Tuesday, July 25, 2006

More sniping...

Here's a best case scenario...

Tomorrow is Toni Lydman's arbitration hearing. The man Buffalo acquired from Calgary for a paltry 3rd round draft pick payed great dividends for the Sabres this past year, especially in the playoffs. Averaging 24.05 minutes per game, Lydman led all Sabres in ATOI, ES TOI, and PK TOI while playing on Buffalo's top pairing throughout their 18 game run.

And get this: He finished at plus freaking 14. He and Tallinder were basically the Sabres' ES and PK version of Chris Pronger. What happens tomorrow in arbitration is anybody's guess but if I were Kevin Lowe, I'd get on the phone with Buffalo ASAFP.

Obviously, a lot of things would have to go right for Lydman to end up as an Oiler. Buffalo would really have to believe that they are heading far enough over budget to warrant action. Buffalo would have to decide trading Lydman for prospects or picks would be the best way out (as opposed to, say, a sign-and-trade of Maxim Afinogenov or somesuch other high-counting player who disappeared in the playoffs).

And last but not least, Lowe would have to be able to offer the best deal. What does Buffalo need? How deep is their prospect pool? Am I bat-shit crazy for even wanting this to happen?

And have I just written an entire post that is less than a page in length?

27 Comments:

Anonymous namflashback said...

sadly, you answered your own question. 10 to 1 odds that Sabres management make the same call you just did ---

"If I have to choose one of Afinigenov OR Lydman . . . "

7/25/2006 11:42 am  
Anonymous namflashback said...

although, i forgot to add, it is a little dreamy to imagine Lydman on our blue line making SUTTER EAT IT 8 times next season (by stuffing Tanginla).

7/25/2006 11:43 am  
Blogger Showerhead said...

Oh come on, you passed up Igin-gay? Are you mature or something?

I will admit though... I can't help but think that it's a pipe dream. If Buffalo can even halfway realize what he brought them then they'll find a way to keep him unless he gets a scary award. Even that isn't too likely considering his low PP ice time and stats.

Mind you, Eklund seems to think something big is brewing...

7/25/2006 12:39 pm  
Anonymous namflashback said...

oh, shit -- i must be getting old, i didn't even think of "Igin-gay."

UFA D are certainly having their day in the sun this season. RFA D's don't seem to be getting overpaid. RFA forwards on the other hand . . .

Pipe dream for Lydman -- but certainly someone has to shake free in Buffalo.

While they made some playoff revenue -- i'm sure Regier's player budget is not unlimited. I'm guessing $36M.

He spent about 28M last year, and i already close to $36 with re-ups and the Spacek deal.

7/25/2006 1:14 pm  
Blogger Showerhead said...

Well, the Sabres could ice the following lineup for $24.75 Million USD (actual dollars, not cap hit).

Peters-Drury-Kotalik
Vanek-Briere-Hecht
Peters-Roy-

Spacek-Numminen
Paetsch-Campbell

Biron

That leaves Afinogenov, Connolly, Dumont, Gaustad, Lydman, Mair, Miller, Pominville, and Tallinder to fill out their roster into a very solid looking club. Unfortunately for the Sabres, I can't see it happening for less than $40 Million USD which may be out of their reach.

7/25/2006 1:42 pm  
Anonymous namflashback said...

tsn reports Tallinder has agreed to terms.

you're definitely on to something. There are at least a couple of players on that list that are likely to go . . .

Afinigenov and Miller seem likely to get very health raises.

7/25/2006 1:49 pm  
Blogger Showerhead said...

I saw that Tallinder bit on TSN but I couldn't find a number so I left him out of the certainty pile. Tallinder's stats are very similar to Lydman's - Without knowing the details offhand, I can only imagine that his contract number will have some bearing on what Lydman gets.

When I first started looking at Buffalo's roster, I'd honestly just assumed they would keep their D and a forward or two would go. I still expect that to be the case but at this point, there is no forward (aside from Drury at just over 3M) that I could be convinced to want more than Lydman.

And of course, who's to say that Regeir doesn't surprise us all and just sign to the cap or pull some kind of CBA altering-voodoo out that only Devils fans believe is possible?

7/25/2006 2:02 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Tallinder's listed at $1.6MM for this season on NHLPA.com.

I like Lydman a lot and so do many of the other IOFers, but I can't really imagine Buffalo letting him go. Surely they want some Numminen insurance and would rather that Paetsch be on the third pair?

7/25/2006 2:06 pm  
Blogger Showerhead said...

RiversQ - you make perfect sense. Do you know how comparable Tallinder and Lydman's contracts are? If that's the price Lydman gets I can see no way that Buffalo lets him go... Truth be told, even at twice that I can see the Sabres thinking that at least it's better than UFA pricing.

7/25/2006 2:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think buffalo would let go of kalinin before lydman, and i wouldn't mind if the oilers got either of them

-peca37

7/25/2006 3:00 pm  
Anonymous namflashback said...

fyi Ales Hemsky 6 year contract

7/25/2006 3:26 pm  
Blogger Bretzky81 said...

