Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Deal Is Done

Of course, not long after I finished the Peepin' Foes and watched the rest of the Calgary game, the trade we've all been waiting for has finally gone through: the Rangers have dealt Ales Kotalik and Chris Higgins to the Flames for Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust. Sorry to see Higgins go but this trade is a win for the Blueshirts. Kotalik's New York experiment was not unlike Valeri Kamensky's at the turn of the millennium - the guy put up points but that contribution wasn't enough to overcome his defensive weaknesses and he didn't get the ice time he wanted. As for Higgins, as I have always said, at least he tried. Smithtown's hustle was admirable, but his inability to score was distressing (at best).

So in return for those guys, the Rangers add a playmaking center in Jokinen who clearly needed a change of scenery. The guy had been a all-world talent for a span but somehow lost that of late. But if there is a single coach in the NHL who believes that Olli Jokinen can still be a star, John Tortorella has to be it. Post-lockout, Tortorella saw Jokinen skate against his Lightning on Florida 23 times and Jokinen scored 33 points in those games, including six three-point nights. The last two times he played against the Rangers, he grabbed an assist in each game (one with Phoenix on Nov. 24, 08 and one with Calgary Nov. 7, 09).

Now Torts can slot Jokinen in the middle between Prospal and Gabby, and can slide Dubi down to the second line. A second unit of Dubi, Cally and Avery could be outright scary. Dru or Arty can get slotted out on the wing on the third line with Lisin while you put Boyle, Prust and @Voros34 out as a don't-f@#k-with-us, grind-it-out fourth line. Or mix them in with the third line "talent" to balance the bottom two lines out. Seeing as Prust can fight, this could also hopefully be the end of Brashear's stay on Broadway, which would make this deal an outright victory - even if Jokinen never scores a single point.

Sorry for the Photoshops, they were quite rushed.


Bettman's Nightmare said...

I'm not sold on putting two high volume shooters together on one line. Wouldn't you rather have them both on a 300 shot per season pace than one at 300 and the other at about 200 (as has been the case for Jokinen the last two years with Doan & Iginla)?

Anonymous said...

And to think I had almost forgotten the name Valery Kamenski and the horrors of his face skating unemotionally around the ice, looking bored.

And just for today because I am happy for this trade:

-Sather get 3rd degree burns in a fire.

One thing I just thought of. How come Sather can make some pretty good in season trades that help us, yet be utterly incompetent when it comes to free agents? It's like Isaiah and the Knicks. He's an idiot savant when it came to drafting players but was an idiot at everything else. Sather is a good horse-trader and a boob at all the other stuff...

Andrea said...

Where did I just read that Jokinen was more puck-hog than puck-distributor? (NYT Slapshots?) What I recall most about him was his longtime record of playing the most regular season games without reaching the playoffs. I'm underwhelmed at his arrival.

This Prust youngster could be what the doctor ordered though. Voros won't have to embarrass himself and Brashear can continue eating popcorn with the Garden of Dreams kids.

What is the source material for the illos? I kinda love the early sixties vibe!

Anonymous said...

Any word on if they'll be in the lineup tonight?

Chris said...

I agree with Scotty in that this trade actually helps us APPEAR to have a better lineup... however I also agree with Bettmens nightmare in that I wouldnt put 2 high-volume shooters on the same line.

Even if they both go top-line, I think the lines would look decent as follows:

Prospal, Jokinen, Gaborik
Avery, Dubinsky, Callahan
Drury, Christensen/Anisimov, Lisin
Prust, Boyle, Voros

We have a seemingly valid top line and a good 'grind it out' 4th line.

The 2nd line, realistically would be a better 3rd line...

3rd line still leaves much to be desired... and I would like to see Christensen get intermixed on that 2nd line.

Either way... we 'look' better than we were before.

rusty said...

From what I read on TSN it sounds like they will play in LA tonight.

dbmaven said...

As others have noted, Jokinen is a shooting/scoring center, not a playmaker. Career #s: 248G - 305A

Don't know which will work out better - Olli on top or 2nd line - but if we thought the nightly (or in game) musical lines were over - HA!! - sadly mistaken. If anything the calliope music just got louder and faster....

