Really intense game Tuesday night, a real playoff set-up. I thought the team played well, and played extremely hard (except one person...I'm looking at you big 27). I thought the defence won us the game and that instead of doing a normal recap, I would put up a debate containing in my mind, two of the three best Sens in Tuesday's win (the other was Phillips), to inspire some thought and (hopefully) some responses.
For the few of you that read this (thank you housemates!!), you may not believe me when I say that, sitting in class today, I came up with a sweet idea for a blog. Why not compare the pros and cons to keeping Anton Volchenkov over Andy Sutton. Why might you not believe this? Because when I came home, I found that at 11:43, Senschirp put up a blog about the very same idea. You can believe me or not, but fact is, while chirp posted the question, I planned to look into it deeper. And, because I don't want to do homework, that's exactly what I'm still going to do! So let's break it down shall we?
Sutton: 6'6, 245lbs and 35 years of age. 175 hits this year, which translates into 2.8 hits per game.
Volchy: 6'1, 226lbs and 28 years of age. 140 hits this year, which translates into 2.4 hits per game.
Thoughts: This is basically a DRAW. Sutton hits more, and his huge frame is quite an attractive asset because you cannot teach size. In addition, Sutton will occasionally drop the gloves, which takes some of the pressure off Carks and Neil. Now Volchy on the other hand has never had a problem with his size, and he is 7 years younger, which cannot be underestimated. Guys tend to lose a step in their late 30's.
Sutton: Rated #1 Defensive defenseman in the league by CBS sports. This is because of his aforementioned 175 hits combined with his 172 blocked shots (2.77 per game) and only -8 rating despite playing on the Islanders for most of the year.
Volchy: Rated #3 on the same rating scale, he has blocked 157 shots (2.75 per game) this season while having a +3 on the season.
Thoughts: as far as defensive d-men go, these are two of the leagues best. Cannot really find much difference except in the plus-minus but that can be explained by a poor Islander season and possibly because Volchenkov has a very reliable defensive partner. DRAW.
Sutton: Sutton has shown he like to jump up in the rush, and his hands aren't too bad. He handles the puck well for a man his size. 5 goals and 13 points this year puts him at 0.21 ppg for the year and 0.24 ppg for his career. He doesn't see regular powerplay time but does have a cannon for a shot.
Volchy: Handles the puck like a hand grenade. Sometimes forgets he is Russian. Needs to watch Kovy's puck handling DVD. 3 goals (almost a career high) and 13 points gives him 0.22 ppg this year and has 0.22 ppg for his career.
Thoughts: The numbers surprise me, but remember, Sutton has only ever played on one playoff bound team and Anton played on some very high scoring Ottawa clubs. Looking outside the numbers, just the way they handle the puck, I give this to SUTTON.
Sutton: Well, he is the new guy, so you would think Anton should clean up here. However, he has played very well and shown some good chemistry with Erik Karlsson. This is no small thing. Going forward, King K will likely be our top d-man. In addition, Karlsson's biggest detractor is his size, and Sutton more than makes up for that, and can stand up for the kid (as shown on Tuesday) once the league realizes they have to run him to shut him down.
Volchy: It is hard to look past Volchy's 7 years of nearly sterling service and 4-5 years of Philchenkov chemistry that will be disrupted if/when he leaves. Trouble is, with the style he plays, how much longer can he keep it up. In addition, will Philchenkov (our top d-pair for years) be our top d-pair going forward? With the emergence of young guys in the pipeline, will it make sense to pay Volchy top dollar to play second fiddle to King K and the other new kids?In addition, Phillips has shown he can play with young guys and make them look good when Volchy is hurt (See: Brian Lee, Karlsson) and maybe he helps Cowen into the league over the next few years.
Sutton: He is making 3.0 million this year, it the last year of a 3 year deal that I believe payed him an average of 3.5 million per. He has had a very good season, but I cannot see him getting more than 3.5 on the open market, and at his age, probably not more than another 3 years. This is just my opinion of course.
Volchy: This is a lose for Volchy (in this debate. A win for his bank account). Career year, in the media a ton, value is extremely high and is coming off a contract where he took a discount. Look for him to pick up (on the open market) as high as 4.5 million over 4-5 years. That is high and long term based on how we've broken this down.
YOUNG"S FINAL THOUGHTS
If I'm Brian Murray (which I'm not) and these guesses at numbers are correct. I re-sign Sutton to 3.5 (maybe a little less) for 3 years, pat Anton on the back, thank him for his services and wish him luck. Pair King K and Sutton next year, Pair Phillips with either Kuba or Cowen, and have Carkner, Campoli (resigned at minimum raise for RFA) and Lee fight it out for the remaining spots.
IF YOU WERE BRYAN MURRAY, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?