Five Thoughts for Friday: Buyouts and Benchbosses

Let's solve the goaltending, find a coach, and be emotionally irrational hockey fans

Five Thoughts for Friday: Buyouts and Benchbosses
Photo by Sincerely Media / Unsplash

It's a Friday and you can count to five, which means you want that many thoughts. Here you go.

1. To Buyout or not to Buyout

Joonas Korpisalo has been arguably the league's worst goalie this season (I don't think Jack Campbell counts as part of this league). His combination of being well, well below average paired with his above-average salary​ have Sens fans wondering what are even the options next year. It's pretty clear there's three options: buyout, trade, or stand pat. ​The buyout option has proven popular for many; after all, the team just owes him $1.3M per year for 8 years then. The cap hit maxes out at $2.83M in Year 4. It's not egregious. That being said, 8 years is a long time. Think abour how the Sens would've been better off this year if they didn’t still have Ryan, Del Zotto, and White on the books. Buyouts can look shortsighted in retrospect. Trading him would require a sweetener, likely a first-rounder. It doesn’t make sense for the Sens, who have traded their last two first-round picks away and will lose another in the near future, to throw another away. Maybe you can retain salary and trade him away for a lesser pick. I'd obviously rather lose a 3rd-rounder and only pay him $2M for 4 years, but that seems doubtful. And let's also remember he has a 10-team no-trade clause, so a team like Arizona that might help out for a lower pick is almost certainly a no from him. The last option is keeping him. That's a move that doesnt inspire confidence, but goalies are volatile and maybe he rebounds next year. If he doesn't, you get Option 3A, which is waiving him for ~$1M in cap relief, as is actually going on with Campbell. I actually think this might be your best bet. He's off thr books in 4 years, the cap hit isn't much higher than if you buy him out or retain salary, and you keep your picks. If he regains his form, great, you call him back up. If not, you can revisit trades or buying him out at any future date, when it's a little easier to stomach. I hate to say it, but I think the best move is to do nothing with Korpisalo unless an easy option presents himself. A benefit of new ownership is that burying him in the minors seems like an actual possibility.

2. And Don't Fors-get

Lost in the shuffle of how bad Korpisalo has been is that Anton Forsberg has been worse on a per-game basis. It's a little easier to swallow since he only has one year left and makes 30% less money, but it's still a problem. It's not that surprising, given he has 155 games in the NHL, and outside of one 50-game stretch with the Sens, he's been a replacement-level goalie. If the Sens get a goalie improvement option over the summer, I actually think you either retain salary and trade or else buy out Forsberg. Paying him a million dollars for one or two years is probably more worth it. It sucks to say because he seems like a great guy and waiver success stories are great, but, as the old cliché goes, at the end of the day it's a business.

Bruce Garrioch revealed his list of the most likely next coach of the Sens. Garrioch's insider knowledge has dropped precipitously since Melnyk and Dorion stopped being with the team, but it's still at least worth looking at. Todd McLellan and Craig Berube were names I expected to see; I'd wondered if Bruce Boudreau or Lindy Ruff would also show up. I'm not a huge fan of recycling coaches, and I'm not high on those two guys, but the Sens absolutely should hire someone with some experience. It says a lot that the last Sens head coach to then coach another team was Jacques Martin, who was fired in 2004. This team needs to show it can actually pay the money it takes for a desirable head coach to come in.

4. Irration-Alfie-rs

Alfie’s admitted he's got bit by the coaching bug, and all I can think is I don't want that because coaches inevitably get fired. Same reason I don't want him as GM. I want him around this team forever in an unfirable role. The more I think about it, the more I realize that's irrational of me. I should want Alfie to be where he wants to be and in a role that most helps​ the team. Avalanche fans had to watch Patrick Roy leave. Someday I'm guessing Steve Yzerman will get fired by the Red Wings. Franchise legends do get fired. Maybe it's a little different because Ottawa only has one legend at this point. But mostly, it's that I get emotional about the Sens. It's the same reason I can acknowledge Erik Karlsson isn't a good fit for this team right now and yet I want him back 100%. I want Alfie around forever; he probably won't be if he becomes a permanent coach; thus, I get sad about a hypothetical that follows a hypothetical. The more terrifying thought though is that if he wants to coach and the Sens hold him back, he could get poached by another team. My brain can't help but come up with more devastating hypotheticals.

5. ​See Ya, Adzija

I think we got lulled into a false sense of trade security by the lack of PWHL trade action in general. We were all told nothing much was going to happen before the deadline. We also got attached to these inaugural players like they were all never going to leave. All this worked together to make the Lexie Adzija trade feel awful. She was a fan favourite, she was a surprise feel-good story on a team that struggled, and we weren't prepared at all. I was even thinking that if I got an Ottawa jersey, it would quite possibly be hers I'm sure we'll live through more heartbreak in general as the PWHL continues; first breakups sting disproportionately, after all. ​Just, as established in the previous point, I'm an emotionally irrational hockey fan. This one felt bad and I want to be mad about it, even if it probably won't feel like that big a deal 5 years from now. I would like to point out though that, whatever your take on the trade, Beata had the most important analysis:

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