History Repeating Itself

The word is about
there’s something evolving
whatever may come
the world keeps revolving

They say the next big thing is here
that the revolution’s near
but to me it seems quite clear
that it’s all just a little bit of history repeating.

This is Shirley Bassey. For my generation she will live forever for the inspired treatment of the theme from the Bond movie “Goldfinger”, specifically that word in the song (“GOLD-FINGGGG-UH”) which we’ve been emulating (but never getting right) since the Beatles hit New York.

It’s funny to watch how some famous people from your childhood find their way as they grow older. Bassey sold a buh-zillion records before becoming famous all over again for “History Repeating” with the Propellerheads in 1997. She’s also (obviously) quite beautiful which is a helluva trick at age 70.

I think history may be about to repeat itself. There is a rumor today that the Phoenix Coyotes have claimed goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov from the Anaheim Ducks. So, the circumstances as I understand them are:

  • The Ducks tried to trade a qualified NHL goalie without any luck.
  • The Ducks own the Edmonton Oilers first round pick.
  • The Ducks placed Ilya Bryzgalov on waivers at a time when PHX could claim him.
  • If the Coyotes pass EDM in the standings, it might be worth a lottery pick.

It’s happened before in NHL history. Sam (“freaking”) Pollock. Let’s get the facts on paper:

  • May 22, 1970: Montreal trades LW Ernie Hicke, their 1970 1st rd pick (C Chris Oddleifson) to Oakland for the Seals’ 1971 1st round pick, D Francois Lacombe and cash.
  • Early 1971, the Seals are playing well and it is becoming rather obvious that Los Angeles is going to struggle to stay ahead of them, thereby making the Kings eligible for the top pick (at that time, Marcel Dionne and Guy Lafleur were the top ranked amateurs).
  • On January 26, 1971, Pollock traded quality, veteran centerman Ralph Backstrom to the struggling Kings for Gord Labossière and Ray Fortin (two guys who couldn’t make the Morinville Midgets) with the idea that Backstrom would be enough to get LA past the Seals in the standings and make Pollock the man in charge at that summer’s draft.
  • It happened just that way.
  • Pollock had his choice of Lafleur or Dionne, and chose Lafleur.

I can’t say for certain that Brian Burke is thinking that far ahead, that he believes it’s worth the risk of losing Bryzgalov for nothing in order to get one of Stamkos, Doughty or Pieterangelo. I can’t say it would be a good gamble even if he was doing it for this purpose. I can’t even say Phoenix has made a claim.

I can say that this season has a chance to be historic for Kevin Lowe in a bad way, and THAT is probably worth a lot to Brian Burke. I think we can agree that this move has a chance to be a strategic “up yours” to the Edmonton Oilers even if it is only a side effect of the overall roster shuffle by the Ducks.

Your move, Kevin.

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40 Responses to "History Repeating Itself"

  1. Ribs says:

    It would be so nice for Lowe to grab Bryz and offload him for peanuts.
    It looks like Washington and Buffalo are ahead of us for the chance to grab him. Phoenix after us.
    Maximum players signed would be the only obstacle for Lowe but that shouldn’t be that hard to overcome.

  2. Earl Sleek says:

    That is VERY interesting. And as for offloading for peanuts, it’s strange, but that’s pretty much the goaltending market these days.

    The most important position on the ice can’t seem to get even a half-decent return.

    That also doesn’t bode that well for the Oil, IMO, as I’ve seen talk of possibly unloading Roloson, but really, what’s the expected return there?

    It’s a crazy market–can’t trade a goaltender who’s got the longest postseason shutout streak of my lifetime.

  3. voxel says:

    Phoenix is in the same division as the Anaheim. Trading to a division rival means fewer points for the Ducks.

    San Jose is going to run away with that division now that they have an offensive D-man.

  4. Keegan says:

    Wouldnt TB or L.A. or even Pittsburgh be more interested in Bryzgalov? As is they are all in need of more consistent goaltending. Might help LA win an a game against Anaheim as well. I wouldnt mind seeing that, but this season is not much caring about what Id prefer.