The Likely Lad said...

christensen on top line, olli on second.

Scotty Hockey said...

Actually, Likely, I agree, I just don't really see it happening. Christensen has been his best with the top line and has disappeared otherwise... but when Sather makes a big trade and brings in a guy making over $5 mil, can Torts justify putting a waiver wire pick up ahead of him on the depth chart?

tradershort said...

I'm not f'ing w/the chemistry of the first line...what little there already is. Getting rid of Higgins and effectively is already addition by subtraction.

I say leave those first 2 lines intact and let the Joker center the 3rd line and see how he does. Let Dru center the 4th line or on the wing. Maybe the lines could look like:

Vinny - Christy - Gabby
Avery - Dubie - Cally
Lisin - Joker - Drury
Prust - Anisimov - Boyle

Scratch Voros and Brashear

I've touted the 2nd line to be this for damn month already.

tradershort said...

oops...meant to say "getting rid of Higgins and effectively BRASHEAR is already addition by subtracdtion...."

drew said...

oh man, i love this trade. if only for the fact that we don't have to pay kotalik for two more years. plus, we get a true fighter (http://www.hockeyfights.com/players/2257) who isn't washed up and can actually win a fight.

as noted, jokinen isn't a playmaker so i'd split him and gaborik up with lines like this.

christensen-dubinsky-gaborik...they showed some good chemistry when prospal was hurt last month. christensen is a decent setup man for a waiver wire pickup and dubinsky isn't afraid to crash the net and do the dirty work.

prospal-jokinen-callahan...like the first line, you have a scorer (jokinen), setup man (crazy vaclav), and someone to do the dirty work (callahan)

avery-anisimov-lisin...i thought this line worked together well earlier in the year.

prust-drury-voros/boyle...here's your energy line with a fighter, a $7 million penalty killer (sigh), and another grit guy in voros or boyle.

not a bad team there in theory if jokinen can re-find his past success (and the rest of the team can have some consistency) and isn't just washed up. even if he is, trade him again at the trade deadline or let him walk as a free agent.

now, can sather work is trade rape magic and find a taker for redden and roszival...

Pete said...

I like the thought of Joker on top with Prospal and Gabby, unless he really isn't a disher, in which case you have to keep Dubi there. Dubi has a good knack for getting the puck to Gabby. Otherwise, I think Dubi and Avery also have some great chemistry, and a line with those two and Cally should be rather impressive. I can't wait wo see them play.

Dennis said...

It's a win win. No way were Higgs or Kots going to start lighting the lamp any time soon, plus shedding 6 mill from Kot's contract, and at least Jokes has potential to put up points. Plus getting tougher with Prust is always good. I just hope he's tough on the puck and boards and not just a fighter because even though Higs couldn't score at least he was good on the puck and boards. Too bad we couldn't have unloaded Brash in this deal too.

Anonymous said...

Jokinen could never put up a point and we'd win here.

Jokinen's a shooter, not a passed. Rather see him on the second. Don't know if Torts would do that.


s: lisin, brash

I think Torts sits Christenssen, but he's at least shown chemistry up there when others havent.

Lisin fucking sucks and doesnt backcheck, so fuck him.

The first two lines got a good balance of shooter-passer-body. The third is eh, but that's the best we got. Fourth is a nice muscle/grind line


Dennis said...

I'd be really disappointed to see Christensen sit. I think he's been good on 1st line. Not sure how he'll fare with Drury as his finisher instead of Gabs though. How sad is it that Drury will be a 7 mill. third liner.

One other positive about Jokes not many have mentioned is I read he's been good on shootouts this year and, well, the Rangers suck at SO.

Bettman's Nightmare said...

It'd be a crime to split up Prospal and Gaborik; those two have clicked completely. The other person on the top line doesn't matter much, though I'd prefer Avery as a good Carcillo-repellant. Plunk Jokinen between Cally and Dubi and watch them work the puck to Jokinen.

Scotty Hockey said...

Yeah Dennis but remember that Kotalik was supposed to be a shootout specialist too ...