Toronto and yes even the scheming Habs that we know how to build a team, as shown, now how to rebuild it even better.

hambown said...

Can you blame Campoli? Must be depressing as hell for an ambitious hockey player to dress for the Islanders year after year. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do in Ottawa under Clouston.

hambown said...

He should not have traded the #1 pick (San Jose) unless it was for a higher pick.

Trades in the NHL have to benefit both teams, otherwise they don't get done. NHL GMs aren't incompetent (now that Milbury and JFJ have been fired). But seriously, Ottawa will already have a pick in the top 10, maybe top 5 if things don't go well. So along with what they'll get for trading Kuba & Neil, we should be well set up at the draft. Besides, I for one like to see my hockey team play well & win occasionally, even at the expense of *possibly* improving their draft position. Call me crazy.

Anonymous said...

Hambown - you are crazy.

This move was a deperate disaster by a man who should have lost his job long ago. Murray should have been fired before he had an opportunity to do any more damage.

Hopefully Melnyk learns his lesson here.

Well you certainly can't evaluate a trade after 1 game - Did everyone enjoy the habs game this afternoon?

mickey said...

I dunno, he said some pretty reasonable things. If this the top 5 in the draft are as good as people say, do you really think we can just "trade up". Not much of a garauntee there. I think your sadistic hatred of bryan murray is blinding you a little bit here...

Anonymous said...

if you want to see your team play well, more often than not, then some short term pain is required. Trading away draft picks is not the answer - just ask the Leafs or the Senators from 1997-2007.

Anonymous said...

Mickey, Last year's draft was also very strong. The Leafs "traded up" from 7th to 5th to draft Schenn. They traded their 7th pick along with 2nd rounder and a 3rd rounder to move up two places.

The Sens are looking like they will be in place to draft somewhere between 4th to 8th. Had they kept San Jose's 1st pick, I think that they would have had some flexibility and possibly the option of moving up.

I wonder what Melnyk thinks about this deal. This deal is going to cost him about $1M in additional salary this year. Those are real dollars, not cap dollars. He is $1M poorer as a result of the deal.

If we make the playoffs, he will get that money back in spades. If not, I don't think he's going to be too happy.

He's suppose to be a good business man. So, I'm guessing that he already knows that we are not making the playoffs. I don't know how he can be happy being down $1M, and losing a #1 pick to boot.

hambown said...

Hambown - you are crazy.

Thanks Dr. Anonymous, your analysis is ever so helpful.

This move was a deperate disaster by a man who should have lost his job long ago. Murray should have been fired before he had an opportunity to do any more damage.

Ah, nice. Two unsupported conclusions. You must feel so confident about your argument that you don't even need to support it, I guess. Look, I don't know if Campoli will work out for Ottawa. But he has the skills our defense lacks, is under contract for a very reasonable rate, and is young & improving. As I've said before, the draft pick is a low percentage gamble even to recover Chris Campoli in 4 years, even less likely to be better. How is that a desperate disaster?

The Sens are looking like they will be in place to draft somewhere between 4th to 8th. Had they kept San Jose's 1st pick, I think that they would have had some flexibility and possibly the option of moving up.

They still have that option. They could make a deal like the Leafs did last year. Or when they move Kuba and Neil for picks, they could use those to move up. Believe me, I agree with you that trying to trade up is a good strategy this year, as the top 5 picks are likely to be true quality players. But this move provides affordable skills the Sens need now and next year. And depending on what happens with Kuba/Neil/?, it also doesn't hurt them come draft day.

Finally, Melnyk is a billionaire. I don't think he's too worried about paying out $1M more in salaries this year if it will improve the team next year and the years beyond. With fluctuations in the stock market, he probably makes & loses millions every day.

Anonymous said...

hambown,
Just to clarify, anon @ 5:18pm and anon @ 12:53pm are not the same person.

I am anon @ 12:53pm. I take your point, but I disagree with you. If the Sens had a legitimate shot at the playoffs, I'd like the deal.

I'm against the deal because I think we're done. I still want us to play hard. I still want an entertaining up tempo game. I hope they win as many games as they can. But, I do not want them trading away picks for players who are not "difference makers".

To me, Campoli is a 5 or 6 d-man. I think that a player like him is easy to acquire on the UFA market for free. The low cap hit for next year is good. But, I'd still rather have the #1 pick.

As far as Melnyk not being worried about losing a million, you don't know that, and neither do I. But, based on his comments about buying out contracts, he said that he does not want to go down that road because that is real dollars going out the door. That's what led me to think that he might not like the deal.

hambown said...

anon @4:24

To me, Campoli is a 5 or 6 d-man. I think that a player like him is easy to acquire on the UFA market for free. The low cap hit for next year is good. But, I'd still rather have the #1 pick.

I see your point. I think Campoli has the potential to play top 4 minutes and the powerplay. But we view him with different eyes. As for him being easy to acquire on the UFA market, I think you're wrong. First, this hypothetical 5-6 Dman will be older (no 24 year old UFAs), but they're going to be both more expensive and more sought after from other teams. How many teams are in the market for cheap but effective powerplay defensemen?

As far as Melnyk not being worried about losing a million, you don't know that, and neither do I. But, based on his comments about buying out contracts, he said that he does not want to go down that road because that is real dollars going out the door. That's what led me to think that he might not like the deal.

True, we don't know what Melnyk thinks about taking on Comrie's salary. But that's different than buying out a contract. That's dollars for literally no work. This isn't a total waste: think of it as an extended tryout to see how he fits into the squad under Clouston. There's already a good chance that he'll resign next year (based on what both he & BM have said/implied), at less than he's making now. It would be more risky to make a pitch to sign him in the off-season, not knowing how he can play with (say) Foligno/Vermette & Fisher. A two year deal at 3.5/m per season would be a real solution to our second line centre problem.