OK, as we're about to take down the 2013 calendar and put up a new one, I thought we could all play Bucky Gleason's GM For A Day game to assess where BFLO is in the 'rebuild/retool/teardown'. Not surprisingly, we'll all likely do a much better job that Jerry Sullivan In Waiting Bucky. Please feel free to post your own vision. This is probably unnecessarily detailed, but what the heck, once I get going I have a hard time cutting it off. So without further adieu...
STEP 1: GM. So if I'm Patty OooLala, I'm signing up Jason Botterill from PIT as my new GM. And to fill in the one hole in his resume, I'm grabbing Mike Futa from LAK as my AGM in charge of personnel (assessing and evaluating talent on all levels). I'd also make Teppo an AGM as well, to ensure his place in the organization in the event I hire a new head coach. I'd like to keep some threat of continuity.
Why Botterill? As a part of PIT's FO, he's been a part of developing very high picks (a necessity for BFLO), surrounding those picks with cheap, complimentary talent (managing the cap), adding talented pieces (team building) and retaining talent (see cap). Jim Benning scares me simply b/c the Bruins have, IMO woefully mishandled their high picks (see Kessel and Seguin) and jettisoned them too early, rather than develop them. Granted, system-fit is important, and they got quite the haul for both, but I'm still wary. Paul Fenton is OK, but I think NASH is basically BFLO and they have failed in finding/developing Top 6 forwards. He doesn't interest me at all.
STEP 2: TRADE DEADLINE. OK, I've got my FO team in place. First, I look at Matt Moulson. He's probably BFLO's most valuable commodity. A lot of contending teams need offense. Bad. PHX, MIN, DET, PIT, StL (without Steen) even the LAK could use some scoring on their 2nd lines. But I get an offer from a surprise team. TB. Stamkos is coming back post-Olympics; their top line is studly, and they've gotten good/great goaltending thus far. The East is weak. When the Junior season ends, Drouin likely comes up...perfect for Moulson. Imagine a 2nd line of Drouin – Ty Johnson - Moulson! They would certainly be a threat to come out of the East.
So TB, who has a deeper prospect pool than possibly anyone, offers their '14 1st, Hart and Koekkoek for the 4-time 30G scorer. BFLO says yes.
Next, Tallinder. I want to keep him, I think he's been good for this team. But a number of teams have been looking for a rental, veteran D in light of injuries. BOS among them. But Botterill, in his discussions with PIT for Moulson, instead finds a need for a veteran D. If BFLO got 2 2nds for Regehr, they get similar picks from PIT (2nd this year, 2nd next).
Our friend Ryan Miller. Now, over in ANA, they have UFA in Hiller, a long-term injury problem in Fasth, and stellar rook Andersen. They also have Gibson in the pipeline, although some reports say he's more than a year away. They also have a very legitimate shot at a Cup THIS year. So they get clever. They move Hiller to NYI (Snow could not survive if he made ANOTHER deal with BFLO after having gotten smoked on the first one) for some nice pieces (perhaps a top prospect). Now, ANA is basically putting their Cup hopes on the shoulders of a rook. Bad idea. But they're a smart organization, and want more than a potential rental, esp with Justin Peters, Neuvirth, and/or Scrivens on the market; they want assets in exchange.
So in a blockbuster, ANA gives up OTT's '14 1st, Emerson Etem, Shea Theodore and Sheldon Souray (i.e. cap relief) for Miller (odds are he would re-sign there for a short-term deal), Ennis (who I think would excel in ANA's high-flying speed-based offense, and they'll need to replace Selanne among others in the skilled forward department), cap relief on the Miller deal, and TB's '14 1st.
BFLO listens to offers for Ott, Ehrhoff, and even a resurgent Myers, but decides to stick with what they have there.
STEP 3: 2014 DRAFT:
Now the NYI have to make a decision. I would say, objectively, that if you're the NYI do you think there is a decent chance you might not re-sign Vanek, the aforementioned Hiller, and another splash player for the new rink considering all your holes? I would. And would losing those guys give you a legitimate shot at McDavid/Eichel in '15/a high pick in a supposedly much deeper draft? I'd say yes, despite the bad PR. So, b/c they're the NYI, they do the opposite and take the sure thing this year. BFLO now has #1, 9, 30, 47, 50, 56 and 60.
They draft #1) Reinhart, #9) Ehlers. They then decide to move up, offering #30 and #56 to get up to PHX's #18. They take #18) Goldobin, #47) Demko, #50) Jacobs, #60) Mistele. What a bunch! Big, highly skilled, adds speed, restocks the forwards with goal scorers, including 2 dynamic offensive players, and get a top tender.
And in 2015, they have 2 #1s and 4 #2s!
STEP 4: FREE AGENCY:
First, BFLO must adjust to the new cap. Which means, tragically, that I have to keep Leino and Stafford at their current salaries. This makes me queasy. But it is what it is.
Second, we need to re-sign our own guys. I'm going to re-sign Ott at 4.25m/3, Foligno at 1.5m/3, Adam at 1m/2, McNabb at 1.25m/2, and Hackett at 950k/1.
Third, I'm going to make a splash. I think we all know Ryan Callahan is a WNY native. Things seem to be unraveling in NY. While BFLO has to overpay b/c of their situation, he's got grit, plays both ways, can score 25+G in the right environment, he's a Captain, does a little of everything. Plus I have the cap floor problem. So I go 5.75m/5 for Callahan! Then for a bit of truculence and some Cup-winning experience, I sign Brandon Bollig for 1.275m/3. Speaking of which, I also sign a declining veteran who has a lot of experience including a Cup win in Danny Cleary, for 2.75/2. This should solidify the locker room and give some more snarl.
Last, I let D'Agostini, McBain, McCormick, Sulzer, and Scott go.
This leaves me with almost $16m in cap space and puts me about $4m over the cap floor.
STEP 5: COACH. Botteril uses his connections to land Tony Granato. He's got HC experience, he's got playing experience, he's won Cups as a coach, he's coached with some well-regarded coaches, coached internationally. Young (relatively), energetic. He brings in Mike Grier as an Assistant, and Billy Guerin, for some immediate cred.
STEP 6: 2014-15 Roster.
With all that done, here's what I got (not exactly a Cup-winner, but aren't we trying to McDavid?):
First Call-Ups: Grigo, Armia, Risto.