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Elias And Havlat Could Be Package Deal

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ELIAS AND HAVLAT COULD BE PACKAGE DEAL

by Larry Brooks

http://www.nypost.com/sports/elias_and_hav...arry_brooks.htm

June 18, 2006 -- SO HERE are the most pertinent immediate questions to arise in the wake of reports out of the Czech Republic that impending free agent Patrik Elias has hired lifelong best friend Martin Havlat's agent, Allan Walsh, to represent him:

1. Would Elias will be willing to go to Ottawa for a relative discount if the Senators agree to a satisfactory long-term deal with right winger Havlat, who's eligible to hit the open market next summer?

2. Can the Senators convince prospective free-agent defensemen Zdeno Chara and Wade Redden to both take less to remain in Ottawa than each would command independently on the open market if doing so would allow the team to add Elias?

3. Would and/or could Lou Lamoriello keep Elias in New Jersey by pulling off a trade for Havlat then signing him to a long-term deal?

3a. Would the Devils offer first-line center Scott Gomez, staring at arbitration this year and unrestricted free agency next summer, in exchange for Havlat, and would the Senators accept such a deal recognizing the likelihood of Gomez fleeing after one season and that the exchange would keep Elias in New Jersey?

3b. Would the Devils consider offering 48-goal-scorer Brian Gionta, also a salary-arb candidate this season and eligible for free agency next summer, for Havlat, if they recognized such a deal would allow them to retain Elias? And would the Senators be more prone to go for that deal than one for Gomez, even with the same considerations as outlined above?

Elias is a brilliant player, one of the premier half-dozen wingers of the decade, and as irreplaceable within the Devils' framework as was Scott Niedermayer. And it's going to be about more than simply the money for Elias just as it was about more than simply the money for Niedermayer, who one season after winning the Norris Trophy in New Jersey emerged as the best player in the world over the second half of this season and in the playoffs skating with his brother Rob in Anaheim.

Havlat is an immense talent, himself, make no mistake. Only 25 in April, owning a complement of skills made for this NHL, the winger led the Senators with seven goals in 10 playoff games after missing most of the year with a shoulder separation. He registered 68 points in 68 games in 2003-04.

Under normal circumstances, would the Devils offer Gomez straight-up for Havlat? Probably not. Would they even think about trading Gionta, worth more than just his franchise-record-setting goal number indicates, straight-up for Havlat? Not on your life.

But these wouldn't be straight-up deals. They'd in effect be deals for Havlat and Elias, who almost certainly will become team captain if he remains in New Jersey. They're deals the Devils could not afford not to make.

There are obviously other complex scenarios that might arise. Who knows, maybe Elias will attempt to hit $8 million simply by shopping himself around the league and, yes, across the Hudson, where the Rangers obviously would be willing to listen.

The very early distillation, however, yields the probability that Elias and Havlat will be teammates somewhere beginning next season, with Ottawa and New Jersey - in that order - the most likely destinations.

*

A well-placed source reports that Redden would be willing to take a hometown discount to remain in Ottawa, but only if Chara does the same. No word on whether Z is buying in.

Jason Arnott is more likely than not headed for free agency, with sources reporting that Dallas if offering no more than $3M per to keep him off the open market. Arnott earned $2.926M last year.

The Rangers, we're told, are moving toward a multi-year agreement with Group II free agent Michal Rozsival, thus removing from the table the specter of a huge arbitration award. We'd estimate a deal in the $2M-$2.25M range, per.

The Red Wings are asking Nicklas Lidstrom to take a hometown discount to forego free agency, but at this moment we're told the defenseman doesn't quite see the obligation to help GM Ken Holland manage the cap. Doesn't mean Lidstrom is at all likely to flee, but he's not likely to take a cut from the $7.6M he earned last year . . . after taking a 24-percent cut last season as per the CBA.

The Blueshirts are lukewarm about bringing Petr Sykora back to Broadway. But before allowing the winger, who played much of last season with a sore groin, to escape, management should carefully consider Sykora's shootout record, in which he converted five of seven overall to tie for second in league in conversion percentage (.714) of all shooters scoring at least five times.

Only Dallas' Jussi Jokkinen (10-for-13, .761) had a better success rate than Sykora, 5-for-6 as a Ranger. Sykora was the only Rangers regular to convert even half his shootout attempts.

There are, obviously, other considerations - would Sykora be taking a spot from a kid; will the Rangers add a pivot, or is Martin Straka likely to be the second-line center? - but Sykora being shootout-money-in-the bank is no insignificant factor.

Or at least it shouldn't be.

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How many times during the lockout was the idea of Elias-Gomez-Havlat brought up when Patty and Havlat were playing together overseas? It'd be an absolutely nasty line. But worth giving up Gomez? Who'd center them... Parise? Move Elias back to center?

