For more information regarding our move, please read the two last post published below.

30 July 2007

My take on the Marleau talk

By now you must have seen it. It crept its way into the hockey world early this morning. A glimmer of hope for Habs fans. An unconfirmed report that San Jose would be willing to part with Patrick Marleau for Michael Ryder, Mark Streit and Jaroslav Halak…A deal almost too good to be true, one that would finally propel Montreal into a sure-fire playoff spot.

Is it real? Was it truly reported on RDI this morning? Does it matter? In a matter of hours the rumour spread like wildfire through every major hockey message board on the Internet. Already, potential lineups with Marleau penciled in at the number 1 spot were springing up everywhere. Ironically, it was very much like every other Monday morning so far this summer, but that doesn’t stop Canadiens fans.

The deal itself? Well, it really is too good to be true. I mean, no way could San Jose be willing to deal Marleau for a bunch of lower-tiered players, right? Right?

Or maybe…maybe they could…no, they can’t, but…

Could it possibly work?

Let’s look at the facts. Marleau is a UFA-to-be. As are Ryder and Streit, although realistically, the former will be much easier to re-sign due to less demand on the market. Halak is a promising young goalie who, on the low end is nothing but a prospect, and on the high end, can fill in the backup spot and potentially be a starter one day.

Value wise, this deal isn’t great. Marleau is a very, very good player and he would fit nicely on virtually any team the league. San Jose could easily fetch a better return than the above mentioned if the other team can sign Marleau to an extension.

And that, my friends, is the key. The extension…Marleau, set to be one of the top UFAs on the market come summer 2008, is looking at a big payday. Already superior to Briere, Gomez and Drury, he’s got to be licking his chops at the money he could potentially be making. That being said, I do wonder what San Jose is thinking about all this. Their best player, Joe Thornton, just signed a very reasonable extension far below his market value. Are they really willing to pony up for Marleau and pay him more than their 1st line guy? Something tells me this is why we haven’t seen any news about a Marleau extension coming out of San Jose. You’d think they’d be hard-pressed to get their captain under contract as soon as possible right? So why hasn’t he been signed?

Could Marleau possibly be looking to score more than The Sharks are willing to give? I mean, he deserves it. Let’s not kid ourselves…Joe Thornton was extremely generous to take a “mere” $7-something million. That was an act of goodwill, and we should not expect every player to follow suit.

If this is indeed the case, then San Jose will trade Patrick Marleau before the start of the season. This is this blogger’s unprofessional opinion. If he is not signed to an extension before training camp, expect to see him shipped out.

Not doing so would be a huge risk to take by San Jose, as Marleau could walk at the end of the season and be lost for nothing. Waiting until the trade deadline is a bad idea, as his value will be much lower by then. San Jose will likely be in the playoffs, and will want something more than just picks and prospects, which is all that teams looking for Marleau as a rental will be willing to give up. His value is at its highest right now, during the offseason.

So now we go back to the original issue…Why would San Jose accept so little value now when they could, theoretically, get so much more?

Simply put, Marleau will only fetch something good if he agrees to sign an extension before hand. This, in effect, gives Marleau a sort of no trade clause, in the sense that he will only be traded to teams that A) he wants to go to, and B) have the means and desire to pay him what he’s looking for. Otherwise, he would simply refuse to sign an extension and the trade talks end there.

Now let’s say, hypothetically, that Montreal is willing to give Marleau the best deal in terms of a contract extension. Something that puts him out of the price of the other teams interested in acquiring him. He will only agree to sign this new lucrative extension, assuming he wants the best deal he can get of course. That, in effect, puts the ball in Montreal’s court. San Jose now has the choice of taking the deal on the table, or rolling the dice with Marleau and hoping they can somehow get a better deal (unlikely) or retain his services next summer (somewhat less unlikely, although far from probable).

San Jose is in a tight spot. By no means do I claim everything I said to be the current situation, but it is an entirely realistic scenario that would explain why Marleau’s value isn’t as great as some people think it is.

What I do know is, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Or at least someone is cooking something.

2 fanatics have replied:

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge said...

So all in all, unless the Habs can swing this deal and work out a deal with Marleau NOW, don't do the deal, because who's the one who will guarantee us that Marleau won't walk away next season and leave us in a tight spot, already having given up Ryder, Halak and Streit to get him (which may look a little pricey for Habs fans, but definitely not for Sharks followers)

If Bob did this deal and managed to keep Marleau, then good deal, if not, we'd look like fools, even if Ryder will walk.

I like Marleau, and hope we get him, but for his price-tag, I'm not so sure it'd be a good idea.

waffledave said...

The deal will only go through if an extension is agreed to before hand. That would be the case no matter which team was involved. That's the beauty of the whole thing...Marleau knows he'll only be traded if a team will sign him to an extention, and thus the number of teams he'll be traded to is limited.

© 2007 Bleu, Blanc et Rouge.

All Rights Reserved. The content of this blog is the sole opinion of these bloggers and does not represent an opinion of any kind of a professional NHL hockey team mentioned.