Saturday, February 21, 2009

Point/Counterpoint: The Comrie/Campoli deal

Peter: Likes the deal

It's difficult for me to say this, but I think it's a pretty good deal for the Ottawa Senators. As much as I enjoyed watching Dean McAmmond play for the Ottawa Senators, and as valuable as he is as a role player, he seemed unlikely to re-sign with the Senators; and is not much less likely now. Mike Comrie is also on an expiring contract, so the Comrie and McAmmond aspects of the deal may turn out to be a wash in the end--especially since the Sens could have re-signed Comrie whether or not they'd acquired him. This does give the Senators some extra time to discuss any possible contract, but unless Comrie is willing to accept a pay cut from his $4M salary from this season (which is possible, considering the off-year he's having), he seems unlikely to stick around. I disagree with those who think this is the desperate actions of a GM needing to make the playoffs to save his job; Bryan Murray is smart enough to know that Comrie is not going to be enough to get the Senators into the dance.

Which leaves us with the other two parts of the deal, San Jose's first-round draft pick from Ottawa and Chris Campoli from the Islanders. Campoli adds another young, quick, offensively-oriented defenceman to Ottawa's quickly-refreshing stable (see also: Brian Lee, Alex Picard, Mattias Karlsson, Erik Karlsson, Patrick Wiercioch). Although he's young, Campoli has played 228 NHL games over four seasons, which is decent experience, but he's still on a very good contract that will only pay him $625k this year and $675k next. According to Islanders blog Point Blank, Campoli had requested a trade from the Islanders (can you blame him?), which is why the Isles let him go. The San Jose first-round pick will likely be in the range of a 26-30 overall, which--according to TSN's Scott Cullen's draft-position predictor--is likely to be a very good AHL player, or a fringe NHLer. (Even if the Sharks are eliminated from the playoffs quickly and the pick is somewhere from 21-25, Cullen's matrix predicts that player being a full-time NHL fourth-liner. With draft picks it's always possible you find a player who's going to surpass expectations, but that late in the draft, it's often more likely you'll find someone who'll fall below expectations--as Cullen's calculations demonstrate. And even if you're in the minority and actually draft a player of Campoli's calibre at that draft position, you've still got to wait several years for that players to develop, and the Senators aren't looking for a long rebuild (while the Islanders are). Ottawa has to compete next year, and would rather not wait for that prospect to develop.

Ben: Doesn't like the deal

Irresponsible. That’s the word that comes to mind when discussing the McAmmond and 1st rounder for Campoli and Comrie trade. It’s a trade that barely improves the team now and doesn’t seem to have an eye on the future either.

This deal stinks of the one that Bryan Murray made a couple years ago with Joe Corvo. I forget who the Sens got back in that deal because THEY NO LONGER PLAY FOR THE TEAM. What’s the point of trading for Mike Comrie if he can’t help the team now and likely won’t re-sign after this season? Players rarely take pay cuts at the height of their career, and the Sens refused to pay $4M the last time Comrie left the team—why would they agree to pay it now during one of Comrie’s worst seasons? McAmmond’s contract was expiring, so it’s okay to let him go, but he’s the least of this deal. The Senators will not make the playoffs this season, so acquiring Comrie, if they fail to sign him, will be a waste of time, money, and a draft pick.

It really doesn’t matter who the Sens end this season with, it matter what prospects, draft picks, and contracts they have next season. If you like, we can boil the deal down to Campoli for a 1st round pick. This is supposed to be a good draft, and Campoli was selected 227th overall in 2004. The Sharks’ pick will likely land somewhere between 23-28… sooooo a 25th pick for a 227th pick. I understand this is flawed logic because some great players have come out of the late rounds, but the Sens can see what they’ve got… and it’s not a blue-chip prospect like what they could have snatched late in the first round.

So where does this trade leave the Senators? With one less asset and one more overpaid forward, keeping them from building towards next season. This deal goes no where.
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