February 9, 2011

The value of "listening" to offers and having "interest" in a player

We've hit February and thus begins "silly season" -- the time of the hockey year when trade rumors begin revving up and beat writers across North America chase every made-up, half-baked deal whose genesis is either a) a message board  b) some random dude's mind c) someone looking a little too deep into Capgeek.com.

It's a frustrating time of year because majority of trades that go down you never hear about leading up to their consummation. Some people make a living out of it. Some people are insecure enough that they create them to increase their Twitter followers. But they exist and people continually buy into them, moreso to have the feeling of knowing first than any hearty hockey-related discussion.

Even the MSM guys like Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie find themselves caught up in the rumor thing, and I don't mean making stuff up. These guys hear a lot of things (legitimately) and pass along. But, for me, I'd rather hear of concrete news than a team "listening" or being "interested" in a player.

Case in point: today's edition of "The Dreger Report" included this little blurb on Marian Gaborik of the New York Rangers (emphasis mine):

Among the big names potentially available - New York's Marian Gaborik might draw some interest in the days leading up to the deadline.

The Rangers aren't shopping Gaborik, who has struggled this season with just 16 goals in 42 games after scoring 42 last year, but word around the league is Rangers GM Glen Sather is willing to listen to offers.

Gaborik agreed to a five-year contract with the Rangers last July and earns $7.5 million per year.

Clearing Gaborik's salary would go a long way in creating flexibility this summer when New York faces a wave of key restricted free agents including Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Brian Boyle and Matt Gilroy.

The Rangers will also have to invent cap space if signing Brad Richards as an unrestricted free agent this summer is a priority.

That sentence was enough for people to begin freaking out and Tweeting the Rangers' beat writers and dreaming of Gaborik trade scenarios that end with Brad Richards or Jarome Iginla or whoever else is a better, more consistent goal scorer the Slovak native at the moment.

And that's just silly. Why wouldn't Glen Sather be willing to listen to offers for Gaborik? The job of the GM is to always be bettering their team and of course Sather would take every call. He'd be crazy not to. How does he know there isn't another GM on the line willing to throw a King's bounty for a guy like Gaborik or Henrik Lundqvist?

Listening to an offer for a player(s) doesn't mean a trade is in the works or a GM is looking to a deal a player. He's just listening to what's out there and what other GMs believe said player's value is.

This brings us to when it's reported a team or GM has "interest" in a certain player. The reporting of a team's interest in a player is the most silliest of silly things.

"The New York Rangers/Los Angeles Kings/ etc have interest in Jarome Iginla."

Well, no shit. Iggy's a pretty damn good player. You know how many teams are "interested" in Sidney Crosby? I'm going to bet 29.

I also bet that Ray Shero has listened to tons of offers for Crosby over the years and why wouldn't he? Like I said, a GM is always on the lookout to improve his team and in some cases, like with Crosby, on the hunt for a good laugh.

Photo credit Bruce Bennett via Getty Images