Hope the gamble on Hemsky will pay. If he keeps developing like he has then by year 3 of this contract we have a steal of a deal (rumoured to be about $4mil per year) Little more grit (learn from Lupul) and SHOOT THE PUCK we could have a 100 point man for less than some teams pay for far less.

7/25/2006 3:55 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Apparently Tallinder got 4yrs, $10.4MM, which means it really ramps up after this year. Lydman could get more than that couldn't he? Maybe they would consider walking away?

7/25/2006 4:02 pm  
Blogger Asiaoil said...

The Tallinder cap hit is about $2.5 million - here is the BUF salary commitments for now:

http://hockeyanalysis.com/?page_id=328

Biron and Afinogenov or dman would seem to be logical sacrifices - but trading a $3 million Afinogenov may not be easy (if he gets that much)

7/25/2006 4:06 pm  
Blogger Showerhead said...

Hmm, interesting stuff RiversQ and asiaoil. It really does seem like Buffalo has enough options to get rid of salary (that Biron trade seems inevitable, doesn't it?) that are all better choices than letting Lydman walk. Even if they do decide he's not in their plans, can anyone come up with a reason they'd choose letting him walk over a sign-and-trade?

7/26/2006 10:46 am  
Blogger Showerhead said...

According to Looob at HF (I am not sure how many o's he carries) Lydman just signed a 4 year, 11.5 million dollar contract with the Sabres.

It appears you were right, Rivers, he did get paid more than Tallinder. It would be interesting to know the structure of each deal.

7/27/2006 9:53 am  
Blogger Showerhead said...

PS - in slight response to a post of yours at HF, my knowledge of Stoll's sheltering comes from common sense, observation (thank God Peca played reasonably well in the playoffs) and two other things:

1) When the playoffs ended, I typed "16" into that friendly little box on our sidebar, and

2) Vic's post way down below regarding diffulty of opposition faced.

Since I can't post at HF, good luck with the Stoll argument down there ;)

Also, if Lupul and Malone are comparables, AND Lupul's negotiations are sane in context of his limited bargaining power, I think his contract ends up looking quite good short term at least.

7/27/2006 9:57 am  
Anonymous YKOil said...

Has no one thought of 'Ingayla'?

Other than that, and the fact that I think Buffalo will actually trade Biron to Detroit - thereby alleviating both teams weaknesses (Detroit goaltending / Buffalo cheapness) - I do wish Edmonton would get in on the Buffalo sweetness.

Since I hate the Roloson contract with a freakin' passion I would love to see Lowe flip Roloson to Detroit and then see Lowe scoop Biron (or even just sign Legace) and Kalinin out of Buffalo.

That's just me though. Next up would be the heartbreaker... trading Pisani... love the kid but HATE the 2.5. Problem is that we CANNOT trade him as we just signed him. GAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

sigh

Only off-season contract I like so far is Hemsky and Tjarnqvist. Reasoner = too short (s/b 4 years). Horcoff = too short (s/b 4 years, even if 200k more or so). Pisani = too much (by 500 to 700k). Roloson = too much AND too long. Stoll = too short for the dollar figure (at 2.2 it s/b 4 or 5 years).

Sorry, wrong blog post for this rant I guess. Well.. at least I still have Ingayla.

7/27/2006 10:22 am  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Showerhead: Yeah, I'm done over there. There are still a few rational posters over there and it's easy to have a reasonable disagreement with them, but once the idiots chime in, it quickly becomes a waste of time.

They've actually made some good points though. Basically I'd rather pay Stoll $400K less on a one year deal and roll the dice for subsequent years.

Sweet contract for Lydman. I can't see them moving him now because it's just a sweet deal. Maybe Kalinin is a possibility though? I have no idea why he didn't file for arbitration. Anyone know?

Malone looks like a good comp on the surface but I'm really not sure that he is a good one. The guy's 26yrs old, so his FA status comes into play.

Normally I would say that years of service and games played matter far more than age, but in that case it's a special consideration.Also, he's played quite a lot of minutes, so his ESP/hr rates are much lower than Lupul's.

YKOil: I have no choice but to agree on Roloson. I think he's the right guy and to be honest, he'll earn the money but the Oilers missed an opportunity to let the market work for them. It probably cost them about $600K in cap hit.

I think I'll disagree on Pisani though. He's got pretty nice numbers and it looks like he'll fill Dvorak's shoes next year. If he plays more minutes with that stupidly low GAA, he'll be worth the dough. Maybe not to the lay man though - the only way people don't get pissed at him is if he nets 20+ goals.

Besides the Stoll deal, which I flat out do not like, I think Lowe has done well with the rest of the deals.

7/27/2006 11:41 am  
Blogger Showerhead said...

On the Lydman front:

"Lydman, a five-year NHL veteran, will make $2.3 million next season, $2.9 million in 2007-08 and $3.15 million in each of the next two years." - TSN.ca

It's a good contract but I wonder if the backloading is more to do with Buffalo's budget situation than an expectation Lydman is going to be worth almost $1M more a few seasons from now than he is today. I really can't see him being moved.

