Taking off from the sellers idea in an earlier post, I wanted to look at the team now and compare it with what might be a post-sell roster.
As it stands, we've got 4 legit top 6 forwards (7,9,11,19) and two players producing like top-6 forwards that are better suited to 3rd (scoring) line roles on a contender, rounding out the top two lines (14, 71). Our current 3rd line is producing well; 15 and 22 being young enough to hold on to through the deadline, while 25 is valuable in his role but has been asked to expand that role (to the detriment of the team Imo i.e. 1st unit PP time on a regular basis). The 4th line is simply not what you find on contending teams.
On D, 65 and 2 are hopefully here for the next decade and both are still raw enough to expect significant growth over the next few years; 4 is probably here for a while and if given the right partner, he can be a significant asset to this team; 55 is having a bounce back year but I don't think anyone can debate that his foot speed and game sense is on a significant decline; 17's value is likely higher than it was 3 years ago but he's been one of our most consistent performers; 39 is cheap and would be adequate as a 6-7 but not on a contender.
In the crease, the 1 is getting worked pretty hard, but he's played well and made some big saves at important times; BBAA isn't exactly getting many chances to prove he's a capable backup, but he seems comfortable in the role he's been given. If he can be moved for a reasonable asset, you look into it.
The key pieces on this team for this years playoff run are 14-19-9, x-7-11, 22-15-25; 2-65, x-4, Neo
Everything else should be in play. That means 71, 23, 28, 16, 17, 55, 39, 5, BBAA are all movable assets, along with all of our picks. Organizational needs moving forward (i.e. beyond this year) are 2 top-6 wingers, 2 top-4 D (one of each type preferably) and 4th line +3rd pairing (which can be filled relatively easily, either via FA or from within).
Realistically, most of those pieces will remain property of the Senators at this deadline, however several are FAs. Package-pieces include 71, 16 (who still holds value despite the sophomore slump), 17, 55, and 5; while 23, 28, 39, and BBAA are unlikely to net anything to make moving them worthwhile. Also those 4 are key character guys and important pieces to the locker room vibe... That being said, I`d still look into a change at those positions.
This is the way I'd like to see it happen:
I'm leery of FA's performing well in contract years. Kuba has good value and the market for top-4 D is pretty thin. He could probably fetch a late 1st or a 2nd and a mid-level prospect that could help Bingo. The mistake of 3 years ago should not be repeated and Kuba should be dealt.
Gonchar is not impressing me lately (as in the last 2 months). I defended this guy ad nauseum in the first 2 months, but his act has worn thin. His foot speed results in him being out of position on a regular basis which requires his partner(s) and forwards to compensate, leaving them out of position, resulting in goals against. He also isn't doing anything impressive on the PP, which is why he was brought here in the first place. He could probably return the same as Kuba. If one is moved, the other probably shouldn't be, but I wouldn't be against moving both. There isn`t one player on the team that I would rather move than Gonchar.
If it's possible to package any of Foligno, Butler, Lee with our 1st, 3rd (or the return from a Kuba/Gonchar trade) for a young top-4 D or a young top-6 winger with significant upside, then it should be done. I don't expect it, but it would fit with the rebuild and should really be the goal of this deadline, anyways.
If a deal comes along for one the others (Daug, Konopka, Carkner, Auld) that nets slightly more than their value or opens up a roster spot for a top performer in Bingo, then it should be looked into.
Some of you will say that we'll be looking for a player like Kuba or Gonchar as soon as they're moved, and you'd be right... but neither of them is a peak performer that can't be replaced... We aren't a Cup contender with this D-corps... Winning asap is important, but the long term plan should take precedence. If we get rid of both contracts, those cap dollars will have to be filled in the off-season just to get us to the floor, so we'll be buying on July 1 anyways.
One idea I really like is getting a guy like Zidlicky for something like a 4th and Wideman, then sending either Gonchar or Kuba to a western contender for their late 1st or 2nd and/or a prospect. Zid's been stiffled in that sytem and he plays a more dynamic game than either of our guys, while being a little weaker in his own zone. Ideally Gonchar would be the one moved with Zids replacing Kuba as the secondary guy leading the late minute charge that seems oh so common for this team.
I`m assuming the potential to get an upgrade on the wing (left primarily) in the form of a young top-6er is slim, as is getting a young top-4 defender with two way ability and offensive potential. So I`ll avoid the homerun fantasy and assume the Foligno`s and Butler`s of the team will remain with us. In the long run, they may prove to have higher offensive upside than 25-25 (which is certainly acceptable for a 2nd liner on an average playoff team). Having watched them both for the past two years though (longer with regard to Foligno) it`s unlikely they exceed those numbers. If it takes our 1st rounder and one of them to significantly upgrade our current situation on LW, it should be done. I assume it won`t happen, though.
The 4th line and 3rd pairing should be improved whenever possible. With inconsistent scoring prowess in the top-6, we really need more offensive skill in the bottom 6 to compensate. I would suggest that a 4th line of Hoffman-Da Costa-Petersson would benefit this team more than the current one, despite the fact that it wouldn`t fit the classical playing style of 4th lines. If they could produce 1-2 goal(s) every 3 games, they would help take a significant amount of pressure off the top-9, while the top-9 has enough crash and bang to handle those duties.
On D, Boro`s the only option in the system that can reasonably receive a promotion---Boro-Lee is a decent 3rd pairing, or Lee and Phillips, Boro-Kuba, Cowen-Karlsson (best option given what we have to work with Imo) would be an improvement over the current construct.
Nothing really new here...just my take. Felt like writing, so I did. Let me know what you think. :)