Sun-Sentinel reporter Steve Gorten reported on Tuesday that Hawks Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon is not expected to put goaltender Tomas Vokoun on the trading block. Tallon called Vokoun on Monday and indicated that he plans on keeping the netminder.
Now, let’s read between the lines here. Tallon said he isn’t looking to trade Vokoun. He also told Vokoun that he likes him, and has no interest in shopping him or trading him……unless there’s a great deal that would make sense. While Vokoun commented that he feels better knowing that he won’t be traded, who’s to know what the definition of great deal is. Dan Carcillo for Tomas Vokoun? Vesa Toskala for Tomas Vokoun? I kid as these are not the kind of deals that would bring back the type of return that Tallon is looking for.
Now, let’s look at Philadelphia for just a minute. They have a goaltender problem even though the went to the Cup Finals. You can’t tell me that the Flyers are comfy with Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher. What could Vokoun bring in return? Well, the Flyers are loaded at center. Mike Richards, Claude Giroux, Daniel Briere, Blair Betts and Jeff Carter. I mention Carter last because he was forced to play wing in the final, and he looked a bit out of place, and was a non factor for most of the series. The one thing the Panthers want to get, is bigger down the middle.
Carter is 6′-3″, and would be the perfect sized centerman on the top line. Significantly bigger than Little Stevie, who’s days of being paraded around town as the number one center look to be over. (yeah!) Now, this presents more of a problem on the Flyers end than the Panthers. Philly isn’t trading Giroux. They love his youth, his speed and his skill. Damn it if only Uncle Jack would have pulled the trigger on the Bouwmeester deal a couple years ago, we’d already have him. And Vokoun. So be it.
Do they go for the gusto and hang on to the smaller and more expensive Daniel Briere, who had a hell of a postseason, or do they keep the younger and promising Carte? Realizing that the window to win might be closing, and Vokoun in net provides stability, they have some thinking to do and they need to do it quick. Even though Vokoun gives up the softie every now and then, he is still better than what the Flyers currently have. But hey, that loser Luongo in Vancouver seems to give up a bad goal or seven every now and then, and people think he’s the best thing since Denis Dejordy Marty Broduer.
Now, this is all purely speculation on my end, and makes for good banter. The sentence that I keep wondering about though is, unless a great deal makes sense. The problem with Vokoun is that he’s an asset that can bring back value to a franchise that needs an injection of scoring, physicality, character and skill. Vokoun can also provide stability in net for this franchise until one of our younger goalies is ready to step into the limelight. Jacob Markstrom is the goalie of the future and is about one year away of playing in the big time. If the Panthers wait till the trade deadline approaches and hold onto Vokoun, they may also be able to get a good return at that time as well. Remember that Vokoun has a no trade clause, which he says he’d waive for the right deal. It would also be less of a cap hit to the team he goes to if he’s traded in March.
It’s a double edge sword. He’ll bring value either way, but his salary at 6.3 million is like a ball and chain around your feet that you can’t get rid of easily. And with Chicago showing that you don’t need a goalie making $6 million dollars in net to win a Cup, you have to wonder how many other teams that feel they’re on the brink of winning feel that way as well.
Tallon has spoken with about half a dozen players so far, and has emailed everyone of them. He plans on speaking with the rest as soon as he can, but in his email he asked every player to let him know if they didn’t want to be part of this franchise.
I hope Little Stevie said no!
The country club atmosphere is over boys and girls. Tallon isn’t messing around, and he’s not waiting for you to develop. Especially if you’ve had eight years to do it.
By the way, in closing and to give you an idea of the kind of players that Tallon wants, and what it takes to win the Cup, did you know that Hawks forward Andrew Ladd played with a fractured shoulder in the Finals? He already has one Cup victory, and wanted another. Marian Hossa played with a torn MCL that was discovered in game one. Those are the kind of players that win championships.
So the next time someone misses a game because of a broken pinky (you know who you are), think about Ladd and Hossa!
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