A list of 12 “big time players” who would benefit from a change of scenery, and more on Drew Doughty. Enjoy!
BLEACHER REPORT: Keegan McNally listed twelve “big time” players who might benefit from a change of scenery. Among them: Drew Doughty of the LA Kings, Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators, Loui Eriksson of the Dallas Stars, Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators, Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche, Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Evgeni Nabokov of the NY Islanders, Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks, Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes, Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames, and Alexander Semin of the Washington Capitals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I really don’t think a “change of scenery” will honestly improve the performances of most of these players. For many of them, their current teams aren’t the problem. Doughty, Weber, Eriksson, Luongo, Iginla and Kiprusoff aren’t going to play any better on other teams. They’re already among the league’s elite, and changing teams won’t make them become any more elite than they already are. Spezza’s problem is injuries, not the Senators. Eriksson had a five-game scoring streak, plus scored in two more games, during the 11 games Brad Richards missed last season, so I doubt his stats will be adversely affected this season with Richards now a Ranger.
Semin and Statsny might improve if he played on another team, but then again, they might not. There’s little evidence to suggest their current teams are hindering their performances. Nabokov has yet to play a single regular season game for the Islanders, so we really can’t pass judgment until he has a few games with them under his belt. Until the Blue Jackets landed Jeff Carter, I would’ve agreed Nash would probably fare better elsewhere. Doan doesn’t want to leave Phoenix, and at this late stage in his career, I doubt he’ll elevate his game much more than he previously has.
HOCKEYBUZZ.COM: “Eklund” claims he’s “not convinced” about the existence of rumors of offers sheets for Drew Doughty, but suggests “the mere mention” of offer sheets could force the issue, meaning a possible contract signing with the Kings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt it. As I previously noted, if a team were going to pitch an offer sheet to Doughty, they would’ve done it by now. Of the 9 teams with the available cap space who might be able to send him an “unmatchable” offer sheet – St.Louis, Winnipeg, Phoenix, Florida, Nashville, Dallas, NY Islanders, Carolina and Colorado – all are teams which in recent years have stuck as close to the cap floor as possible. Sending him, say, a $10 million per season offer sheet, which is likely what it would take to keep the Kings from matching, doesn’t seem feasible for those teams.
The Ottawa Senators were previously big spenders, but they’ve indicated they’re rebuilding with affordable young talent, and I don’t see Bryan Murray deviating from that plan now. The traditional big spenders are all maxed out and cannot possibly afford to send Doughty an offer sheet. Any “threat” of an offer sheet probably has no bearing on the status of the Doughty contract talks.