February 14, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Rick Nash (61) warms up before the game against the St. Louis Blues at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE

The Ballad Of Doug Wilson, Part 1: The Big Move

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Dec 3, 2011; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson honors assistant athletic trainer Wes Howard (not pictured) before the game against the Florida Panthers at HP Pavilion. Florida defeated San Jose 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Sharks ownership has made it official, they want changes and they want them ASAP. The recent statement from Sharks Sports and Entertainment is proof of that. So what’s a GM to do when he likes his team but has to do something? Far as I’m concerned, Doug Wilson really has 3 choices here, make one big move, make a bunch of smaller moves, or do nothing. This is the first of a multi-part column where I’ll outline what I see as his choices, assign probabilities and build some scenarios around what could happen.

For the sake of this exercise, let’s assume a committed payroll of $55.6M, $8.7M in cap space and only 14 roster players signed right now (thanks to Capgeek for that info). So we need to add or retain 11 players, given that we have 4 UFA forwards (Mitchell, Moore, Winnik and Winchester), 4 RFA forwards (Wingels, Galiardi, Ferriero and Desjardins), 2UFA defensemen (Vandermeer and White) and 1 RFA defenseman (Braun). Let’s also assume that Wilson is a strong, prudent GM, but has also been known to take risks in the past (see: Campbell, Brian for reference). Finally, the BIGGEST assumption: let’s pretend I am Doug Wilson and my opinion drives our roster moves.

Option 1) Make a Big Move (Odds: 5-1). I’d obviously put a trade for Rick Nash in this bucket, but there are other moves that Wilson could make without giving anybody up. Zach Parise is probably the best all around UFA available this offseason. Problem is that Parise will suck up almost all of my available cap space. SJ has also been named as a possible destination for both Suter and Weber, but I’ve made a couple big moves on D over the past couple of years (Boyle and Burns) and I like my other younger guys too who’ve come up in the system (Vlasic and Demers).  Looking at last year’s stats we were 8th in Goals Against, not bad.  I need scoring.  We were 13th in Goals For last year but 2nd in Shots, obviously we need skilled scorers not just guys who are good at getting chances.

A trade for Rick Nash seems more feasible, and he has size, leadership, can dangle like crazy and has finishing ability.  The issue is that at a cap hit of $7.8M someone big has to go. People have been throwing around a “Niemi + something” package, but Nemo’s cap hit is only $3.8M, which means a Nash related move would eat up $4M of cap space and leave us with more holes to fill than we had before. Someone else big has to be on the move here. Cooch makes $2.875M next year, and another rumor is Scott Howson (Blue Jackets GM) has demanded he be involved in any package for Nash.

But shoot, I’m Doug Wilson and I know that loses me some cap space. More importantly, I love the fact that we got Couture as a rookie when we worked the system to get him, starting with the Toskala trade. He came up with us and we have him for at least another 2 years. Problem is, CBJ needs another roster player. If they’re smart they’ll want Pavelski, and at $4M I could neatly package Nemo and Pavs for Nash and lose no cap space. (Side note: Mrs. Boomer, who I think would leave me if there was event a hint of a chance Pavelski would get dinner with her, would also leave me if I were Doug Wilson and traded him away). What I don’t like about this deal is A) Pavelski has captain potential, and B) he’s part of the young core I’m trying to keep around and is awesome.  Trading 2 players also leaves me with 12 spots open now instead of 11, so a bit more cap space would be great too.

Thinking of Clowe?  Guess again.  He’s my sandpaper guy in the top 6 so he’s staying put as well.

I think about moving Marleau, but he is a great skill player, a former captain who, when told, took his demotion to alternate captain like a champ. Also he’s got a no movement clause. So does Hanzus, incidentally, and, being Doug Wilson, I can’t remember why I did that. Marleau and Nash also had the same goal totals too.  The big differences, however, are that Marleau is 32 and plays for us and Rick Nash is 27 and plays for Columbus.

So I suck it up and ask Patrick, in the nicest a way possible, if he’s interested in a change of scenery.  If he waffles at all I back off immediately and donate to his favorite charity.  If he’s into it, and I think he might be, I package Marleau with Nemo and a mid-round draft pick. I LOATHE making this trade.  Marleau is a class act and I am just sick about this, I immediately pray to the Hockey Gods for forgiveness.  Mrs. Boomer doesn’t talk to me for a month.  But the upside is that we’ve just gotten younger and I’ve taken Niemi ($3.8M) and Marleau ($6.9M) and traded them for the NHL’s best power forward who’s about to hit his prime in Nash ($7.8M).  For anyone who’s not so good at math, I’ve also saved myself $2.9M in cap space.

Please know this is in no way, shape or form a call to trade Marleau, I hope he plays his entire career in teal.  Later this week I’ll be posting more on the Big Move scenario and how to fill the remaining holes in the roster.  I’ll also post some on the other possibilities:

Option 2) Make a mediocre splash.  (Odds TBD).
Option 3) Do nothing (Odds: Infinity-1).

~BB

Best actors as hockey movie characters
1) Paul Newman as Reggie Dunlop in Slap Shot
2) Leiv Schreiber as Ross Rhea in Goon
3) Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks in Miracle
4) Roy Dupuis as Maurice Richard in The Rocket
5) Jeff Carlson, Steve Carlson and Dave Hanson as The Hanson Brothers in Slap Shot
Also receiving votes: My Grandparents as extras in Youngblood
Not receiving votes: The Mighty Duck Man himself, Emilio Estevez as Gordon Bombay, Stephen Baldwin as Sean Linden in Slap Shot 2 and Bernie, Louie and Mac as Jack the Monkey in Most Valuable Primate.

Want to debate a list? Tweet me @bluelinebomber

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Tags: Antti Niemi Doug Wilson Joe Pavelski Patrick Marleau Rick Nash

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