Friday, July 14, 2006

Seeya, Eric?

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After seeing that John Ferguson signed Erik Westrum (yeah, that’s what I was thinking too - who?) to a two-year contract, I hit the roof shortly thereafter when I read that Ferguson is on the verge of losing Eric Lindros to another team, possibly Edmonton or Dallas, two clubs in obvious need of a centre. Kind of like how Toronto needs one:

“Lindros admitted last week that he sat down for meetings with Ferguson and coach Paul Maurice and was buoyed by the news they want him to play a prominent role on the team's second line.

But then Ferguson stood firm on his negotiations with Lindros, who is representing himself. The Toronto GM wouldn't budge from his initial offer of $750,000 annually (all figures U.S.), an offer made last season shortly after Lindros was lost because of wrist surgery.”

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Yeah - that's me right after I read Ferguson
might not sign Lindros. Look out, baby.

John Ferguson has made some extremely puzzling moves (and I’m gritting my teeth as I attempt to diplomatically describe his spending habits) with his budget allocation this summer.

Okay, so if I understand - he’s willing to give a couple of aging minor leaguers (John Pohl, Eric Westrum) who have proven absolutely nothing at the NHL level guaranteed contracts for next season, but now, NOW, he’s decided to shut the vault when Lindros has come, hat in hand, willing to take a substantial discount to stay in town. He asked for 1.25 million bucks - that's what Domi made last year, for crying out loud. Is Ferguson thinking Lindros is worth less than Domi?

I don't get it. Ferguson overplayed the hometown discount card last year with Roberts too, and look what happened there.

What do I know, though. Maybe a 33-year-old former Hart Trophy winner with 839 career points is only worth $250,000 more than the legendary John Pohl.

It would be an organizational embarrassment (this is another attempt at diplomacy) if the Leafs let Eric Lindros go to another team because Ferguson decided to dig his heels in over a couple of hundred thousand dollars.

Lindros is now three years removed from his last concussion, and before he was sidelined last season with an unrelated freak injury, was putting together an excellent (surprising?) year. There's no reason to think he can't produce that way again. He would slot in perfectly into the Leaf lineup as a solid third-line centre, on a team that could really use one. Think about it - who else is a character forward on the Leafs right now?

And the risk? Absolutely zero – Lindros would be added to the roster as a role-player only, not a pillar player to be relied on, and should the unthinkable happen and an injury takes him from the lineup, his salary comes out from under the cap, and you insert another centre in his place. Like the incredible John Pohl, for instance.

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Lookit 'im. Poor little guy, in his new
shirt and all. Fergie's going to call, right?

Look, Lindros asked for $1.25 million, Ferguson has offered $750,000. So you pick up the phone and saw it off at a million dollars for one year, and wham-bam, you’ve got a 6’5”, 240 lb. centre who projects to 20 goals, 40-50 points next season, as long as he stays healthy. And if the big man insists on $1.25 mill, you give it to him. There’s room under the cap, and more importantly – nobody who was available (restricted free agents don't count) with his kind of upside has signed a deal this summer for so little. Nobody, it's not even close. Check the list. Even Roenick signed for $1.2 million plus incentives - and he's 36 with about 200,000 miles on the odometer. I can't believe that Ferguson entertained this petty flea-market haggling with Lindros from the outset. Unless there is a list of players with Lindros' resume willing to play in Toronto for $1.25 million?

And even if Lindros signs for that amount, it leaves salary room to pick up Peca, assuming he still wants to play under this big top. Lindros' contract is one of the simplest no-brainer slam-dunks Ferguson should be contemplating this summer.

So, Fergie. Buddy. Pick-up-the-phone, and call him. Call. Him.

What are you waiting for?


Blogger Zanstorm said...

I would let Lindros go! Look at the daze in his eyes! He's one hit away from retiring! A complete liability to a Leaf team that finally looks younger!

12:53 AM  
Blogger Wardo said...

For all the reasons I listed above, I think he's worth the risk.

At the right price.

4:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enough of this Lindros crap already. Eric has been a bust since the day he was drafted. What has he done? The only significant contribution he has made to the NHL is create one of the most succesful teams in NHL history, the Avs.

If Eric could prove to me that he is a winner and makes other players play better, which in turn makes a better hockey team then I would say okay, sign him. But, he sucks, and hasn't been on a team yet that he made better.

Stanley Cups for Eric - 0

It's all in the Cups boys, and Eric doesn't play for the Cup, he plays for the Bank.

Now shut up about Lindros and move on.

6:37 AM  
Blogger Wardo said...

I moved on once he signed with Dallas. If Ferguson wanted him, he would have tried harder to keep him.

Lindros never made any team better? Back up what you say, Anonymous. You're wrong - again!

He took Philly to the Cup final. He won the MVP that year? Ring any bells?

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you think Eric took them to the Cup final? It would appropriate to say that John LeClair took them to the Cup final; Eric didn't even play in the finals. Yup, he missed em’. I bet you wonder why he missed them. If you think real hard you will know, actually you may even conjure up and image or two as to why Eric was a “No Show”.

Eric is nothing but fluff; in his 12 years of NHL contributions he has only surpassed the 100 point plateau once. This is the guy labeled as "The Next One". The implication is huge, “The Next One”, following “The Great One”, would lead one to assume that he would eclipse the 100 point mark at will. Like hell, I haven’t heard this guy referred to any other than a “Cancer”, “Poison”, “Melon Head”, etc. He's only averaged playing 59 games per season, what a punk.

His year in Toronto can be labeled one of two ways,

1) Joke
2) Embarrassment

Actually, it could be a third way as well;

3) Embarrassing Joke.

Toronto was stupid to sign him in the first place, and now that he’s gone the only hope we have is that he is taken out when he plays at the ACC. If Belak can lay him out at centre ice with a nice clean hit, it will be a sight to see Eric flailing around twitching like a fish on the dock.

Say good night Dick!

8:23 AM  

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