Regardless, unless they work out a buddy-buddy contract situation (ala Selanne and Kariya in Colorado), there's no way a team can afford the two of them for any long period of time and stay highly competitive. If Elias goes to Ottawa, he would have to agree to make less money than Alfredsson. Plus, if Ottawa brings in Elias and locks up Havlat long term, there's no way they can give market price to Redden and Chara... and obviously that weakens the D-corps.

Now here's where I'm torn. I like Havlat as a player, but hot damn do I love Brian Gionta. A player with a goalscorer's touch who brings hustle and determination to the rink every night, who also plays three times his size, is hard to come by in the NHL. Havlat is a slick, slick player with tons of moves and a better overall skill level than Gionta, for sure... but maybe I'm a homer. I'd rather keep Gionta. The catch? If trading Gionta somehow ensures that we keep Elias, then it's got to be done. End of story. (...holy hell, am I agreeing with Brooks on something? :blink: Must be the humidity....)

Ok time to get back to earth and disagree with him on something.

The Rangers can't retain Sykora simply for his shootout prowess. He's way too expensive for that. C'mon, Larry, use your noodle -- if they want someone for his shootout prowess, and that alone is a determining factor, well then it's clear that Viktor Kozlov should make his Broadway debut in October.

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Ok time to get back to earth and disagree with him on something.

The Rangers can't retain Sykora simply for his shootout prowess. He's way too expensive for that. C'mon, Larry, use your noodle -- if they want someone for his shootout prowess, and that alone is a determining factor, well then it's clear that Viktor Kozlov should make his Broadway debut in October.

Interesting thought...

But Kozlov lacks one necessary trait to have any shot at being a Ranger at this point. He isn't a Czech. :P

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Now here's where I'm torn. I like Havlat as a player, but hot damn do I love Brian Gionta. A player with a goalscorer's touch who brings hustle and determination to the rink every night, who also plays three times his size, is hard to come by in the NHL. Havlat is a slick, slick player with tons of moves and a better overall skill level than Gionta, for sure... but maybe I'm a homer. I'd rather keep Gionta. The catch? If trading Gionta somehow ensures that we keep Elias, then it's got to be done. End of story. (...holy hell, am I agreeing with Brooks on something? :blink: Must be the humidity....)

I agree with all the things you said about Gionta, but a big factor in my mind is the playoffs. Our leading goal scorer from the regular season was not really there in the playoff series when we needed him most. Havlat had 7 goals and 6 assists in 10 games this post-season. I understand this was really a breakout season for Gionta and it was the first year where a lot relied on him, but if trading him means locking up Elias and gaining a player as good as Havlat, I agree, it must be done. :(

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I would never consider Gomez for Havlat straight up. Ottawa would have to add quite a bit.

Gio for Havlat is better, but Gionta scored 48 goals this season, and absolutely carried our team throughout much of the regular season. I think some people might be forgetting that fact. Havlat has proven nothing so far in his career, except for the fact that he is injury prone, and can score 65 points. Again, if I were to consider this deal, Ottawa would have to add something.

And devils26, it was one series, let's calm down a bit. We wouldn't be in the playoffs had it not been for Gio, so let's lay off.

EDIT: And we should not let Elias dictate how the team is run. No player is bigger than the team.

Edited by Voros19

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EDIT: And we should not let Elias dictate how the team is run. No player is bigger than the team.

one small problem with that... the NHL is becoming a "star league" (not to the levels of say the NBA or the NFL) but if you want to win and KEEP winning... you need to keep your star players and build around them.... and losing Elias there is no possible way to replace him (this is Niedermayer times a hundred kinda bad if he goes) so maybe a little catering is neccessary... look at brodeur... he got a no-trade and that was unthinkable for Lou a few years ago.....

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one small problem with that... the NHL is becoming a "star league"

How is that? Beyond Pronger, who else in the Cup finals is a "star" player? Teams still win cups, and teams with one or two stars and little else are on the outside looking in.

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Eric Stall and Captain Ugly are considered stars.

Sadly, I might do Gio for Havlat, so Gomer could center them, and settle for a year developing Lil Gio, Bergfors and The Zach into a 2nd Line.

Eric Stall and Captain Ugly are considered stars.

Sadly, I might do Gio for Havlat, so Gomer could center them, and settle for a year developing Lil Gio, Bergfors and The Zach into a 2nd Line.

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i dont know... i love havlat as a player and wish he would be wearing a devils uniform soon... but i dont really want to part with gionta and/or gomez... id also love to retain elias, langenbrunner..... its going to be a tough offseason... id like to see kozlov and klee go, we'll have to wait and see what happens

p.s. go oilers in game 7!

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I would trade Gomez for Havlat, but only because I think Gomez will leave in a year anyways.

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I think this would all be a great deal. When I look at the Devils and analyse their needs, the top priority would be a classless player that kicks people, spears people, elbows people and then runs away. And we need that so badly, that we should trade our top scorer for him.

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If Elias leaves we are woefully short up front. Nieds wanted his bro but Lou stood his ground; how did that work out for us???

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If Elias leaves we are woefully short up front. Nieds wanted his bro but Lou stood his ground; how did that work out for us???