  5. Mustafa Hirji says:

    What I don’t get is that if Burke really wanted to boost Pheonix, wouldn’t he just offload Bryz to them for some really late round picks. Then he knows PHX is getting the goalie and not some other team, he gets a few bags of pucks in return, and the deal doesn’t look so fishy (it’s a salary dump, he says).

    Frankly, I’d happily take Bryz and then trade one of our goalies for second pair D-men or third line wingers (assuming we can’t get something good in return). It would let us shore up our team with veterans in a time of difficulty.

    Actually, do you figure Pittsburg would take a goalie for Recchi (who they aren’t playing these days)?

  6. Mustafa Hirji says:

    Do you figure that maybe ANA couldn’t deal Bryzgalov because no one wants to help ANA improve until they’re sure Neidermayer and Selanne aren’t back? If you help ANA now, and Neidermayer and Selanne come back, all of a sudden you’d have the Stanley Cup Champions back, but with some improvements over last year.

    This, though, doesn’t explain why they couldn’t get picks or prospects form Bryzgalov.

  7. HIXIE says:

    If Bryz is picked up by phoenix, there bound to have someone emerge as a decent starter, which would be trouble. This year has been painful because were going to have to play beyond this teams actaul level to make sure we don’t give anaheim a gift for next years draft.

  8. Lowetide says:

    Confirmed, he’s a Coyote (SN).

  9. Ribs says:

    I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if he can make an impact in the back-up land of Phoenix.

    If Phoenix beats the Oil overall this year they deserve to look like fools.

  10. PB says:

    Hiya -

    Yep…I think Burke would think that far ahead.

    I’m still amazed that the Oilers didn’t pick Bryzgalov up…

  11. Stuart van says:

    If Phoenix grabbed Bryzgalov, the Oilers must have had a shot at him. Truth be told, there can’t be much of a market for Roloson, considering his expensive contract. The Oilers couldn’t trade Bryzgalov, and he’s an unrestricted free agent in the summer, so not clear that he would have been much of an asset. Maybe you pick up Bryzgalov and trade Garon, who has been playing well enough to warrant attention, and is locked up at least through 2009.

    Shrewdest move? Pick up Bryzgalov, trade Roloson (offering to pick up the first $1 million of his salary), and hopefully get something in return for Roloson. Even if you picked up a million of Roloson’s salary, the net cost would be less than keeping him, and you’d have a stanley cup winning goaltender on your roster.

  12. Psyche says:

    Great insight into Burke’s decision.

    Curious what the Oil would have done if they had the option to take Bryz. We shall never know.

    P.S. Those Morinville midgets (you referred to) had a few good performers in their time. I am biased though as a few of m friends toiled for them.

  13. Andy Grabia says:

    Really interesting take, LT.

  14. Andy Grabia says:

    Curious what the Oil would have done if they had the option to take Bryz. We shall never know.

    They did have the option. Edmonton, Washington and Buffalo all passed on him, according to Mirtle. Which sort of discredits LT’s theory, unless Burke was positive all three would pass. He might have made a call to Buffalo, that’s for sure.

  15. Bruce says:

    It’s happened before in NHL history. Sam (“freaking”) Pollock.

    The only surpise was that Sam Freaking Pollock didn’t trade Backstrom for LA’s first-rounder and thus wind up with Lafleur AND Dionne. I’ll bet he tried.

    Brian Burke may be a Pollock wannabe, but I’m not convinced. He just gave away a quality netminder with a reasonable contract and playoff experience. Why not hang on to him until somebody somewhere gets desperate?

  16. Ribs says:

    The Oilers couldn’t trade Bryzgalov, and he’s an unrestricted free agent in the summer, so not clear that he would have been much of an asset.

    Hmm, I never thought of that. How does that work for goalies off of waivers? You can’t trade them for the rest of the season? Or until their contract is up? Could Lowe have taken him off of the Ducks waivers and then put him onto the Oilers waivers?

