It’s not a secret that I find the Benoit Pouliot deal a tiny bit incomprehensible. You might say I find it just as curious as calling the anarchists who show up to sporting events with Molotov cocktails, gasoline and ski masks and then proceed to instigate a riot no matter the outcome “sports fans”. As a rule, most sports fans who’s team lose are too dejected to do anything more harmful than toss back a couple more adult beverages and eat something with enough salt to treat their driveway for two snowy weeks.
Of the moves made, and not for people who were in the system, and played an important role, here are the rankings:
- Pouliot, thumbs down. He’s not a very high bar to pass. Looking back at the 2005 draft it was about as thin as they get. No forward above the 4th round with as many games has less goals. He’s not very disciplined. He’s not a good goal scorer. He’s made 22 playoff appearances without a goal while going -5. He’s now on this third team since being drafted six years ago and has yet to play his 200th NHL game despite being a high draft pick who turned pro in 2006-7.
- Khodoubin, thumbs up. Best move of the day, with Rasks knee a question mark to start the season, the question of what will be down with two goaltenders who are #1s, and the uncertainty of the long pro season, great move. Better still, we’ll have a good idea how much of the Providence Bruins performance is due to the goaltending, and how much is the play in front of them. I’m honestly surprised no NHL team grabbed him as at least a backup. He managed to go from the Houston Areo’s an AHL Calder Cup Finalist, to the Providence Bruins who didn’t make the playoffs and improve both his GAA and Sv%.
- Whitfield. thumbs up. Work ethic, work ethic, work ethic he was captain of the Providence Bruins last year and likely will be the next two years. Not especially gifted physically, but knows where to be and how to read plays.I suspect he’ll probably have a job as a coach as soon as he hangs up his skates.
- Ryder, thumbs up. Sorta, he played better in the late season and playoffs than in his previous 18 months in uniform. Part of the post season success was linking up with Seguin and Kelly, particularly Seguin. That said for much of stay in Boston he wasn’t even a passenger he was luggage. If he’d signed a 1 year pact for what he signed on for in Dallas, I wouldn’t have complained, I think the one year deals are good for motivation of “enigmatic” players like Ryder and Semin.
- Marchand, thumbs down. This is a provisional thumbs down, but the teams who have been left out, or teams like the LA Kings who have a bleeding need at left wing might be tempted to throw out an offer sheet. With the exception of Selanne, no UFA forward on the market scored more goals than Marchand did last year. Morrison had 2 more points last season, everyone else left was noticeably less of a contributor. Also, with Recchi retired, retooling an entire line for no better reason than dickering over a contract with a player who proved he was willing to put in the work to improve year over year and contributed in all areas is a bit silly.
- Kaberle, thumbs up. Despite the nonsense spewing from the folks on TSN/NHLnet on July 1, Kaberle was mostly a non factor. For comparison, Ference had 0:50 of PPTOI per game in the playoffs and Kaberle had 3:46, Ference had two assists, Kaberle five. No NHL team has ever depended on Ference for propping up their offense, and yet in the second season Ference had four goals, which is exactly four more than Kaberle produced. Any contract more than 1 year is a bad idea. Anything approaching the contract he had is unwarranted. I don’t see how one of the free agents or prospects could fail to match his performance with the Bruins for a lot cheaper.
No move can ever be evaluated 100% fairly until the contract is up or some amazing achievement has been made, but history says a lot about each of these players.