Thursday, May 7, 2009

RFA Options at Forward

I brought this up yesterday but looked exclusively at some defencemen as examples. Today we're going to take a look at some of the marginal RFA forwards. I'm probably dreaming a bit with these picks and you might need to up the ante to at least a third round pick (up to about $850,000 is free, up to about 1.2M the compensation is 1.2M) in order to actually have any chance at getting the player. Either way, this low end of the RFA market is a place where one team might be able to take advantage of another team that has put themselves close to the cap (like the Oilers... good grief they need to move out some of those overpaid third line/third pairing veterans). The two teams that I've looked at are Washington and Chicago who might be leery of spending money over a two or three year period on their depth.

Troy Brouwer is fifth among Chicago forwards in Quality of Competition and had a faceoff differential of -78 (seventh among forwards). He would definitely help provide size as he's about 6'3, 220 lbs. and he definitely knows how to hit. He managed to be a +8 at EV so he's not a liability at all on a fourth line and he may be able to work his way into tougher minutes as time progresses. He just finished his 23 year old season so there is, once again, time to grow. He just finished his entry-level deal which payed him 0.675M so a 0.85M contract would represent a 25% raise. I could see the Blackhawks not wanting to pay that. If his agent lets him take less, well, Brouwer needs a new agent.

Eric Fehr is a pipe dream but we're going to write a little bit about him anyway. I think the third round pick territory is the place we'll need to go in order to have a shot. He hasn't brought much offense to the NHL so it's at least possible that the Capitals don't want to pay him over 1M. I'd be fine with somewhere between 1M and 1.2M as I think he can step directly into a role that asks him to play pretty tough minutes. Fehr was third among Washington forwards in Quality of Competition and had a faceoff differential of -34 (seventh among forwards). That looks to me like he was used to take on the secondary toughs and he did end up a +9 at EV which is certainly commendable. Players that can do that at 23 years old and stand 6'4, 212 lbs. are worth at least putting a line in the water.

Both of these players do represent a move toward a grittier more physical team. They would also heighten the competition for spots at camp which I see as nothing but a good thing. Is it realistic to think Chicago and/or Washington would give one of these guys up for nothing or a third round pick? As I said last time, I don't really know but is there anything to lose by finding out?

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