You act like 40 super dazzling points are better than 40 "regular" points. Points are points, goals are offense, assists are offense, points are offense, offense is offense. The wings need offensive contributions.Filppula is making offensive contributions. Flip provides what the Wings need.
To some extent, sure, but when you're getting points based on plays that you would expect most NHL players to make out there, why pay a guy $3 million for it?
I've brought up the Larionov example before. It might seem unfair to bring up a legend here, but here me out for the point of the matter before you make too swift a judgement.
For the majority of Larionov's career, he wasn't a major goal scorer, but he was an absolutely amazing play-maker who could rack up points through mostly assists. This was his specialty and you knew he would get out there and generate plays out of nowhere because he simply was a brilliant play-maker. Igor wasn't just part of a play in progress or a guy cycling the puck to a guy who then makes a play. Igor created plays all the time, coming up with insane passes and setups out of nowhere. He had some of the best hands in the game, an uncanny sixth sense on the ice, and the guy was just plain smart, on and off the ice. He rightly earned the nickname "The Professor," though I preferred using another saying: Larionov was a magician.
I don't say this to be critical, but Flip's play-making ability doesn't hold a candle to Larionov's. If you put Larionov in Flip's situation now at Flip's age, he'd be putting up 80-90 points a season easy. As I've always said, I'm not saying we should take any of Flip's points away at all. I'm not saying Flip needs to be Larionov either. The point of the matter here is the contextual value of a point.
The big difference between a guy like Flip and a guy like Larionov is that while Flip may "earn" every point he gets, it'd be better to say that Igor Larionov "owned" every point he got. While he didn't notch a lot of goals particularly in his NHL career, I'd say conservatively 75% of the goals scored off of an Igor Larionov assist would never have occurred if not for Larionov first making a brilliant play out of nowhere. Even as he aged and declined, he was still a magical play-maker. And on top of all that, he too was a responsible two-way player.
So my point is, there is a difference between a guy who's a play-maker in the purest sense of the word and a guy who puts up a fair amount of assists. Again, I'm not saying he doesn't earn those assists by any means, but you can't look at most of the resultant goals and say that the plays happened because Flip is creating great plays. I'll give the guy all the credit in the world for being a competent enough player to be able to skate with more talented offensive guys and not clog up the process too much. As you say, there's something to be said for the fact that he's getting the assists whether he's a vital part of the play leading to a goal or not.
But I don't think you can look back on all his points since returning and the teams general play and goal totals (considering other people returning as well) and say that he is helping our team score a lot more goals and win more games. And at $3 million on this Detroit Red Wings squad, you need to be helping a lot more than I think Flip helps us solely due to the fact that his specific specialty tools, while strong, are not the tools we need right now.
If Filppula is always going to be a third line center on this team, then yes, trade him by all means (otherwise, absolutely not). But I don't think he'll always be a third line center. The past 2 seasons, the last games the wings have played feature Filppula on the second line. I think this says a lot about how the lines should be set up.
I think it's real tough to make such a point with that statement. Is it indicative of what the best long-run situation should be or indicative of the fact that in the most important games, the must-win games, you're going to gamble a bit more and ice the best line possible as much as you can to finish the job? I'd say it's the latter.
We can't afford to always ice a line with both Datsyuk and Zetterberg on it. Now more than ever with the cap weighing on us so heavily. It'll happen from time to time out of necessity when the game's on the line or nothing else is working, but it's far from the ideal. Babcock's been quoted in the paper as saying that many times, and just recently even, I believe in reference to splitting them again once Franzen returns. They were only put together again lately to try and get Z going after injury. It's not a permanent thing and it never was.
And honestly, look at how it's gone for Z and Dats. They have hardly been an offensive powerhouse when teamed together this year. They've had a couple good games and a lot of games where they weren't doing much. If you're going to put $13 million on one line, they've got to be putting up far better numbers than they have this year. If they were both playing at a 50 goal, 100 point-plus pace, it'd be one thing, but they're not. Not even close.
95% of the time moving forward, you're going to see Datsyuk and Zetterberg centering their own lines. Make no mistake about it.
Another reason to move Flip over other players aside from his $3 million cap hit: of all the non-superstar guys, he'd bring the best return because as said, to many teams, he'd be a far more important piece of the puzzle.
Again, can't say it enough, I don't dislike Flip near as much as I don't think he's a good fit for this Detroit Red Wings team at his salary. That's the bottom line.
Edited by gcom007, 07 February 2010 - 09:42 PM.