I don't want Spezza on this team, but this plus minus talk is silly. You can't use his -26 this year against him and then fail to give him credit for his career +53. He's got a better career plus minus than Mike Richards, who was a finalist for the Selke Trophy.
Either it's a terrible stat and shouldn't be used at all, or it's a good enough stat which has to be used to validate a player just as much as it's used to denigrate them.
Personally, I don't think Spezza's a great defensive player. BUT, he's better than his -26 indicated this season, and he's probably worse than his career high +26 indicates as well.
It's a limited stat. That's how I think of it. It can tell you something, but, generally, don't take it at face value. Case in point: Jason Spezza this season. The Sens sucked this season. (Apologies to the resident Sens fan.) They absolutely leaked goals. Neither of their goalies could stop a beach ball. And yet, Spezza was, I think (haven't formally checked), about a point-per-game player. So, on the second line of a defensively responsible team like the Wings? I tend to think he'd be a difference-maker, without having the baggage of a captaincy and being The Guy. If I'm Spezza, that's what I want.
What happened to the Ducks? I thought they were in on him? That'd be an interesting match.
Francine straight up for Spezza I would do in an instant. Toss in Kindl if needed.
Take away the 15 goals Franzen's going to score against the Sens every season and they become a playoff team.
If you sign a veteran back-up, you have P-mraz ready when both goalies inevitably get hurt. If Mrazek's your back-up, you have McCollum or Paterson in GRs. You want to call one of those guys up to start a game in the NHL?
Same goes for the defence. Leave those kids in GRs as long as you can. How awesome is it that if any D-men get hurt, you can depend on Ouellet, Backman, Marchenko, and Sproul to be legit quality replacements?
Well, full disclosure: I'm biased. I really like Mrazek, a lot. I think he's good enough right now to be a starter in the NHL. I'd like to see him make his case for being our #1.
Brodeur hasn't been good for years now. Even as a backup I don't see the point in bringing him here.
Honestly, I'd rather Mrazek get the backup job. Goalies can't just jump into the starting role, and they all have to backup at some point. So the AHL argument about "getting experience" doesn't really hold in this case. Better for him to get 30 games in the NHL than 60 in the AHL at this point.
I say bring Mrazek up and give him every opportunity to steal the starting job from Howard. I don't care if Kenny was brough up too soon and it scarred him for life and now he's trying to protect this young goalie or whatever. Mrazek is awesome.
It's almost like there's this cosmic plan unfolding. That the universe has "course-corrected" so that we can not only acquire a top-four defenseman, but do so comfortably. Think about it. The unreal number of injuries revealing four top-six-worthy kids in Nyquist, Tatar, Sheahan, Jurco. Nyquist setting the world on fire. The kid line turning heads. Mantha - the kind of prospect any GM would kill for - being handed to us on a silver platter and then silencing his critics with a monster season. The six young NHL-ready defensemen, all of whom are looking like former first-round picks. Tyler Bertuzzi having the season he had. Glendening showing his mettle against Stamkos and Crosby. Athanasiou looking like a potential top-sixer. Pulkkinen tearing it up for the Griffins. DeKeyser choosing the Wings. A team like, I dunno, the Sens would probably love to have Andersson or Almqvist or Callahan or Ferraro.
Full credit to Team Holland on this front. Having this many promising young assets while always making the playoffs and never picking in the top twelve and never rebuilding - it's incredible, absolutely incredible. But my point is, it almost seems too perfect, doesn't it? It's like this had to happen. Is there perhaps some defenseman out there who's supposed to become a Wing and help lead us to glory? Or is the idea that we truly have all we need, and those special players - say, Ouellet and Pulkkinen - are going to rise to the surface this season and turn us into a contender?
Maybe I have it backwards with my Holland bashing. Maybe the bold, risky course of action is pushing for that one last Cup for Datsyuk using only what we have. I guess the argument could be made that anyone can pull off a trade, but not just anyone can amass the kind of young talent we have in our system. Hmmm.
To be clear, I'm not saying we need to sign Dan Boyle. Even if he's game for a two-year deal with us (not likely), I believe we can do better. That's where I really agree with you, kip. We can do better, at least in theory. We have tons of assets. We have about as much cap space as we're ever going to have (because this is about as close to rebuilding as we're going to get). We can get that top-four defenseman on the right side of 30.
I get wanting to hold on to your prospects, but we're looking at a logjam anyway. Kindl, Lashoff, Almqvist, Ouellet, Sproul, Marchenko, Backman, Jensen, maybe even Smith - these guys are competing for, at absolute most, three spots.
The best argument against signing Boyle for more than one season is that, barring injury, only one of our kids is going to get a legitimate shot over that span of time, assuming Smith isn't traded. I can respect that. At the same time, you have to weigh it against pushing for the Cup. It's not that I don't think we can push for the Cup with a couple of kids on the back end. I just think it's unlikely, versus what we might get from a name talent. Yeah, Boyle isn't the player he once was, but he's still valuable.
The Wings aren't on the same level as the Sharks. We could really use a Dan Boyle. How does having him on the second pairing for a couple years hurt us? Are we that high on our kids that we feel we need Ouellet and Marchenko taking the hypothetical two spots available or we're not going to be able to compete for the Cup?
Kronwall, Ericsson, DeKeyser, Smith, a kid, someone from the outside. That's probably what our blue line should look like next season. If that someone from the outside is Dan Boyle, that's not a bad thing. If he falters, he gets hurt - then guess what: we can bring up a kid. Win-win.
At the time, Nyquist + Smith + a 1st would've been borderline insulting. "We want your cornerstone defenseman, but we don't want to give up a key roster player to get him." Or, basically, "I think you might be an idiot."