Sorry guys, I couldn't wait any longer after reading the last article written about our cap space!! For the sake of this article, I'm going to assume that the cap hit is 62M, and not the higher prediction of 63.5M..
Furthermore, I am going to try and be somewhat realistic (hopefully) and not make extreme possibilities come true based on Wilson's history (moving Heatley, etc).
Clearly our problem lies with the defense so that is what I'm going to try and fix.
As of now, we have four proven NHL ready defenders: Boyle, Murray, Vlasic, and Demers. For at least another year or two, Boyle will be able to play the number one role, but after that, I don't see anyone else in the organization that can fill that spot. Murray has made strides, but he is not a number two guy...I would prefer to see him playing 15-16 minutes a night on the third pairing. Despite a showing of offensive flare earlier in his career, Vlasic is a very one dimensional player. I'm not trying to take away from his game, but being one dimensional keeps him from being a top pairing defenseman. Demers has made strides this past year, but I have a hard time seeing him reach top pairing minutes in his career and playing him on the second pairing with Vlasic produces a very "soft" pairing (I know this can be argued, but Demers isn't big).
That means we are currently missing a number two defenseman, and a second pairing defenseman. For the sake of this article too, I want to assume that Braun isn't NHL ready (because according to the organization, Huskins was the better choice when Demers went out).
Players to look at from the UFA market:
Players that are available from the RFA market:
Clearly the UFA market is very dry and that teams would be willing to overpay for the services of the decent players..And clearly the RFA market is stacked! But two players, one from each market stick out to me as a possibility for Wilson to go after: Eric Brewer and Zach Bogosian.
Brewer Is a 32 year old veteran with a more defensive style to his game (something the Sharks need). The only x-factor before July 1st is if Yzerman is able to sign him or not (rumor has it that Richards wants to return to Tampa). Brewer currently has a cap hit of 4.25M and has on average played 22-24 minutes a game. Think of Brewer as a Douglas Murray 2.0.
Bogosian is an interesting case too. He was drafted 3rd overall in 2008 and holds a lot of promise but just hasn't been able to live up to his hype quite yet. He has a bomb of a shot from the point and his large frame allows him to lay big hits. The only problem is that he has been a defensive liability. Either from an offer sheet or a trade, I think picking up Bogosian would be a good long term (and possibly short term) investment on our blue line. I don't see any of our current defenders being able to be the de facto number one defenseman after Boyle passes his prime (which he arguable already has)..
An offer sheet of 4.2M - 4.5M would compensate to our first and third round picks in the draft. I think Winnipeg would be willing to match almost all offer sheets just to show how they aren't going to be pushed around in the league (because they are a new team). That leaves the trade route. Would a package of Braun, Setoguchi, and a first be enough? I'm going to assume that it is....
Joe Pavelski ($4.000m) / Joe Thornton ($7.000m) / Patrick Marleau ($6.900m)
Ryane Clowe ($3.625m) / Logan Couture ($1.241m) / Dany Heatley ($7.500m)
Benn Ferriero ($0.850m) / Kyle Wellwood ($1.000m) / Jamie McGinn ($0.500m)
Pascal Dupuis ($1.000m) / Andrew Desjardins ($0.500m) / Ben Eager ($0.500m)
Dan Boyle ($6.666m) / Eric Brewer ($4.250m)
Zach Bogosian ($3.375m) / Marc-Edouard Vlasic ($3.100m)
Douglas Murray ($2.500m) / Jason Demers ($1.250m)
Antti Niemi ($3.800m) / Antero Niittymaki ($2.000m)
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $62,000,000; CAP PAYROLL: $61,558,334; BONUSES: $425,000
CAP SPACE (20-man roster): $441,666
Personally, I feel that this defense is much better than what we've put together for a lot of years. Trading Setoguchi also let's Pavelski play in the top six where I believe he is more valuable. Dupuis would be a fourth liner with an emphasis on the PK (essentially a replacement for Mitchell who I think has lost a spot on this team)
Please make your own Rosterbations too!!