    Hah, that would be a dick move, wouldn’t it?

  17. Andy Grabia says:

    He might have made a call to Buffalo, that’s for sure.

    That makes no sense. I meant to say, “he might have made a call to Buffalo. They would have listened to his argument for effing over the Oilers, that’s for sure.”

  18. vb says:

    Well if this is his strategy, I ask Stortini to run Jiggy in the next matchup. We got their pick and that’d be fun to see the followup interview on TSN ;)

    FYI Lowe also wanted to sign Jonas Hiller (new Ducks backup) in the summer. http://www.canada.com/topics/sports/hockey/oilersstory.html?id=478e9f52-f244-4624-a864-13bf219a5a7d&k=58913

  19. Art Vandelay says:

    When you put it that way, Pollock traded a quality C for a marginal upgrade. No disrespect to Lafleur, who obviously was great, but Dionne wasn’t exactly a stiff.

  20. Andy Grabia says:

    FYI Lowe also wanted to sign Jonas Hiller (new Ducks backup) in the summer.

    I don’t even have to look to know that Matheson wrote that story. Who haven’t the Oilers wanted to sign, when it comes to him?

  21. Rod says:

    Interesting take for sure Lowetide. Not sure Burke thought of it that far ahead, particularly if the Oil did have an earlier crack than Pho. Besides, there’s an awful lot that can happen in the last 60 games. My guess is that Burke was mainly trying to create cap room. Perhaps he heard a whisper from a certain Niedermayer that pay cheques are needed soon. Regardless, this move adds another twist to an already interesting storyline re: the Oilers final position in the standings.

  22. Earl Sleek says:

    My guess is that Burke was mainly trying to create cap room.

    There is so little cap room being created by this move (maybe $250k) it seems silly to think that was the main motivation.

  23. Lowetide says:

    Buddy got a shutout today for his new team. Thanks, Sam.

  24. Dennis says:

    Like earl said, they save fuckall cash and room so that doesn’t look like a reason. I really don’t know why Burke did this other than:

    - he wanted to give the guy a chance to earn a starting job somewhere and he had no intention of signing him. Burke actually cited the first reason but I find it odd that he’d do something for a player without thinking of the org first.

    - looking ahead, Burke felt it was best for the team to have Hiller as the backup than Bryz. I think he’d be wrong to consider that but maybe that’s what he figured.

    Intersting take though, LT. I don’t think you’re right about Burke’s intentions, but:

    - I’ll bet that if it works out the way you fear, Burke will SAY this is why he did what he did

    - I can’t think of a good reason why Burke did this.

  25. Pat says:

    question, and though I didn’t see this addressed above as I browsed, I apologize if someone did already bring it up:

    Would we have been ABLE to grab Bryz without making an ancillary move, i.e. dropping one of our 50 contracts?

  26. Lowetide says:

    Pat: I think they would have had to make a move, but lordy that would be a simple paper thingy based on the fact that the Oilers have A FEW GUYS WHO WILL NEVER PLAY IN THE NHL ON THEIR 50 MAN LIST.

  27. Pat says:

    LT: Thanks. And amen to that, there’s no question that we’ve got guys to move. Actually,imho, I think that the prudent Lowe (who I believe does exist, in bizarro world) would have immediately 1.dealt Roloson for a bag of pucks (I assume that LA or some other team would take him if the trade return was small), 2.grabbed Bryzgalov, and 3.gambled on signing him after this season. What’s the worst that could happen? Even if Bryz declined to stay, we’re minus a not-very-cheap (and arguably not very stellar) Roloson for the last year of his contract (3 million), we still have Garon, and the opportunity to bring in JDD opens up.

    And I don’t hate Roloson, by any stretch. Just seems like a reasonable course to take in our situation.

  28. Bruce says:

    Sorry, but if there’s no market for Bryzgalov I can’t see why there would be one for Roloson. He’s ten years older with a millstone contract (1.8 years to go, ~$6 MM.)

