I know it's Don Brennan but the situation between Vermette and ottawa is a pretty interesting one to say the least. He seems to think that the mercurial forward could be run out of town as a scapegoat for past playoff failures in much the same fashion as Marion Hossa.
The senators' weaknesses are pretty well documented (goaltending, defence, secondary scoring) and Brennan thinks that they migh want an offensive defenceman and wouldn't you know it, the Leafs have two players that fit the bill. Pavel Kubina's NTC-free period ends in two weeks and maybe they can sell Bryan McCabe on moving to a hated rival. The latter is unlikely but the former would stand a chance if the senators had enough time to figure out a sign and trade with the Leafs (which they probably do not).
However, the arbitration award could come in higher than the sens would be willing to spend. They could sign Vermette and trade him immediately giving the Leafs an entire year to negotiate a long-term deal. Or they could walk away and make Vermette a UFA in which case the Leafs should leap at the chance to sign him. The trade route is, of course, a low percentage possibility but UFA seems possible.
At 5 on 5 Vermette put up the fourth most points on the team while only picking up the 15th most minutes. To top it off, he put up those numbers playing with the third worst teammates. Imagine what he could do playing with Antro and Steen instead of Fisher and Kelly? He's also a strong penalty killer. He played the 2nd most time short-handed among forwards, put up the 4th best points, and last season he would have been the top (regularly used) penalty killing forward on the Leafs. Last year he took a pretty good jump offensively (career stats) and he has shown that he has a pretty good shooting percentage. Of course, the tricky part would be fending off all of the other challengers. Wait, they're all either over the cap or waiting for Mats to sign. But what are the odds that The Lisp lets Vermette go for free? Slim to none but it's a good hypothetical.
Add any others that you come across.
- Steve takes a look at the Filpulla signing compared to Alex Steen.
- Is John Tavares slacking off? Please God, don't make the Leafs suck and then draft the next Alex Daigle. I think that would literally kill me.
- Jays suck. JP stinks.
- Leafs lose a Chicago-area scout to the AHL's Wolves.
- Despite opinions to the contrary the Mats Sundin Saga will never end. Ever.
- Save this one for last because it's awesome: Howard Berger is not a friend of logic.