04 March 2010
So now that I've had some time to think about it, I've got a little more tempered thoughts on both the trades that brought Mueller, Porter and Yelle over to the Avs. I'm writing this blog while wearing my old Yelle sweater, which should give a preview of where I stand on that trade. (Hint: I like it, but not as much as you might think). But the big trade was the Wolski for Mueller and Porter.
Trades are a really difficult to judge, mainly because you can't really judge it until after you see how it plays out. And even then, you have to judge it in context of the knowledge available at the time. It's a bizarre thing because it's a judgement made on a plethora of "What-Ifs" and many judgements are based on the faulty assumption that a player would be the same if they didn't get traded. That's the best assumption people can make, but it's probably not an accurate one. But with that said, here's my thoughts on the trades and my snap-judgements:
More after the jump
Wolski for Mueller & Porter
Money is a major factor in this deal. Wolski will command $4M+ next season, and that's a lot to pay a guy who is so incredibly inconsistent. I won't get into it too much, because Anyone but Detroit has an excellent round up on the monetary implications of this deal. I mostly agree with him.
Also there's rumors and speculation that Wolski's effort Monday may have been the straw that broke the camels back, in regards to his occasional lapse in effort.
My problem with either of the above scenarios, money and falling out, is that I really think the Avs could have gotten more for him. And if they couldn't there were Wingers out there who could help the Avs in the playoffs this season (Stempniak) who would not have eaten into any future plans.
Some of my tweets and comments, here and elsewhere, may have given the impression that I hate Mueller. And I don't. At the same time I think it's important for the Avs to make the playoffs this season, especially for selling tickets and selling this team locally. and Mueller has been struggling mightily. Now he could turn it around all of a sudden (he had a goal tonight!) but the chances are, especially given his stats, extremely unlikely. Mueller has loads of talent, and has a heaping barrel full of potential, but he's been abysmal this season.
Long term is a completely different story. Mueller is extremely talented (8th pick in the draft) and had a lot of success. Here's some analysis from various sources:
The Avs are gambling that the trade will rock Mueller’s world enough that he gets that desire back. If they can make that happen, they will have a player who was supposed to be one of the NHL’s real up-and-coming stars of the future not that long ago. The Coyotes are banking on the same thing with Wolski, only they have a stronger case on paper that they’ll get more from the deal, at least in the short term. Wolski’s statistics are still good, no matter how you slice it.
Mueller and Porter are both intriguing players, and this can become a solid deal for the Avs if either - or both - blossom under Joe Sacco as so many other youngsters have done.
Looking at the positives, Mueller has a terrific upside, and if properly motivated, he could hit that. This season, Mueller has struggled mightily with only four goals and thirteen assists. That’s a far cry from his fifty-four point rookie year.
Given Mueller's natural talent -- he was the eighth overall pick in 2006 -- he could certainly become a 20-goal scorer if he finds the right chemistry, perhaps with Matt Duchene, in Colorado.
So to sum up, here's what the Avs get in Mueller:
A guy who does nothing in the short term, but may pan out in the long term IF he finds his motivation/chemistry.While Wolski has his own Ifs, he's never had the kind of season Mueller is having, and he would almost undoubtedly help more for a playoff run this season, and has a slightly lower upside than Mueller.
Porter is a different story. I think he's the key to this deal. I don't know much about him, other than the basics. (4th round draft choice, Hobey Baker winner.) The reports I've seen seem to project him as a potential 3rd liner, possibly even 2nd liner. He had a sparkling college career, and is well regarded in the AHL. He has even gotten a call up or two as well. He seems to project well, so it'll certainly be a long time before we know who "won" this deal, and much of that will depend on Porter's career.
The thing about it is, even if fans, coaches, and management had soured on Wolski, the rest of the league hadn't. He still had a lot of value as a trade chip and getting a guy with so many ifs and a decent, but not earth shattering, prospect isn't getting full value. I think the Avs could have gotten more for him even if everyone soured on him.
I still don't like this trade, but I understand why the Avs did it especially in the long term. But in the short term, it sucks. Hard. Wolski has been STRUUGG-A-LING recently, and the fact is he probably did need a change of scenery. But the Avs, this season, are incredibly weak on the left side of their line. I'm not sure trading for a guy who's struggling even worse than Wolski this season (and who's not a natural Left Wing) helps this team this season at all.
I like this trade, and not just for nostalgic reasons. Yelle gives the Avs a center that can take defensive zone face-offs, keeping Stastny and Duchene out of that role all the time. He'll be on the 4th line, and he'll be an excellent short-term mentor for guys like Galiardi and Stastny. He won't get much ice time, but he'll get some solid ice time that will help others focus on scoring and other things. Not an earth shattering move, but one that I think makes this a better team.
And he has 2 cups with the Avs, so the nostalgia is nice.
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