Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Murray Changes Mind - Demotes Rookie

The confusion surrounding Erik Karlsson's position on the team and what exactly a demotion would mean contract wise have all been clarified today.

Karlsson was sent to Binghamton and not Sweden, as GM Bryan Murray thought he might have to do in order not to burn a contract year on Karlsson's entry level status in the league. After clarification from the league, Murray, and the rest of us confused dopes learned that sending Karlsson to the AHL, the much preferred option, will not burn the first year because he's exempt due to being a European draft pick.

Or something like that....

But if he plays one more game in a Senators uniform, he'll be one year closer to RFA status.

Regardless of all that contract mumbo jumbo, the slick Swede has to take his lumps riding the buses like a lot of prospects have to do, partly due to the amount of 1-way contracts on the NHL team.

Like I reiterated in my last column, I don't agree with the decision in a hockey sense but I understand the financial logistics behind the move. To me, it's a reasonable compromise between the NHL (the preferred option) and going back to the big rinks of Sweden which would mean Karlsson would only be delayed in learning the intricacies of the North American game.

Ultimately, as Murray mentioned in his press conference, it was up to Cory Clouston on whether or not he was going to use him enough going forward. Once Murray got the shake of the head, he knew what he had to do.

Clouston has done a great job so far and he deserves to outfit his club as he sees fit. My hunch is that with the condensed schedule, we haven't seen the last of Karlsson this season and that any hangups over a measly year on an entry level contract won't dissuade Bryan Murray from trying to ice the best lineup he possibly can.

I still hold out that Karlsson will be an impact player this year. He just has more tools than guys like Brian Lee, Chris Campoli and Alex Picard. All that stands in his way is a little patience from management and some hard work from Karlsson to get back to the big time.

On a related note, what happens when Jesse Winchester's conditioning stint is over in Bingo next week? I think Winchester has already proved his worth at the NHL level and an injury shouldn't stand in his way.

But who do you take out?

Obviously, Murray has to make a trade here, barring any injuries in the next 3 or 4 games.

Suggestions on who goes?

One thing we know, it's not going to be Peter Regin. Word is the Senators told him to buy a house.

Usually, that's the kiss of death in the NHL but Regin likely has a long career in the red and black ahead of him. Either this season or next, as I've said before on Black Aces, he's going to be the next David Krejci.


Anonymous said...

The organization has to assess their players properly. Campoli has to play with a better partner (Kuba ). Lee can be compared to Karlesson as they both play in the A. Lee should/will be called up and given a fair chance. It is only a matter of time where an injury will make this a necessity.

Anonymous said...

It was a good move by the organization. Saving the contract year will pay dividends in the future. It is also better for Karlsson. He should be put in a position where he is important and where he can maintain his cocky mental edge.

I'm okay with Bingo or Sweden. I don't buy the logic that Bingo is better "in order to learn the North American game". Top players excel wherever they are, if they really are top players. Most of the best Europeans in the game never saw time in the AHL.

The other issue for Karlsson is just to grow. The difference between 19 and 20 can be pretty big for some people.

I like Peter Regin, but the next Krejci? C'mon. I hope he is. But, c'mon. I think most people reading your blog are sober.

Can you give Winchester another conditioning stint? I mean it's better than sitting in the press box, at least until a body can be moved or an injury occurs. As for a trade, I'd move Ruutu's $1.3M contract.

Anonymous said...

Apologies, Jeremy. I just re-read my previous post and the crack about Regin did not come off right. It was a poor attempt at humour. Not meant to be insulting.

Sacul said...

The take on Karlsson is a good one. We'll see him towards the end of the year, unless the Sens crap the bed and fall out of contention. Clouston had the big say on this because he's the one who's had to bend over backwards, sideways and every other way to find minutes for Karlsson without having him get totally outmatched. Murray knows what it's like when your GM won't listen. EK is just REALLY small, he needs a while to figure out how he can get around this to compete and excel at the NHL level. I still think it's a long shot that he'll ever be a top defenseman, but he should be a REALLY good offensive one who can be respectable in other situations.

As for Winnie...consecutive conditioning stints aren't allowed. Who knows what will happen when he comes back. All the forwards have held up their end of the bargain so far, except for Kovalev (we're still waiting for the up part of his up and down style), Cheechoo (he's doing exactly what Murray knew he would when he had no choice but to take him) and perhaps Shannon (a head injury and being put into a new position haven't helped him.)
A deal is really hard at this point of the year and you just KNOW more injuries are coming... Maybe Murray will try and sneak someone through waivers, but I don't think so. Most NHL quality guys on reasonable contracts have been getting snapped up. There's just no way he has any plans to do anything to swallow a huge salary like Cheechoo's at this point. I think we might see the roster pushed for a while to the 23 max for the first time in years. We might see some surprising guys in the press box, though...not always the usual Donovan, Shannon, Winchester type guys.