Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Marleau - Alfie Connection

It's not too far fetched to favourably compare the careers of Ottawa Senator Daniel Alfredsson and San Jose Shark Patrick Marleau.

Both came into the league within 3 years of each other and both have played with only one team in that span, becoming captains and offensive leaders on their clubs. Daniel Alfredsson's career totals are more impressive than Marleau's but considering their respective ages, they will probably end up within 100 points of each other when the crying's all over.

Unfortunately for Marleau, he hasn't crossed that invisible threshold from great player to indispensable franchise player the way that Alfredsson did back in 2007 during the Senators brilliant run to the Stanley Cup final.

Both captains received eerily similar criticism after each playoff failure, with people questioning their aggressiveness both on the ice and in the locker room. Alfie won over his doubters but Marleau is still a work-in-progress.

And now the knives have come out.

Sharks head coach Todd McLellan has announced that Marleau is no longer the captain of the team after yet another disappointing playoff exit by the polite lads in teal.

Who knows? If Alfredsson and the Senators weren't able to turn their 2007 season around after a near-disaster like beginning, maybe the universe would be different and Alfie would have been in a similar situation that Marleau is in now, namely a sitting duck waiting to get traded.

Marleau does have a no-trade clause in his contract but, as Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated points out, his time in San Jose has probably come to an end.

"Marleau's demotion -- think of a guy getting his stripes ripped off in one of those old war movies -- effectively ends his time in San Jose. Theoretically he can stick around -- Modano did in Dallas when he ceded the C to Brenden Morrow, and Vincent Lecavalier actually matured after losing the C in Tampa Bay -- but Sharks general manager Doug Wilson knows he has to change the mix on his team. If he were trying to trade Marleau before, now Wilson must get rid of the player who scored a career-high 38 goals last season.

"Pat is great," a somber (Joe) Pavelski said Tuesday. "This isn't going to take anything away from the kind of character (player) he is. He is probably going to have to come out stronger after something like this. Or (he'll have to go)elsewhere . . . "

Of course, this kind of talk will inevitably lead to the Dany Heatley situation. Would Marleau waive his no-trade to come to Ottawa? We can probably assume Heatley would love the chance to play with Joe Thornton. But then you just start getting into more of the same tiresome speculation that everyone has had enough of by now.

Regardless, Marleau would be a "nifty" little centre for Alex Kovalev or even Daniel Alfredsson himself (who by the way, is only 68 games shy of 1000 for his career - barring injury he'll hit that milestone this season, probably in March or April).

Something to watch.


Oman said...

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say Heatley for Marleau + a high draft pick (2nd round at least) would be a great move. The sens desperately need a good second line center. They have a couple elite wingers already (Alf and Kovy) and a few good winger prospects (Foligno and Shannon) to flank him and Spez on the top two lines. Let Fisher crash and pound on the third were he's best suited. They would save some money, as Marleau's cap hit is $6,300,000. He's only 29 and a hell of a hockey player. Though I don't know the details on his playoff exits, it seems to me most of that team has shit the bed in the post season over the past few years. This could be a great chance to prove himself in the playoffs with a new team.

Bring in on Canucnik! (Ha ha).

Canucnik said...


You are a blockhead...a nineth place blockhead.

You are looking at second place and you want to trade it away.

The guy is yours "cheap" next year!

Don't forget ya paid Heater 4 mill all are capping like a "Rookie"...the deal with the league is still to be done.

"Have you ever been to Southern California?"

"Have you ever been to "Fiesta" in San José?"

Cause you are workin' on a one way ticket!

PS: Our man is fucking the dog again!

Anonymous said...

if we can get him under contract beyond this season then i would be absolutely on board with something like marleau+couture or marleau+2010 1st. canucnik, the 4 mil has nothing to do with cap numbers eh. the rest of your comment could have been better communicated in hieroglyphics.

Jalen said...

Good post, Jeremy.

I've always liked Marleau.

I agree with Oman and Anon @2am, I'd be on board with a return of Marleau and a pick/prospect provided he signs an extension.

Fisher could then move to the bloody wing where he belongs, and play on either of the top two lines.

"Hieroglyphics" - brilliant.

- Jalen

Anonymous said...

Dude, not trying to be a debbie downer but Alfreddsson is 68 games away from his 1000th. He is 79 points away from 1000.

Oman said...

Yeah, the main drawback is Marleau is only signed for another year. And yeah, Euge did already pay 4mil for this year... So maybe a condition of his signing for more years at a good price, or an extra pick/prospect, or a conditional pick/prospect if he doesn't sign etc. I'm sure there are ways to make this a fair deal. BM isn't gonna get fleeced. No worries about that.

I'm sure San Jose is beautiful in the winter, but who knows... Marleau may be ready to play in a hockey market... or he may be pissed enough at his team to go and make Ottawa a contender again. Stranger things have happened... prove that he was in fact a big part of their winning record over the past few years.

