Monday, March 30, 2009

Foligno Key To Summer Plans

With the emergence of Nick Foligno as a legitimate scoring threat, Bryan Murray's job might have just gotten a lot easier over the summer.

If Murray can get Mike Comrie and Ryan Shannon under contract for a reasonable amount, the Senators clearly already have a proper second line that can score goals.

And that equates to money that can be spent elsewhere, such as a real power-play quarterback (Jay Bouwmeester anyone?).

One of the bonuses to Foligno's breakout season is that the young winger has also started to use his size when going to the net. At 6 feet and 192 pounds, Foligno isn't exactly a power-forward but he has the potential to be a good compliment to Mike Fisher – a guy who can score and run you over at the same time.

Murray has already mentioned that he wants more size in his forward ranks. Even though he will probably be unavailable, a player like Erik Cole would be the perfect fit for Ottawa. Given that there aren't too many players like that out there (no one wants to take on Dustin Penner's contract), Ottawa may have to look to a player like Foligno to grow into that role.

Under the salary cap, it's always cheaper and better to have a draft pick fill a vital need than to go out and shop for a player on the free market to do the same thing.

Strictly in that sense, Foligno might be the Senators most valuable player right now. He's signed for next year at only $ 785 000.

That's the right player at the right price if I've ever heard of one.


You know that scoring is still a problem in the NHL when it looks like there will only be one 50 goal scorer this year.

Given Alex Ovechkin's talent and drive to do anything to score, it looks rather bad on the league when all he can muster is 53 goals so far.

If Ovie has trouble reaching the 60 goal mark, nobody else has a chance in hell to put up huge offensive numbers.

The problem is that the goalie equipment is still too large and the NHL is moving at a snail's pace to reduce it thanks to the huge influence of the goaltending fraternity who have had the league by the balls since the mid-90's.

Because the coaching is so good now, the game will never return to the stage where players will challenge Wayne Gretzky's or Brett Hull's goal scoring totals in a single season, but the NHL should have at least five 50 goal scorers per year and one or two in the 60 range.

The one true way to spike viewership in non-traditional hockey markets, and thus increase revenue, is to crank up the offense. The NHLPA should overrule the petty concerns of their minority goaltending group and force the issue because the player's salaries are tied to overall league revenues under the CBA. It's in the players best interests to increase scoring and the only way to do that is bring back the skinny pads of the 70's and 80's.

The notion that shrinking the size of protection endangers the safety of the goalie is laughable. The materials used in modern equipment can probably stop bullets, let alone pucks. The bulk is only there to block the net, not protect the player.


SoCalSensFan said...

Good post.

It certainly SEEMS like we have credible second line scoring. I still think that this lineup is too shallow to actually contend again, but there are definitely grounds for optimism wrt the offense (is that "offence" in's been too long lol).

Reduction of goalie equipment is a no-brainer. I don't know anyone that feels differently, though I don't fraternize with NHL goalies on a regular basis. If Bettman has one iota of vision and leadership, well... I'm probably better off waiting for pigs to fly.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how the Sens can afford to go after JBo unless they dump some salary. Unless they dump Kuba and Smith, how do they fit JBo into their lineup?

I like Mike Comrie, but not at a salary north of $2.5M. I think that any thing more than that is better spent on other assets. He is definitely worth more than that on some teams, but not to the Sens.

Clouston's done a great job of getting a lot out of Foligno and Shannon. To me, that's what coaching is all about.

By the same token, the GM is in charge of the whole operation. He has had great assets within the organization and has failed to have success for two years in a row. He needs to be held accountable. Fire Murray.

Canucnik said...

Good Post!

I think our man may be Brian Campbell?

We may get a feel for availability in tonight's Habs game.

Brian Murray has supplied the pieces and he now has a coach, who, it appears cannot be diddled with.

This will be the Murrays (pl)finnest hour. The Hawks can be had and will commit this error. It will cost a prospect, nothing more...Our problem... NO ONE gets signed before this transaction is done. Failing this we go on to free agents.

Mr. Murray get us our EXPENSIVE Defenceman...this season!!!

Drew said...

You know what else is a factor in the lack of offensive production: having 30 teams in the NHL. Look at when Gretzky and Hull were putting up those numbers; around 20 teams existed at the time. If they would have had 30 in the league at that time, the talent would be far more spread out, with players such as Messier, Kurri, Anderson, Coffey, Oates, and so many others having the potential to be the top dog on another team.

Imagine now, if Atlanta, Phoenix, Tampa, The Islanders, and the Predators were to fold (Not saying that I want that in the slightest), you would have players like Lecavalier, Kovalchuk, St. Louis, Doan, Streit, Arnott, and Weber playing on other teams with more talented players. It would mean a slower development process for prospects and it would take some serious number crunching to fit these players under already-tight budgets from the cap, but the return would surely be at least a marginal increase in offensive production.

I've been thinking about that for a while. Makes you think what kind of league this would be if we had the same number of teams as a decade ago, or two.

Canucnik said...

Drew you are on to something.

The days of the bigoted, blue eyed white guy are over! (Disclamer, I am and was a blue eyed white guy, in the sixties I had a black quarterback who liked to throw me the ball,very unusual for that time frame.)

We should shut down the South, if Houston and LA want to stay, OK, they were always good hockey towns. Kill 6 take 2 north, make the current owners buy 'em out. Short term pain, they made money when the new francises came in so take the hit and every one will be better off in the long run.

The problem...good old blue eyed greed, envy, lust for power, joylessness,pride and extravagence will never let this happen.

SoCalSensFan said...

I don't see talent dilution as a reason for lack of scoring. The high scoring Gretzky era involved a diluted NHL, if anything, as the WHA had just been incorporated.

The floodgates to the NHL have subsequently opened up with respect to Eastern European players, and the US game has been ramped up considerably at both the college and national developmental program...

Just my opinion, but I see tons of talent out there and less and less free ice every year, especially between the pipes.