    Unless there’s something about this guy that we don’t know about, I can’t see why one of the teams hurting in net wouldn’t give up a fourth or fifth rounder for Bryzgalov. He’d only cost them ~ $1 MM if he didn’t work out; sure he becomes a UFA at season’s end meaning he has something to prove NOW, and if he fits in on whatever team (now officially Phoenix) there’s a real good chance they’ll want to re-up him AND he’ll want to sign because he’s been aching for that #1 job. Recent examples: Biron, Roloson himself, both acquired as potential UFAs for a pick, and both happy to sign with the team that finally gave them their shot.

    Phoenix got lucky.

  29. Pat says:

    edit: looking closer, I see I’m essentially repeating Stuart Van’s position. And as a caveat, I suppose I do agree with both him, earl sleek, and Bruce, in saying that Roloson might be a tougher sell at this point.

    to Stuart Van’s point on the Oil possibly picking up 1 mill or so on Rolly’s contract: Picking up money on a contract, or buying out contracts, is something that this organization doesn’t do, historically (is there even ONE exception?). I don’t expect them to start now. Though I’ve got to admit that I have visions that this trend will end sometime in the next 5 years, in relation to one of either S.S. or D.P.

  30. Earl Sleek says:

    to Stuart Van’s point on the Oil possibly picking up 1 mill or so on Rolly’s contract: Picking up money on a contract, or buying out contracts, is something that this organization doesn’t do, historically (is there even ONE exception?).

    Well, picking up money on a contract isn’t possible under this CBA. Burke talked about it, but everyone was too quick to say “Too bad Burke” to think about what he was saying–it would be a way to facilitate trading, but unfortunately, the mechanism doesn’t exist any more.

    A buyout is possible, but it’s not really an attractive option for a team. It’s tough to get out of bad contracts.

  31. Rod says:

    True, it would facilitate trades, but that doesn’t mean it should be instituted without serious thought. Rich teams (read Toronto, NYR, Detroit, etc.) can afford to sign outrageous contracts. If they could do that without consequences, they’d have nothing to hold them back. Allowing the rich teams to deal away a bad contract by paying a portion of it removes the consequences for signing a bad contract in the first place. While it’s obvious trades would be easier, I don’t think it’s worth the side effect.

  32. Dennis says:

    Yeah, I’m hoping that particular Burke idea picks up some steam. It may be the only chance we ever have of someday moving Souray

  33. Earl Sleek says:

    Allowing the rich teams to deal away a bad contract by paying a portion of it removes the consequences for signing a bad contract in the first place.

    I guess. I would think taking a cap hit to trade away a player does constitute a consequence for overcommitting on that player.

    And these sort of cap punishments are felt the most by the richest teams, so I don’t really know what the issue is.

    Maybe the league’s better off without midseason trades; maybe it isn’t. But right now we seem pretty locked in that the only trades either happen early in the summer or at the deadline; doesn’t seem to be too much struggling teams can do at this point except fire their coach or GM.

  34. Rod says:

    I would think taking a cap hit to trade away a player does constitute a consequence for overcommitting on that player.

    Uh, not as big a cap hit as keeping said player. Guess I was being too obtuse or something. Or my lousy job of looking at the Bryzgalov cap situation tarnished the point.

    And these sort of cap punishments are felt the most by the richest teams, so I don’t really know what the issue is.

    Not compared to actually paying out the full contract. If they trade away even half of it, it frees up cap room for them to spend on someone else. It makes it easier to get out from under a huge contract. Got it?

    That minimizes the consequences of offering huge contracts…so the rich teams are less “afraid” of over-spending on a player. If the player is worth it, great, they’ll keep him. If he isn’t, they can unload the guy by eating part of the contract. Not ideal (compared to a player that’s actually worth it), but not as bad as being stuck with a guy on a bad contract.

