Thursday, February 22, 2007

Greasing The Wheels #2: Zubrus And Nycholat For Prucha

For our second installment of Rink Deadline Matchmaker, I thought I'd tackle the big name - Dainius Zubrus. As we know, Zubrus believes that he'll find some team to pay him more than he's worth. There's one team out there with a history of doing just that, so why not make a match - Zubrus and Lawrence Nycholat to the Rangers for Petr Prucha.

What New York needs: a versatile forward who can center or play wing on a scoring line and depth on the blueline. The Rangers are in danger of missing the playoffs, and with Brendan Shanahan's availability uncertain for the near future, they have to do something soon.

What New York gets: one of the top point-producing forwards on the market who can center the #1 line (and allow Martin Straka to continue to play his more natural wing) or play the wing on the second line in Shanny's absence (or center the second line and allow Michael Nylander to center the first), as well as a depth defenseman with offensive skills that spent significant time in the Rangers system and whom they openly covet.

What Washington gets: Prucha, a 24-year-old right wing, had a surprisingly good 30-goal rookie season in 2005-06, but has seen his ice-time and responsibility drop precipitously in 2006-07 (to the point where guys like Blair Betts are getting more minutes). Prucha, who "owns a sweet pair of hands, and plenty of shiftiness to go along with it," and "plays a feisty game and never backs down from opponents" was rumored to be headed to Pittsburgh in exchange for Ryan Malone earlier in the season, but that never materialized. A restricted free agent at year's end, the Rangers may not want to risk having to pay for Prucha's 30-goal rookie year rather than his 14-goal sophomore follow-up. And, as noted before, at this point in the Caps' rebuild, the focus has to shift from acquiring picks to acquiring players.

Recent trade history: The Caps and Rangers made a trade back in January of 2004, but I can't recall the particulars thereof.

The Bottom Line: The Rangers need to do something or they're going to miss the playoffs. Much of the change must come from within, but some of it, especially in light of Shanahan's injury, probably needs to come from outside the organization. The team likely won't move blue-chippers Marc Staal or Al Montoya, but with the recent emergence of Marcel Hossa and the acquisition of Pascal Dupuis, Prucha may be expendable for a veteran forward who's both more versatile and cheaper than the big names on the market. And who knows - maybe the Rangers will give Zubrus the 5-year/$22.5 million contract he thinks he deserves.

As for the Caps, as I've said before, if they can't re-sign Zubrus, they absolutely must trade him. They cannot risk losing him for nothing, and a talented, young right-wing is a lot more than nothing.


faux rumors said...

1) That deal works just fine, but the Rangers would probably want a slightly better defenseman than Nycholat to go along with a rented Zubie to ship off an asset like Prucha.
2) If GMGM gets that offered, he should jump all over it. Prucha's been misused by Renney all year. Pretty good PP/offensive talent.

Unknown said...

Sub in Heward or Erskine, good 'nuff.

Anonymous said...

sorry jp but thats a bad trade, prucha sucks and we(I) dont want him, i wouldnt even trade him for zubie straight up, forget about nycholat. yesterdays hypothetical was much better. Prucha!?

Anonymous said...

and i had never even heard of edler, but still better

JP said...

As I see it, there are two underlying points:

1) Can't let Zubie walk for nothing.

2) Enough with picks already. This is a weak draft, the team has a less-than-stellar draft record and prospects take too long. I want someone who can play in the NHL next year or the year after, latest.

Anonymous said...

"Greasing the Wheels" is fun and well thought out. Keep 'em coming.

JP said...

GMGM, is that you? :)

Thanks - anyone you want to see shipped out? I'll see what I can come up with.

faux rumors said...

1) Hmm, who should be 'shipped out'?
a) Brian Sutherby
b) Ben Clymer
c) Matt Bradley
d) Jamie Heward
e) Brian Muir
2) Won't get much back for most of those, but no one would miss them if they never played another game in black and gold

JP said...

I disagree. They don't hand out letters randomly in the NHL, so that "A" on Sutherby's chest means that he's earned a heckuva lot of respect within the organization.

So someone would miss him.

It just wouldn't be me.

Allen Popels said...

I agree that we need something other than draft picks for Zubrus, but basically trading him straight up for Prucha is not enough.

JP said...

Well, then, what do you guys think a rental Zubrus is worth in trade?

Nagy went for a borderline-NHL forward and a late first-round pick.

Forsberg went for a checker, an excellent prospect and late 1st and 3rd round picks.

Korolyuk went for a 3rd round pick (though that deal is fishy).

Conroy went for a borderline-NHL forward and 2nd and 4th round picks.


So I'll ask again - what's Zubie worth in trade? Are you sure that a guy who has 44 goals in his first 126 NHL games despite getting crap minutes this year is too little to ask for (and, FWIW, Semin has 41 goals in his first 109 NHL games)?

Anonymous said...

you make a strong point jp, but in this case it comes down to way more than just numbers. zubrus is more valuable for all of the intangables he brings to the caps off the ice, which have been discussed repeatedly in conversations like this, as well as his physical presence and abilities on the ice.
He has proven that he CAN be both a productive 1-2 line center or winger, the sort of versatility that is highly coveted. He has good size, is defensively strong and can play both the pp and pk. Dont get me wrong, i dont think zubie is a superstar nor will he ever be, but i do believe he is a very good player and a strong asset to any team. I am still torn myself as to whether of not we should keep him and hope, or try and get at least something for him now, but i do know that prucha or any player of the like just wont replace what zubrus brings.

JP said...

I totally agree. I'd love for the Caps to be able to resign him - at a reasonable price. I'm just afraid that they won't trade him, then won't be able to agree on a deal and they'll have let a valuable asset go for nothing.

Believe me, I will be thrilled if Zubrus signs a 4 year/$12m deal before next Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

I think that goes for just about everyone. Hopefully zubie likes the idea too

JP said...

Prucha scored a goal tonight. Zubie did not.


Allen Popels said...


Anonymous said...

3 mil for Zubrus? Are you kidding? Heatly, Datzyuk, & Brindamore all make less than 4 and Zubrus isn't a pimple on their butt. Come on what does he do besides give up the puck? So what if OV occasionally can bounce the puck of his big fat ass into the net once in a while? When was th last time he set anyone up with a great pass? Heck when was the last time he made a good pass out of the defensive zone? Prucha? I might take a visit from Prucha to the Caps dressing room the next time we play the Rangers for Zubrus. Zubrus looks like a good hockey player, until you see him on the ice!