Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Rumour Mill: Filip Kuba's technicolour dream jersey

That title may not make any sense, but a guy must get pretty frustrated getting traded twice in one year. And, considering the apparent unlikeliness of the Senators making a serious playoff run or re-signing this season's most consistent defenceman, Filip Kuba appears to be one of Ottawa's hottest commodities as the trade deadline draws nearer.

The Ottawa Sun published a story about Kuba and the trade market today, that outlined Kuba's focus on helping the Senators finish this season on a high note, and not looking into possible trades. It could have been a mad-lib style form article...
"(City of writing) -- (Player name) doesn't have any plans to move on.

"Though the (Team name) (Player's position) could be a valuable commodity on the NHL's trade market with the (Date) deadline just three weeks away, he said yesterday his focus is on trying to make (Same team name) successful and he isn't worried about what might lie ahead."
Still, there was one interesting fact to come out of the story: The acknowledgement of Kuba's no-trade clause. If I understand author Bruce Garrioch's writing properly (and I rarely do), the clause is a limited one that will allow Kuba to select which team amongst those in any bidding war he'd prefer, "if there are a few teams involved in the discussions." And, according to Garrioch, each of Boston, Florida, San Jose, Calgary, Minnesota, Columbus, Carolina, and Philadelphia are actively looking for defensive help.

What could the Senators expect in return, should Kuba be deemed an expendable asset? Well, just about every team could use defensive help in some sense, and Garrioch's post suggests that Kuba is joined by the likes of Jay Bouwmeester, Ryan Whitney, Mathieu Schneider, Chris Pronger on the list of defencemen on the market. Playing into Ottawa's favour is that Kuba has a cap hit of only $3M, while the others have hits of $4.875M, $4M (for this year and four more afterwards), $5.625, and $6.25M (for this year and next), respectively.

So what could Ottawa expect in return? It's difficult for me to say, but I think it would be reasonable to expect a fairly good prospect as well as a second- or third-round draft pick.

Then again, if Ottawa were to accept an underperforming player on an expiring contract (see: Erik Cole) to fill out their cap space for this season (estimated at just over $3M, plus any room freed up in trade, by, they could likely receive a higher or extra draft pick for helping their partner free up space for another trade. But that's pure, unfettered speculation.

Then again, this whole post is speculation, but it's interesting speculation (I hope). What do readers think the Senators will do with Kuba? What should they do? In the event of a trade, what would be a fair asking price?
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