Friday, September 26, 2008

Can the Bruins Trade Fernandez?

Aside from the all-important return of Patrice Bergeron, the biggest issue facing the Bruins this offseason is a brewing goalie controversy.

In the red corner, standing 5'11" and weighing 201 lbs (think Stay-Puft), we have Tim Thomas:

- 34 years old, injury history includes minor tweaks to the groin and knees
- Career GAA of 2.80, Career Save % of .913
- Style of play similar to that of a beached dolphin trying to flop back into the water
- Career highlight - Led the league in save % most of the 2007-08 season, and was the winner of the All-Star game.
- Cap hit of $1.1M, and it's a contract year.

In the blue corner, standing 6'0" and weighing 185 lbs, we have Manny Fernandez:
- 34 years old, recovering from devastating knee injury
- Career GAA of 2.49, Career Save % of .912
- Style of play switched to butterfly late in career
- Career highlight - Won William Jennings trophy in 2007, along with Nicklas Backstrom.
- Cap hit of $4.33M, and it's a contract year.

With Tuukka Rask waiting in the wings, it's clear that one or both of these guys will not be returning next season. Therefore the Bruins are left with a difficult decision: to platoon the two goalies in a 1/1A system, or to cut one loose and hope to get a little return on their assets.

In this blogger's opinion, it's a pretty clear decision: unless Fernandez comes out and rocks our world, his salary hit makes him a liability to the growth of the team. Provided Thomas continues to flip-flop his way to a winning record, he has earned the starting spot and should be kept on the team.

So, the REAL question is: who might be willing to trade for Manny Fernandez? Any potential suitors would have to meet three conditions:
1) Lack of a legit starting goalie, or at least the need for a Plan B in case of implosion
2) A decent shot at the playoffs, and therefore motivation to trade for a B-list starter
3) Something to give back to the Bruins in return... particularly a #2 defenseman or high draft picks

Crunch the numbers and you get this short list of potential suitors:
Montreal (if Price underwhelms)
Nashville (ditto Ellis)

It's a safe bet that the Bruins wouldn't swing such a trade with a division rival, so Montreal and Ottawa are off the list. The only two teams remaining who make sense would be Colorado and Nashville.

Colorado - With a ridiculously soft duo of Raycroft/Budaj, the Avs are lucky to be in the playoff hunt at all. They have enough cap space to absorb Manny's salary, but not much in the way of useful commodities to return in a trade. Their most obvious option would be to move Jordan Leopold, who will be a UFA at the end of the season. The Bruins might be willing to bite on that offer.

Nashville - Preds fans are hoping that Dan Ellis continues to overachieve and a trade would be unnecessary. But if his sophomore season brings him back down to earth, Nashville will need to move quickly to stay in the playoff race. The Bruins might be willing to accept a straight-up trade in order to get some cap relief (the Preds have a cushion of $12.4M), or they could make an offer for contract-year veteran blueliner Greg de Vries. Ellis would make a nice #2 goalie in order to buy time for Rask in Providence.

Of course, Fernandez could dismiss all of this moot speculation by having a career season... but allowing 2 goals on 12 shots against the Habs in the exhibition opener wasn't a good sign that he's coming on strong this season. It's in the Bruins' best interests to move him quickly, to reduce the chance of losing him to injury or failing to find a suitor later in the season.

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Unknown said...

I know Thomas is a fan favorite, and Manny Fernandez just brings up bad memories of that other Manny because he was hurt all last season, but Fernandez did well in Minnesota, and his numbers are either matching or better than Timmy the Tornado's. He's more steady with it, as well.

Anonymous said...

i found this blog from a link you posted in your comments on an article. probably some of the worst writing ever. not just this entry, but the last few that i read as well. i know i chose to come here, but your opinions should be kept where you are, mommys basement listening to weei.

cornelius, i hope your comment to that "other manny" are just a poor attempt at humor. you cant be serious that bruins fans are nervous about fernandez returning because of how rameriz left the sox this season. there is no correlation at all.

as much as i think the mainstream media wrongfully trash those people who blog, i cant help but agree when i read sites like this. for shame.

The Bastahd said...

Big comments from an anonymous source... least he could do is give out his ESPN name. What a tool...

Tom said...

I have no problem with people disagreeing with what I say... but at least have the cojones to attach a name, and make an argument. This isn't a schoolyard.

Anonymous said...

tukka rask isn't ready for the big time. see: last years playoffs.

Anonymous said...

I think the chances of moving Manny are pretty slim. Raycroft and Budaj are just as soft as Manny so why take the cap hit? I feel like Manny doesn't really fix your goal tending problems. He hasn't played in almost a year, and when he has the numbers have been dismal, couple that with the seeming ease of injury and the cap hit - why would anyone want that? These are the same reasons I cringed when the Bruins signed him for so much. The only way he moves is if he gets packaged with a forward like Kessel or Axelson