With news of Jay Bouwmeester's negotiation rights being sent to the Calgary Flames, I thought it would be prudent to see what the likelihood of Robyn Regehr coming to San Jose would be (contingent upon Bouw signing in Calgary).
As many of you know, Regehr is one of my favorite players in the NHL. In fact, I have considered purchasing his sweater numerous times over the course of the past three seasons. The defensive prowess he brings to the table is exactly the type of player the Sharks need on the blueline this season- tough, gritty, physical, and able to match up against opposing team's top forwards. A pure shutdown defenseman in every sense of the word, the exact type of player San Jose lacks on their current roster.
Dan Boyle is an offensive dynamo, but hardly a superb shutdown defenseman. Douglas Murray fits the bill in terms of his physical play, but can't be considered an elite D-man at this stage of his career. Marc-Edouard Vlasic is strong positionally but lacks toughness along the boards. Rob Blake is the closest San Jose has to Regehr*, but his propensity to take hooking penalties and rising age make him a short term fix in this department.
*Blake is still unsigned.
Robyn Regehr's current contract takes him through 2013 at 4.02 per year- very enticing considering his age (29) and skill level. However, there are some serious issues hampering this ever occuring.
Via email, James Mirtle of From The Rink explains, "Regehr is as close to untouchable as it gets in Calgary, and I don't think the Flames would move him for anything at the moment. He's a very solid shutdown defenceman on a reasonable contract until 2013, is in his prime at 29, and is a fan favourite. He could potentially retire a Flame if he signs his next contract there." Kent from Matchsticks and Gasoline also tends to agree:
I can understand your interest in Robyn Regehr - though his offensive abilities are extremely limited, Reggie is a legitimate, premier defenseman because he effectively shuts down the other teams best players. He's been the Flames tough minutes guy since their play-off run in '04 and no one has usurped him from that position since. Dion Phaneuf gets more headlines, but his totals have been propped up by Regehr doing all heavy lifting. His effectiveness is reflected by his plus/minus rating: despite frequently seeing the best opposition on the club, Regehr is a cumulative +68 over the last 5 seasons (!).
As such, the chances of him ever being dealt by the organization are slim. Not only is his salary fairly good value @ 4M/season, but he's extremely well liked by both fans and management. He also has a NMC in his contact, making dealing him even more unlikely. I think even if Bouwmeester signs with Calgary, Regher is likely to remain a conerstone of the franchise.
Pretending the improbable were to happen and Regehr was made available for trade, I can imagine the potential package to acquire would be significant: the Flames would want a high level prospect, a young, proven scoring forward and probably a least one other piece (high draft pick).
For the sake of discussion, let's take a look at the improbable and examine what San Jose would have to give up.
High Level Prospect: Logan Couture and Nick Petrecki come to mind- with the Flames tendency to salivate over big D-men, I would have to assume Petrecki is the one they would be looking for.
Young, Proven Scoring Forward: Devin Setoguchi or Milan Michalek. With Calgary's cap space akin to San Jose's, Michalek may be out of play here.
One Other Piece: Second rounder in 2010.
Saying this would be a poor deal is a vast understatement, and I doubt this is the change DW is looking for. Regehr brings a lot to the table, but the hope here is Petrecki develops into a clone of him down the road (HF's analysis of him keeps that dream alive, at least).
Two other high profile blueliners that have been attracting attention are Dion Phaneuf and Tomas Kaberle. My interest in Phaneuf coming to San Jose is negligible at best- while he is offensively gifted, paying $6.5 M per year until 2013 for a player who is not known for his defensive prowess severely hampers the Sharks ability to be field a responsible team down the road. Tying up nearly 25% of your salary in two comparable defenseman (Boyle, Phaneuf), and taking into account the asking price would be near Regehr's (read: more), Wilson's best bet would be to stay away from the scowling Sutter's.
Tomas Kaberle's market value has increased as well- with Pronger in Philadelphia and Bouwmeester negotiating with Calgary, Brian Burke will be fielding offers likely exceeding that of Phil Kessel. If Toronto is looking for a goal scoring forward that put up roughly 35+ last season, San Jose's opportunity to land Kaberle would rest with the Captain.
Doomsday prophecy's are not something I tend to partake in but if Marleau voids his NTC to play with Ron Wilson, you best believe the line at Lucky's to purchase non-perishables and tinfoil will extend out the door.
As for the UFA market on the defensive end, here are some names that intrigue me. Feel free to add your own in the comments.
- Mike Komisarek (MON, 27 yrs old)
- Francois Beauchemin (ANA, 29 yrs old)
- Mattias Ohlund (VAN, 32 yrs old)
- Greg Zanon (NSH, 29 yrs old)
- Kurtis Foster (MIN, 27 yrs old, possible roommate with Torrey Mitchell on the road?)