Thursday, July 24, 2008


Oduya May Be Due for a Wheelbarrow Next Year; Corrente VS. Many

Specifically a wheelbarrow of cash. Let me back up first.

Over at the FanHouse, Jes Golbez gives Johnny Oduya some respect (also known as "props," "dap," "due," and possibly "love") as one of the best bargain players in the entire league. Golbez' reasoning is pretty sound, with a reference to an interesting analysis with the plus-minus stat that I haven't seen until now. Even Devils fans who paid attention during the second half of the season would be surprised at a +27 for the man. That all said, and to support Golbez' argument, Oduya's averaged the third most minutes on the team with 19:01/game, with 3:24/game on special teams. He's been used in all situations and has mostly featured on the top pairing with Paul Martin since the All Star Game. Most impressively, he scored this goal. All this in his second NHL season. Oduya has definitely took it to the proverbial next level.

It'll be interesting next June when Oduya becomes an unrestricted free agent. If Mike Commodore can command $3.75 million/year, as long as Oduya doesn't regress, we're looking at possibly at least $4 million/year. A third season in the NHL, improved performance going into this third season, and a contract year? All the signs point to an even better season for Oduya - and definitely a big raise (hopefully from Lou).

Elsewhere: Brent Sutter did a good, long interview with Tom Gulitti, which is available at Fire & Ice. If you heard the FAN 960 show, this is a nice supplement. Holik's role is better explained, we learn that Larry Robinson stepped down of his own volition, he likes Matthew Corrente, and he doesn't prohibit fights in practice. Why did Gulitti ask that? Well, it's because the confident Fedor Federov and Harry Young went toe to toe with each other at the developmental camp today.

Speaking of developmental camp, Brandon Burlon and Anssi Salmela are still hurt, Vladamir Zharkov showed up, and Matthew Corrente is thinking like a little engine that could, according to Gulitti. He's grown up, physically and emotionally, based on the interview. And he can play some defense, as I understand it. If I were him (and/or his fans), I wouldn't get my hopes up for making the regular roster right out of camp. That Lou and Sutter have openly praised Corrente definitely helps him out. It's always a good thing when the Legendary General Manager and head coach like what you do on the ice. However, his biggest obstacle is based on the sheer number of defenders available. Corrente is going to have to do more than prove in training camp that he's better than the other rookie defensemen (e.g. Salmela, Mark Fraser, Tyler Eckford) to get a spot. He's got to show he can bring more to the table than either Andy Greene, Vitaly Vishnevski, or Sheldon Brookbank. Vishnevski has been in the league for a while and Greene and Brookbank were regulars (well, as regular as you can be on a team with 9 rotating defensemen) last season. That will not be easy. That all said, it's a question of "when" and not "if" for Corrente. I just wouldn't write his name down on the roster just yet. Now if (or when) someone gets traded and that opens up a spot on defense, I fully expect Corrente to be among the leaders in taking that role.

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You know, I knew that Oduya would be a UFA after this coming season but I never gave much thought to it. He obviously has improved significantly (ILWT player of March 08!). This year there wasn't much available and he probably could have picked up at least $2.5 mil, but what is going to be available come July 1, 2009?

When it comes to Corrente, I hinted at it at the end of my last post, but I look forward to seeing him in the show. Maybe not full time this year, perhaps 4 or 5 games. I just hope that the Devils don't rush his developement too fast or delay it too long. Well at least Big Bird is still in the organization and hopefully he will help the Devils make the right decision.
Surprising that Colin White's name has been forgotten in all this talk. He is a top 4 D man, 3 million dollar cap hit for the next 4 years. With all this Defensive talent looking to emerge, his injuries, and Salvadore in the mix, is Colin White on the potential trading block?
I can only hope White is on the block. I dont see what is good about the guy. He has been a huge disappointment. He was supposed to play big physically for us, but has not. Hes supposed to be a great stay at home d-man. It seemed last season whenever there was a goal, he was the cause, or was on the ice. He had maybe a week of good games when he first came back from the eye injury but has been nothing but a letdown. Please let him be traded and be rid of his salary.
How cool would it be to sign RW Glen Murray?

According to EKLUND, NJ is interested.

Pando / Madden / Murray
Parise / Langenbrunner / Murray
Elias / Rolston / Murray

Would cost 2 - 4 million per. Or just about the cost of White...

Following EKS Hockeybuzz site.

The Devs are also pursuing Jay Bouwmeester. He would probably cost 3 - 5 million per. Where could the Devils get a quick 3 million towards such a talent? Hmmmmm Can you say trade White for a third round pick and free up cap space?

Sorry Colin. It's just that I don't feel 100% secure when you are on the ice. He was a perfect 5/6 D man five years ago but just hasn't grown into a shut down guy. Would like to hear that I am wrong though.
White may rebound this season. he's been too good too long to just fade away. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time for a guy to feel 100% (mentally) after a big injury.
I don't think Colin White had a bad season. Some may think it seems that way - but that doesn't mean it's true (-5 isn't the same as always being on the ice when something goes wrong, guys.) Statistically (using, when White was on the ice, the goals against per 60 minutes was higher than when he was off the ice (2.1 vs. 1.8). While not great, it's better than Mike Mottau and Vitaly Vishnevksi. Also, White's numbers at Behindthenet should take into account that the quality of opposition against was generally better than average (3rd among regulars on Behind the Net, behind the expected Jay Pandolfo and John Madden.)

One the big turning points for the defense playing as well as they did was when White returned from his eye injury. Before then, it was a nightmare; White brought some much needed stability. He was the only true defensive defensemen on the team then and remains so now. He's not a 5/6 guy and, given how high the market thinks of defensemen, it's even arguable that $3 million is a bargain. I agree with thrawn in that he should bounce back next year, wherein he'll play more than 57 games.

Also, if anyone is likely to be traded for cap space, it'll be Gionta. His hit is $4 million and it expires next season. That's a lot more attractive (and a bigger savings!) than $3 million for this year and the next 3.

Speaking of markets, should the cap go up next year and should the trend continue, Oduya will almost definitely be making more than White - and maybe even Paul Martin. Remember: This is a league where Mike Commodore commanded $3.75

Lastly: Eklund is trash. Only fools listen to them. You might as well pull rumors from the Trade forum on Hockey's Future.
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