Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Havlat Deal

The sens are playing the Blackhawks in 40 minutes, and I originally decided to post this following the game. However, after some inward reflection, I realized that this blog would have been tainted by the outcome of the game.

Thus, I present to you my analysis of the Havlat trade last summer.

What the Sens gave:

Forward - Martin Havlat

Forward - Bryan Smolinski

At the time, Martin Havlat was sending "sign me or trade" me signals to the Sens management - he was signed until the end of the 2006/07 season, and he was looking for a big boost from the 2.6 million he was making at the time.

If the sens had not traded him, undoubtedly, Havlat would have tested the free agent marked at the end of this season and the sens likely would have lost him for nothing. With their current cap space, the sens certainly would not have been able to keep him.

An interesting aspect would have been what they could have done with a bait like Havlat at this year's trade deadline. With Muckler's record, likely nothing, because he would have been more valuable in the playoffs. So in the end, we would have had him this year and lost him for nothing at the end.

Bryan Smolinski is a solid centreman with solid faceoff percentage - making 2.24 million per season. He was mostly a salary dump, but likely sweetened the pot for the 'Hawks.

(The Blackhawks resigned ol' Smoke for 1.5M for 06/07, and recently traded Smolinski to Vancouver for a conditional 2nd round draft pick)

What the Sens got:

Defenseman - Tom Preissing

Prospect/Forward - Josh Hennessy

Prospect/Defenseman - Michal Barinka

2nd round draft pick in 2008

Preissing has been a pleasant surprise this season, he's on pace for 39 points this season and is currently +33 (constantly amoung the top in the NHL this season). He's come into his own as a solid defender and something of an offensive threat. Making $600, 000 the man is one of the top bargains on the team (call him the anti-Redden). With his play this year the sens should be willing to hold onto him as one of their top 5 defensemen - probably with a boost to the 1.5 million dollar range.

Josh Hennessy has seen some playing time this season with the sens, but is mostly a work in progress - sharpening his skills with the Binghamton Senators this year.

Barinka is is rated by as potentially a top 4 defenseman, which bodes well for the young man.

The Low-down!

It's hard to say who 'won' this trade. The sens gained some nice prospects, but gave up a skillful sniper with amazing offensive prowess.

In short, the deal had to be done because there was no way that Havlat was going to sign with the sens. Did the sens get enough? No, probably not. For a player with 'Mach 9's' potential, they should have at least got a starting forward.

But this deal could very well lay the foundation of the sens team in the next 3 - 5 years. So talk to me then. For now, let's just watch the game... starting in 3 minutes.

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