I will, however, start doing some surface-scratching on the Kalinin front.

7/27/2006 1:02 pm  
Blogger Showerhead said...

Hmmm, Kalinin is an interesting one. Be warned - the following post jumps around a bit and is reasonably rambly.

The total TOI/game of Buffalo's defensemen tends to all be in the high teens - they didn't lean on any one pairing that much more than the rest in the regular season or playoffs.

Kalinin's minute distribution doesn't ever place him higher than Buffalo's bottom pair at even strength. That's a bit disconcerting at first. He got the 3rd most PP minutes of the Sabres' D (per game) in both the regular season and playoffs. He also doesn't spend much time on the penalty kill.

To me, he's not a perfect fit in Edmonton but not a bad one either. In Buffalo, he played bottom pairing minutes which doesn't necessarily mean they were soft but they definitely couldn't have been that tough considering who is ahead of him in the pecking order. In Edmonton, he would need to be capable of playing top four minutes in a reliable fashion in addition to his second-group PP duties.

Can he do it? IMO yes - he may have played the softer minutes but he did very well with them, leading Buffalo D in the regular season with a +14 and posting a respectable +4 in 8 games in the post season. I think at the age of 26 he's ready to graduate to top-four minutes and Edmonton would be an ideal place for him to take his next step. The one big question mark is whether or not he can play the PK minutes our roster would demand of him.

Can you come up with some rates that support/counter what I'm saying here?

7/27/2006 1:32 pm  
Anonymous Meg said...

The deal with Kalinin (although I have no numbers or anything to provide) is that he's very inconsistent. He was actually expected to step up as Buffalo's top defenseman this past year and, as you can see, that didn't happen. Part of that could be attributed to all his injury problems, but he also had a bad start to the season. Towards the end of the year and into the playoffs is when he started playing well. Being paired with Numminen also seemed to help him.

Anyway, he's got plenty of upside but he needs to figure out how to play well for a complete season.

7/28/2006 12:06 am  
Blogger Showerhead said...

Well, I just had a look at Buffalo's salary commitments for the 06/07 season (actual dollars, not cap) and I can't honestly see them needing to get rid of anyone. Assuming that Mair, Dumont, and Afinogenov get 6 between them, Buffalo would still have just under $3M to tie up Miller and Kalinin and stay under $36M. I can't see the Sabres needing a payroll any cheaper than that when you consider their playoff run and their reasonable chances at making it to at least the 2nd round next season.

7/31/2006 8:47 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if those 3 get 6m buffalo will be at 38m...

7/31/2006 2:04 pm  
Blogger Showerhead said...

Am I missing a two-way contract or few? I am getting my numbers from TSN.

7/31/2006 2:19 pm  
Anonymous YKOil said...

Off TSN I get a number (with Briere) of ~ 32.4; for 16 players. Mair, Afinogenov, Dumont, Kalinin and Miller are the big names that remain.

Signing them brings the roster to 21 and would probably cost ~ 10 million or so. Add two min-pay players to flesh out the 23 spots and the budget is ~ 43.3.

Buffalo's best hope is to sign them to escalating deals (a la Hemsky) that will allow them to ease the budget load and brush up on the Cap limit. They can then deal with the Briere hit at their leisure. Given the fat on their roster (Biron) and the Numminen expiry they should be okay next year when only Briere, Drury and Vanek are up for new contracts. Year after that though...

Best bet for them imo is to deal one of Briere or Drury . That team will never be able to afford two guys making 5 million+ -especially when they will eventually have to pay Miller the big bucks. Briere is the danger spot as his salary will never decrease from the 5 million and given his injury issues he will probably only be worth that salary one year in three. For me that = trade bait. Let some other team overpay for his potential to get a point a game.

I did see one poster at HF Buffalo float a Dumont for Vishnevsky trade proposal. Not bad really. Buffalo gets the snarky d-man they need (plus the depth) and Anaheim gets a forward they could use to help replace Lupul. Also, Dumont will make more after arb than Vish will so Buffalo gets a valuable salary shave. Look at the Buffalo prospect depth chart - LOTS of forwards but very few d-men.

8/01/2006 12:53 am  
Blogger Showerhead said...

great stuff YKOil - with the Afinogenov number as well as assuming Buffalo accepts Dumont and Briere's arbitration awards, I've got the Sabres at $38.26M and still needing to sign Kalinin, Mair, and Miller. Things could be changing in Buffalo after all!

It will be interesting to see how they respond. As you say, it appears that there are some legitimate options for dropping salary - ie Biron but you have to wonder what salary would be coming back the Sabres' way? If these numbers go any higher, it should also be noted that there are enough back-loaded contracts to mean that Buffalo may even be scraping the cap ceiling for a while.

Finally, I wonder if Lowe is stalling on VV (assuming he's interested at all) because he thinks someone from Buffalo may become available? I hope Lowetide's trade flurry comes to fruition and the Oilers end up better off for it.

8/02/2006 12:30 pm  

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