NHL Analysis: Is Steven Stamkos to Flyers Realistic?

| by Off The Record

It was about a year ago that I sat in OTR’s very own, Micah Warren’s German luxury car (Volkswagen Jetta). We were headed to the range to hit some golf balls when I suggested an interesting, yet unlikely scenario. “The Eagles should make a move for Albert Haynesworth.”

It was evident that this guy was unhappy in Washington and first year head coach, Mike Shanahan, was switching to a 3-4 scheme. Among other things, pride slashed with an undoubtedly poor attitude left the Redskins with a very unhappy, very unmotivated and VERY expensive player for the year. That said, it wasn’t hard to assume Washington would look to move this guy either by trade or simply cutting him after the season.

Despite all this, I repeated my interest in acquiring his services. He is a big, dominant force in the middle who, when motivated, is one of, if not, the best DL in the league. I thought it made complete sense to give him a 2 year, incentive laden deal and an opportunity to rejuvenate his reputation and career. This was a specific position of need for the Eagles that could be filled and possibly exceeded with the addition. Still, I was called a fool and others wanted no part of my scenario.

Just curious. Who is one of Fat Albert’s main potential suitors once a CBA is reached? Who brought in his former tutor to coach the defensive line? More importantly, why is it accepted as a possibility now…when it was rejected vehemently when proposed in your German engineered sedan? Is it only worth considering when SportsCenter runs a VO on it or if Adam Schefter says its possible?

The 2010 MLB season came and went. The Phillies ran into the heavy arms of the S.F. Giants and were eliminated in the N.L. Championship game. Despite trading for Roy Halladay and adding Roy Oswalt at the break, the Phitin’s came up short and were out classed on the mound. Is it any surprise that pitching wins championships? No. So even though they had a great rotation already, why is it so farfetched to think they would make a play for Cliff Lee?

I repeated myself over and over again that the Phillies could bring back Lee if they wanted to. Despite moving him to clear space for Halladay, the minute the trade went through to Seattle both Lee, the fans AND the Phillies knew something didn’t feel right. A fan favorite, who was at the top of his game, was moved across the country despite his relationship with the fans and outward desire to play in this city. So why wouldn’t the Phillies take a peek at the guy once he hit the open market?

If a few things happened, the Phillies would have just as good of, if not a better shot at signing the lefty. First, we all knew they would have to let Jayson Werth walk. Done. Second, they would have to find a suitor for Raul Ibanez’ contract. Third, they would need to rely on Lee taking a little less money. Plain and simple. Ok, so the Phillies decided to go over budget rather than find a new home for Ibanez, but all the right things happened prior to signing him. Very similar to how the Eagles are positioning themselves for Haynesworth (although not nearly at the same level).

So when news struck in the middle of the night that Cliff Lee signed a deal with the Phils, were you one of the ones completely caught off guard… or simply excited that your team took advantage of an opportunity in front of them? 

So why can’t Steven Stamkos become a Flyer? Ah, finally we’ve arrived at my point. I’m hearing nothing be negativity and doubt regarding the Flyers ability to sign Stamkos. He is 21 and arguably the 3rd best player in the game (behind Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby). So let’s address some of the facts.

Fact: Flyers would have to clear cap space
Fact: Whoever signs Stamkos to an offer sheet would have to give up 4 first round draft picks
Fact: Tampa Bay owns his rights as a RFA so he would have to refuse the initial offers prior to July 1

To clear the cap space, the Flyers cleared up nearly 108 million dollars in long term contracts by dealing home grown studs in Jeff Carter and captain Mike Richards. Cap space achieved.
In both of those trades the Flyers got young and talented. Hilighted the Richards deal was Braydon Schenn, the 5th overall selection in 2009 and a guy nearly every team coveted. Thanks to the Carter trade, the Flyers scooped up Jakub Vorecek (6th overall in 2008) and also landed the 8th overall pick this year.

With that selection, these guys got Sean Corturier. This guy was once ranked the #1 North American born skater and debated as the top overall pick. He slipped down to 8th where the Flyers bag an absolute steal. And let us not forget the 2007 #2 overall selection in JVR.

So to recap, the Flyers now own the rights to the 2007 #2 overall pick, 2008 #6 overall pick and the 2009 #5 overall pick. Signing Stamkos to an offer sheet at the expense of 4 future first round draft picks doesn’t seem so extreme now…does it? They would be putting themselves in a great position to WIN now while securing youth for the future. Plus, if things go as expected, the picks would be at the bottom of the first round.

Finally, none of this is possible if Stamkos simply signs with TB prior to July 1st. How has that gone so far? In order for any of this to be possible, Stamkos and the Lightning have to come to an impasse on a new deal and allow him to test the waters. So far, the on again, off again talks have proven to provide just that.

Of course, if/when a team signs him to an offer sheet, TB has the right to match the deal. It is being reported that TB is offering around 7-7.5 million per season. Really? Crosby is getting upwards of 9 million/per and Ovechkin is just over 9 million/per. Do we really think this guy is going to sign for 7 million without at least letting other teams drive up that price tag? In addition, who says the Lighting can pay him top dollar even if they wanted to? Vinny Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Ryan Malone are all on the books for long term, high cap contracts. I didn’t see any of those guys get moved yet… did you?

So if a team, like the Flyers, would come in and offer part of the 108 million saved by moving Carter and Richards to Stamkos… do we really think TB can match it? In a curious move, the Flyers moved Darroll Powe earlier this week. Why? He wasn’t going to cost too much and was critical to the PK. Why make that move if you were trying to save every penny you could for a much larger plan.

Do we really think Snider isn’t eying up a big move? After all, he has given up control of the Sixers and has full attention on his prized baby. I’m not saying this is definitely happening, but what I am saying is… look at the facts. Teams, like the Flyers, can pull off a move like this if certain things fall in line. In fact, it’s really the only way moves like this get done. The Phillies took those moves, the Eagles are trying to make some moves and it appears the Flyers are doing the exact same thing.


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