And good point Jalen re. trying Fish on the wing. That could give some of our younger center prospects a chance to develop on the 3rd and 4th lines. Bottom line, I think, is that he is not a natural 2nd line center, and we need someone to fill this position. IMO Marleau could be a great fit.

Canucnik said...

To the Anonymous Egyptian:

Hieroglyphics are Egyptian...I am German and we re-discovered Hieroglyphics for the modern world. As you played very little as a kid you don't understand "Hockey player!"

For all "you know it alls" the League Office has not ruled on the Heatley payment in the case of a trade...that's Actual Salary...Cap dollars and/or transfer of payments.

Jalen said...


Sorry, but I disagree with your characterization of the Heatley salary advance.

The league hasn't "ruled" on the payment because there will only be something to rule on if the Sens file a grievance or work out a trade that involves repayment of the advance.

My understanding is all the league has said is, 1) the Sens may (stress may) have grounds for a grievance against Dany for damages, and 2) if the Sens work out a trade that would see the acquiring team repay them for the advance, they would support it. The current CBA precludes the exchange of salary/cash in a trade, so their position could theoretically facilitate a trade. However, as a CBA matter, this would also have to be approved by the NHLPA.

If a trade is worked out that doesn't involve repayment of the $4M, there will be nothing for the league to rule on.

I agree the $4M is actual salary; however, I don't believe the $4M would have any effect on the Cap of either the Sens or the acquiring team, regardless of whether it is repaid. The Cap hit is $7.5M regardless, prorated if a trade is consummated during the seaon.

Hope that helps.

Oman - you're the first poster to see the merit in moving Fisher to the wing. He doesn't belong in a second line center role and is too valuable to play on one of the bottom two lines. His game is best suited to the role of a winger. Here's hoping a second line center is part of the return for Heater (Cogs, Marleau, etc) and Cory does the right thing and tells Fish he's playing the wing.

- Jalen

Canucnik said...


Good explanation correct I think.

Here is the one I heard...Dany is traded, we don't get the $4mill. The recieving team's total contract for Heatley then becomes 33.5 for 5 years instead of 37.5 thus they average out a cap hit of 6.7 instead of 7.5. That's why the league still has to rule on this.

Jalen said...


If I understand correctly, you're saying if the advance isn't repaid, then the acquiring team benefits in the form of a reduced cap hit? I didn't know that. I thought the cap hit stayed the same over the life of the contract and wasn't adjusted for remaining term upon trade.

If the acquiring team didn't repay the advance and received a reduced cap hit, is it your understanding the Sens would take an additional cap hit of $4M for the advance?


- Jalen

Jeremy Milks said...

Anonymous: Of course, I meant 68 games, not points. Thanks for catching that one for me. Fixed. I must be getting old...

hambown said...

Fisher to the wing on line 2: yea! fair and true! why on earth this hasn't been done until now I'll never know (especially when Vermette was in town). We're stuck with the guy for the next four years, he should play in the position where he can be most effective.

Heatley for Marleau + prospect and Marleau to centre line 2: yea? In cap terms I kind of like taking on an expiring contract. But that just means we'll have to do this 2nd line centre dance next year. And the cup doesn't exactly runneth over with 2nd line centres. Hopefully Marleau could be extended for two more years after this, otherwise this is a stopgap measure and won't address the needs of the team.

Canucnik said...


You are making better sense than I, but yes because the 4 mill is dead money in theory you would have to rewrite the contract. However Heater got 10 mill last year?? So now the NHLPA is involved...along with the NHL...the agent/lawyers.

This would be a classic test case...#12 @ 6.3 Cap hit; if you take José's position they have a case of Heatley's 10 plus 4 for 14 mill total off of the 44 the six year total which brings it down to 30 for 5.

The point being this is not as cut and dried as one might think.

phil said...

fisher has played the wing plenty of times before - to me he's always seemed to have the same impact no matter where he's positioned.

and he damn well better get heatley's 'A'.

Jalen said...


I disagree with you, Fisher's biggest problem is he hasn't been able to have the same impact consistently, despite is consistent effort & intensity.

Fisher has never played the wing for an extended period, only in occasional spot duty maybe two or three games at a time, primarily because he prefers to play centre.

Recall last year's road trip when Fish played the wing in New Jersey and St Louis, then was moved back to centre for the Columbus game (which they lost). The St Louis game was probably his best game of the year, but he only played the wing for two games.

My point is his skills are better suited to the wing which is why fans gripe that he isn't a second line center.

Worse, his defensive play has suffered in each of the last two seasons with the burden of trying to create offense from the second line center role. He'd flourish on the wing and should be moved there permanently.

I agree with you, he would be my choice to get Heatley's A.

- Jalen