    For example, look at the Leafs. They’re in a hole of their own making–signing defensemen to huge deals when the money could have been better spent elsewhere. The only thing that gets them out of the hole they’re in is trading away some of their defense…but there are no takers because of the huge contracts. Why should the Leafs be spared from mistakes of their own making? As it is, they still have an out if they want to “buy-out” some of those guys. They can afford it after all.

    Anyway, just saying Burke’s proposals aren’t a no-brainer. Would those changes increase the amount of trades? Sure. Almost guaranteed. However, there are side effects that have to be considered. That’s my point.

    No question you’re right about the timing of most trades (summer, and trading deadline). Whether that’s a problem or not…I guess we’ll see. The current system penalizes bad management by making it tougher to correct during the year. Might be too severe though.

  35. Earl Sleek says:

    Not compared to actually paying out the full contract. If they trade away even half of it, it frees up cap room for them to spend on someone else. It makes it easier to get out from under a huge contract. Got it?

    I understand, Rod. Paying a full contract is higher than paying part of it.

    You don’t think that Washington is suffering for having to pay Jagr still? Sure they aren’t paying him his full contract amount, but they have much less to spend on their roster now than they used to.

    Texas used to have the same problem with A-Rod, before he got them out of their earlier mistake.

    So yeah, it’s “cheaper” to pay a partial contract, but I’d still say committing some of your cap to a guy on somebody else’s roster is a punishment/deterrent.

    Got it?

  36. Rod says:

    Oh, thanks for the enlightenment Earl. Paying for a player on another roster isn’t a great thing. Thanks. BTW, when did I say otherwise?

    Bringing up Jagr and A-Rod doesn’t refute my point. Nice try though. Those trades happened because Washington (Jagr) and Texas (A-Rod) wanted out from those contracts. If it’s so awful for them, why did they make the deals?

    Obviously eating a portion of a contract by paying a player on someone else’s roster is not ideal. I even said as much (well, *exactly* that…).

    If it’s as huge a deterrent as you’re saying, then why does Burke think it would facilitate trades?

    Besides, my point was the “rich” teams could easily afford to make such moves, while money losing teams…like say, oh, I don’t know…Washington would have a more difficult time paying for someone on another roster. Hmmm. That’s exactly what you said. Wow. Thanks for making my point.

    There’s no question there are side effects to Burke’s proposals. Whether the quantity of mid-season trades is important enough to ignore those side effects…that’s another question.

    Apparently because I’m not a Burke fan-boy you have to disagree with anything and everything I say. Whatever. In this case you’re looking a little silly (you know, like I did before with the poorly researched Bryzgalov cap thing).

  37. Pat H says:

    Matty’s Oil Spills included a comment on Ilya and the Oil:

    “….Edmonton wasn’t interested, either. “We’ve got 50 players (the NHL limit) under contract,”said Oilers GM Kevin Lowe.”

    I’m almost wondering whether Matty got that quote from a stockpile of generic Lowe quotes, or whether he actually asked him the question. ;). Assuming he did ask and that was Lowe’s answer, Lowe’s an idiot. I’m surprised he can count to 50, considering that this is the same guy who said, “Holy Mackerel, we got a lot of guys here!”

  38. Earl Sleek says:

    Whatever, Rod. I’m not really out to prove anything; I’m just saying there’s a way where a team can suffer for a bad signing while still enabling the actual player to be moved.

    There’s no way Jagr’s ginormous contract would have been tradeable; the ability for WSH to take some salary enabled it, and the Caps still curse the day they signed the Czech wonderboy. If you think that’s contrived or ineffective or only applies to small-market teams, fine.

    I don’t know one team, rich or poor, that would love having their budget or cap reduced to pay a player on another team, thus reducing their ability to spend. If TOR had to eat $2M/yr to move McCabe, that would hurt their ability to spend to the cap as well.

  39. Master Lok says:

    Sorry LT – but if Burke *really* wanted to bump up Phoenix – why not trade Bryzgalov to them for a 7th rounder? I mean going through waivers is a bit of a risk no?

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