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February 21, 2019
Turn Your Key, Wade!
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
Dreger didn't mention any trade particulars, but the obvious return for Redden would be Patrick Marleau, who's been positively terrible since last year's playoff debacle against Detroit. Marleau, who tricked the Fish into a two-year, $12.6-million contract extension over the summer, has 10 goals and 27 points in 53 games. But wait, there's more! He's also a minus-20. That's hard to do, especially on a winning team with a plus-11 goal differential.
Redden has been almost as disappointing for the Senators. Playing out the final year of his contract, the 30-year-old blueliner is pulling down a cool $6.5 million for his six goals and 32 points. Those are decent numbers, but most Ottawa fans are fed up with his inconsistency and questionable leadership.
Redden's refusal to accept a trade to San Jose only reinforces the idea he's a selfish player. I realize there are always personal issues to consider, but he'll have to move his family in six months anyway. Let's face it; he won't be back in Ottawa next season. He's playing out the string. It really is despicable.
I never understood the concept of a no-trade clause. It's the height of insecurity. Your performance should serve as your no-trade clause. And the second the team approaches you about waiving it, you're already dead to them, so what does it even matter? Wouldn't you rather go somewhere you're wanted?
The whole thing reminds me of that episode of "Seinfeld" where George is trying to break up with that Maura broad, and she refuses. She tells George ending a relationship is like launching missles from a submarine. It takes both parties to turn their keys. Well, Wade, it's time to turn your key. Turn your key, Wade! Turn your key!
Sure, Redden's played his entire 11-year career in Ottawa, but when the team says it doesn't want you anymore, it's time to split. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.
And now that the story's leaked, the situation could get real chippy. The Sens are at home tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. Don't be surprised if Redden gets booed each time he touches the puck. Hey, maybe the Ottawa fans will start their own version of the Larry Murphy "whoop, whoop" chant. That would be great, that would be fun.
The only way Redden could save face is if he re-ups with the Sens for a substantial home-town discount. If he plays out the season and then bolts via free agency, it'll be disgraceful.
But now that San Jose has failed in its attempt to land Redden, what's next? It's no secret the Sharks covet an offensive defenseman. Matt Carle has stumbled headlong into the sinister sophomore slump, and Sandis Ozolinsh isn't the answer. While Dan Boyle and Brian Campbell are the marquee names available, I've got another one for ya: Sergei Gonchar.
Yeah, I realize no one's mentioned his name yet, but if I were Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero, I'd certainly be exploring the option. Gonchar is a tremendous offensive talent. He's got a bullet from the point, can orchestrate the power play, and fires crisp outlet passes to spark the transition. But unless you watch him on a nightly basis, you really have no appreciation for just how terrible he is.
The Pens need to strike while the iron's hot. Gonchar's value will never be higher than it is right now. He's currently third among NHL defensemen with eight goals and 45 points in 50 games. He's also a machine on the man-advantage, racking up 31 power-play points.
At the moment, San Jose's top scoring blueliner is Craig Rivet. Yikes. Who canceled? Rivet has five goals, 26 points, and 15 power-play points. Needless to say, Gonchar would be an enormous offensive upgrade for the Sharks.
Gonchar is signed through 2009-2010. He's making $5.5 million this year, $6 million next year, and $5.5 million the year after that. Considering stiffs like Roman Hamrlik are getting $5 million a year in free agency, Gonchar's contract doesn't seem as ridiculous as it once did.
Granted, Gonchar is a huge part of the Pittsburgh attack, but the Pens will never win a Stanley Cup with Gonchar as their No. 1 defensemen. He's gots to go. His departure will create more responsibility for Ryan Whitney and Kris Letang, who are more than capable of carrying the offensive load from the back line. And don't forget about Alex Goligoski. His recent recall could be paving the way for Gonchar's ticket out of town.
Swapping Gonchar for Marleau would match up in terms of money. Adding another center isn't exactly ideal, but I'm sure Marleau wouldn't mind playing the wing for Kid Crosby.
Or the Pens could swap Gonchar for Jonathan Cheechoo, whose 11 goals and 18 points are screaming for a change of scenery. Cheechoo is also locked in at an affordable $10 million over the next three seasons. And the Sharks have room under the cap to absorb the extra salary if it is Cheechoo for Gonchar.
The only problem from a Pittsburgh perspective is how the trade could affect Evgeni Malkin. He relies on Gonchar for just about everything, on and off the ice. But that umbilical cord needs severed sooner than later. Maybe it will finally force Geno to learn English.
If Pittsburgh ever hopes to compete for a Cup, it has to find a premier goal-scoring winger to play with Crosby. There's no one in the system to fill the role. Getting Marian Hossa would be nice, but he'd cost too much, both in money and in prospects. Cheechoo would be the most affordable option. Marleau could also fit the bill. San Jose wants an offensive defenseman, and the Pens just happen to have offensive defensemen falling out of their pockets.
Let's make it happen.
George Costanza playing the part of the Ottawa Senators...