I don't know - we made the second round of the playoffs. I'd say it worked out pretty damn well since the same basic squad lost in the first round the previous year. I don't see why everyone is still crying over Niedermayer - he's gone, and he's not as great as everyone says he is. If Elias leaves we have one bad year, then we go and get someone available in free agency while getting some guys like Vrana NHL ice time.

As for Elias and Havlat, there is no team that can afford both of them. They're both just too good - each of them would have to take major salary discounts to do it. I just can't imagine that taking a combined pay cut of around 15M spread over 5 years just to play together would be worth it - that's a lot of money. So I think Brooks is FOS on this one.

I would not give up Gomez or Gionta for Havlat. Havlat is an outstanding player and he will score 90 points when healthy, but I don't think he's as good as either player in his overall game. It's a shame - we picked one after Ottawa in 1999 - I really wanted Martin Havlat that year.

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If Havlat was a UFA they could do a package deal, but I don't see how they force a package deal now unless Ottawa - who isn't too high on keeping Havlat themselves and has other big-name UFA's to retain - signs Havlat to a long-term deal and then uses that as the carrot to land Elias, probably losing both UFA defensemen in the process. I think this speculation is a lot of nonsense, they may want to play with each other but how are Havlat and Elias supposed to accomplish it, sit out a year?

And as much as I love Elias I didn't want Lou to trade for Robbie Nieds to placate Scott and I don't want him to trade for Havlat to placate Elias. It would completely invalidate Lou's no one person is bigger than the team philosophy. And if Elias does need to play with Havlat, maybe Lou was right not to make him captain.

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We should not trade Americans for Czechs. Did you know that we are the most American team in the NHL?

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I want the credit for this article! If it happens, I said it. :P

I also said the Oilers weren't done and had a feeling. ;)

Hahahahaha at my cohosts. :evil:

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Someone posted on another Devils board that they met Dano yesterday and he said that Lou wouldn't offer Elais the max. The poster also stated that Lou offered Elias $6 M per year and a 5 years contract plus the "C."

Someone else posted here that Elias has new agent and is waiting for other deals.

It would appear that Elias is gone if money is the issue for him. I think Gomez is gone after next season regardless that's just a gut feel based of his family statements. But things change give him the "C" and he stays.

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The Devils security guard???

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I don't know about you, but I'm getting a little sick of our players always wanting to play with their best friend/family members. Don't get me wrong- if I was an athlete, I'd love to be able to play on the same team as my best friend or my brother. But the situation isn't right for Patty to play with Havlat, be it with us or Ottawa. Ottawa would be NUTS to give big dough to Patty and then signing Havlat to a long-term deal with their two best d-men getting ready to walk out the door. If I'm John Muckler, Chara and Redden and priotirty #'s 1 and 1A- everything else be damned. On our side, I don't have any desire to trade either Gio or Gomer for Havlat.

Now part of me says maybe we SHOULD try and get something for Gomer while we can- and if it means keeping Elias, then it's something you have to at least think about. But on the other hand, I think it's on Patty to show a little loyalty to the organization that believed in him and still committed $4 million to him with his health a big question mark. Lou stuck by Patty when he was at his lowest point- now it's time for Patty to show Lou the same loyalty he was shown. On top of that, Patty should not be holding the organization hostage to get Havlat by threatening to leave. He knows we'd have to trade one of Gomer or Gio for him, and that fvcks with a great chemistry we've built- Patty claims he wants to win- but you can't have it both ways. This team- in my mind- can challenge for the Cup next year if we can pick up a halfway decent PP quarterback and a good second line center. Trading Gomez or Gionta to placate Elias fvcks with that big time in my humble opinion, and I don't want to see it happen. C'mon Patty- you've got a great organization that respects you, fans that love you, and a chance to be the next captain. Do the right thing and sign on the dotted line, and don't pull this Niedermayer sh!t.

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the only way that i trade gomez for havlat is if i can have both elias and havlat for $11M/year for 5 years. because they'd both be taking discounts and gomez is most likely gone after next year if elias stays.

but i don't think they're playing together anywhere anyway so i think it's just hot air coming from the fact that elias chose the same agent.

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brooks should append the following to his article:

"........or Havlat could have simply recommended his agent to Elias, in which case, please ignore everything written above."

Edited by brylin18

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brooks should append the following to every article:

"........ please ignore everything written above."

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If it came down to losing Gomer or Gionta, I would have to say it would be safer for the Devils to lose Gio.

I love the guy. I would say he is a fan favorite of 99.9% of the fans. But losing Gomer would be such a bad blow to the Devils right now. If Gomer leaves, the Devils will have no number one center, and the Devils still have to fill the hole left at the number 2 center spot.

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I sure hope guys don't follow the pattern of being groomed and established by the Devils organization only to view their time just as a chance to go for the golden ring contract elsewhere...botoh they usually don't perform as well without the supporting cast they are used to. :(

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