Sunday, July 1, 2007

Thoughts on Rafalski for Schneider

Heard about the deal from my sister via phone, since I'm out camping with the fam. Wow. I'll be brief because I'm in the woods. I think this is a great deal because Rafalski is a Schneider equivalent offensively (maybe better in the Wings puck-moving system), but definitely his defensive superior. I love a #2 pair of Rafalski-Kronner. It has as much ammo as Schneids-Kronner but is way better as far as responsibility.

While I like the move, it is a bit of a shock. Apparently KH thought Schneider was worth no more than "mid-4" but that Rafalski was worth 6M. Was it the defense or the age? Rafalski's contract will take him through the age 39, so my guess is that it was Schneider's iffy defense.

What worries me about this move is that it is quite a big hit for 5 years. We have to worry about Zetterberg in a year (or two years if we want to risk letting him within a mile of UFA - which I wouldn't), to say nothing of guys like Cleary, Franzen, Filppula down the road. Kenny may be planning on Lidstrom's contract getting smaller at the end of next year, and I guess one way to do that is to force Lidstrom to take a cut by filling up your cap on other guys. I can't say I'm concerned about Lidas bolting.

A big surprise, but definitely a welcome move. Repercussions? Assuming no more than 4M for Hasek (and who knows since he's still unsigned) the Wings can get only one of Bertuzzi or Markov. My guess is they'll try to get Bert and if that fails, they'll just go for Markov rather than an FA forward. That being said the Wings have a lot of young depth at D, and not as much at F, so who knows. My guess is still that Hasek will come in at 2.5M and Bert at 3M. I wouldn't mind Bert for 2 years. 3 is pushing it though.

Here's a chart with my expectations.
Rafalski, No Markov, Bert/3M, Hasek/2.5M

Notice it leaves a hefty 3.21M in room. Means we can potentially give Hasek more if he really needs it to come back. Also we could potentially do something crazy, like bring back Markov and Bert, at 3M each, and trade Lilja (would leave 1.21M in cap space).

Oh yeah, and no way we get Ryan Smyth. Sorry Iwo.