Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ask, and Ye Shall Receive

So Nick asked in the comments of the previous post:

in my limited-knowledge opinion I think the one name that hasn't been talked about, but should be, is Cheechoo. I know everyone think back to 2 years ago and how he broke out under big joe but in the end I think history will show that he had one miracle year and fizzled out. While he doesn't pull a huge contract I think he would be the best form of trade bait despite his poor numbers this year. Your thoughts?

I decided to make a whole post on it, because I tend to get long-winded at times like these.

Let's talk about the prospect of the Sharks trading a major player first (Marleau, Cheech, Joe, etc.). It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, given Doug Wilson's history of deliberate moves. I think it's a unnecessary panic move. Given how stacked the Sharks are with young talent, I don't think any trade like this would happen this year. Unless the Sharks gain a big time piece that would stick around for several years. This isn't an aging team that needs to win now.

About Cheech- first of all, being tied for 14th in the league (last year with 37 goals) isn't 'fizzling out' in my opinion. Here are some players who scored fewer goals than Cheech last year ( a 'disappointing' year according to some): Hejduk, Zetterberg, Briere, Jagr, Smyth. Let's not call him a flash in the pan quite yet. Only 1 guy since 2000 has had back-to-back 50 goal seasons, and only 3 guys have had back-to-back 40 goal seasons.

None of that means he's not having a brutal year so far. Of course he is. As I said in my first Teal Spiel call, I'm not convinced the Sharks' coaching staff are giving Cheech the best opportunity to succeed. At that time, I thought they were punishing him for playing badly, putting him on the fourth line where he has basically no chance to score. He needs a guy feeding him. Since then, he's showed a bit more spark, hasn't spent as much time on the 4th line, and still hasn't opened it up. He's working very hard, but the biscuit ain't going in the basket.

We're still only a quarter of the season in. I don't think you trade a guy who's in a 20-game scoring slump after he had two great years. Reason #1 - you won't get the best value for him. Reason #2 - it's bad business. As you said, he's not breaking the bank, and the Sharks aren't up against the cap. The problem with the Sharks right now seems to be lack of scoring- why would we want to dump our top scorer the last two years? Even if we package him with other players or picks for a truly elite scorer, is that really going to make enough of a difference? Best case is we'd gain 50 goals (if we're damn lucky) plus a huge contract and lose 30 goals and a cheap contract.

So here's my prescription. You don't trade Cheech this year, regardless of what happens. He goes half a season with 10 goals, you put him on the fourth line again, you put him in the press box, and you hope the disincentive pushes his buttons. He's a ferociously competitive guy. I've seen it personally at Sharks practices. He's the first guy that knows he's sucking, and the last guy that wants to drag his team down. If that mentality changes AND his output stays horrible, you consider trading him after the season is over.


Nick said...

Thanks for the quick responds, I certainly would expect a proven, all-star caliber goal scorer in return but in the end I agree with you that it would not be the best form of long term planning, he is a character guy who fits into the profile of the organization well but man is he in a slump.

In a quick attempt to answer my own question from the previous post (what the sharks need to do/not do). If they are looking to act, which I always think DW's patience and care not to be hasty with these things is his best asset, I think someone to stand in front of the net and bang at rebounds would be the biggest help (Holmstrom is a one of a kind player and certainly not on the market, but is the model for this kind of player).

I know Grier is a big proponent of Tucker and I can see the reasoning behind it. In the end my concern is that I don't think that that kind of spark plug player is capable of fitting into the sharks wilson/wilson system and it only hinders both sides.

Mike said...

Sharks allegedly did go after Smyth in the offseason as well- those Homstrom/Smyth kinds of guys are very much hard to come by and in demand. Which is why the Clowe injury is so damaging. In that regard, I read an unsubstantiated rumor that said he was anticipating his comeback in late January.

I should warn you, I'm fully on the Tucker bandwagon myself... I'm not sure there a skills that are missing, but rather disposition. Tucker is the kind of guys that people frown at when they see his antics, but everyone would like to see antagonizing the other team. Like Brian Marchment or Theo Fleury, who I believe was on the Sharks for about an hour and a half.

Nick said...

I definitely agree with the Clowe injury really hurting the completeness of our 1st line. And hopefully once he's back (which I read somewhere might not be for 6 months!, but january would be nice too) things will be able to turn around.

I agree that a player like Tucker are skilled players as well and that has been part of the problem in the past with players like Parker who really couldn't contribute by the numbers, and that certainly makes him more viable. In the end I think Ron Wilson's coaching style is not very cohesive with this kind of player and so while someone (think Ville) can come in and shake things up temporarily (which at the deadline, maybe thats enough), it doesn't work in the long term. I'm not personally opposed to the idea of a Tucker-type player on the Sharks, I'm just not sure it's the answer, especially based on the system.

Finally, I think Theo was on the sharks for 27 minutes and 13 seconds, but who's counting.

Jeremy said...

Your alternate scenario - 4th line, pressbox, no improvement - is the thing that will keep Wilson up at night. Since, in that case, Cheech's trade value is at it's highest right now.
Quick, who's Anson Carter playing with?
If you're saying that Cheech needs Joe, then you'd better prepare for him being dealt for below market value in "a mutual decision that a change was needed."