Monday, May 08, 2006

On My Soapbox About Datsyuk

I’m still not ready to talk about the Red Wings. In an interview on WXYT, Ken Holland said that everyone in the organization is going to step away for two weeks before discussing anything about the team, so I’m doing that as well before I write about what I would do with that team.

One thing I am ready to say, however, is that I’m firmly behind trading Pavel Datsyuk. Holland said that they’re not thinking that way. He pretty much blamed Datsyuk's injury for his performance in the playoffs (Sorry, he doesn't get the benefit of the doubt from me on this one....if he didn't already have a 20 game goalless streak in the playoffs coming into this year I might buy it....), and said that they feel one of these years he’s going to have a breakout playoffs.

I really hope that that was GM-speak and that Holland isn’t being short-sighted enough to see what’s in store in the future. Datsyuk is making $3.9 million, and he’s a free agent after next season. Barring an absolutely awful regular season next year, he’s going to be looking for big-time money in probably the $5-6 million range. And frankly he just isn’t worth it.

The way I see it, here’s the case for moving him:

1) Frees up $3.9 million to go after a more…how shall I put this…playoff-ready player…or a goalie.

2) Likely could bring in a top prospect or proven commodity in return. His flashy goals and pretty passes should give him some significant value around the league, even if he’s never done anything come playoff time.

3) After next season, you’re either going to end up overpaying him or losing him for nothing.

4) They have Jiri Hudler in the wings, who is probably the same type of player, albeit completely unproven.

5) He’s already shown that he’ll play hardball in contract negotiations.

6) Trading him means you lose 30 goals and 80 points in the regular season, but it’s a loss of exactly nothing in terms of playoff production. If you move him for a top prospect or something, and then go out and sign a guy like Sergei Samsonov (for probably less money), aren’t you coming out ahead?

Don’t get me wrong, I like Datsyuk and I love watching him play, but these playoff disappearances are getting old, and the fact that he made it such a sticking point to get a two-year contract last summer tells me he’s looking for a big payday next year. I have no problem with Datsyuk for $3.9 million. I would, however, have a problem giving 15% of our salary cap to a player with a penchant for disappearing in the playoffs or whenever someone lays a body on him.

I've probably got a couple other things to say about Datsyuk, but that'll have to wait for my season wrapup/look toward the future next week. I don't have time to do anymore today.

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