Someone in the comments section at WTC posted that they heard someone heard a rumor that Marleau would be traded today. That made my heart sink. My brain immediately went to “wow, that would explain a lot,” and also to “no no no no no no no no!”
It appears to be nothing more than a bad game of telephone with a blogger’s opinion. According to said blogger, Toronto harbors the solution to all our blue line worries and we should give them Marleau for this panacea player. I’m all for Czeching our blue line, but this hardly qualifies as a rumor. It’s just another nut climbing aboard the Trade Paddywagon.
Also, Paddy has an NMC, which should protect him from being moved against his will. But stranger things have happened, so it spooked me.
While I searched in vain for some clarification of this rumor, I considered the ramifications.
Here are the complaints about Paddy:
1. He’s not scoring. He’ll get over it, maybe we should too.
2. He doesn’t go to the net enough. Most nights, Heater is already there. Last night, Paddy went anyway, and all the goals ended up being scored away from the net. Maybe he has to be there all the time because JT is incapable of sending the puck all the way across the ice. He always just dumps it to Heater, who is right on the doorstep.
That works a lot, except when the goalie knows he’s doing that. I had a crazy thought, watching Joe ignore Paddy on the other side of the net, and dump it yet again to Heater. Short of picking it up with his hand and tossing it over the goalie’s head, Heatley really couldn’t do anything with it. So here’s a crazy idea: use Heater to screen the goalie and pass to Paddy so he can shoot from the other side. D’uh.
Oh, right, that is difficult with traffic in front of the net. Figure it out.
3. Paddy is accused of not being physical enough. He has shown he is capable of it. He cannot redeem himself by racking up hits unless he starts scoring too. If he’s having trouble getting the puck, it is pretty easy to lump that into the schneid. It will come back to him. One thing at a time.
What does Paddy bring to the team? When he’s on his game he is amazing, hard to control, a very accurate shooter, spectacular skater, yadda yadda yadda… all the things the team kept him for.
What would happen if he were traded away? Well, the genius blogger who wants to send him to Toronto says Couture can take up the slack. Right, because we wouldn’t want the team to be over loaded with talented forwards. That would just be a waste of resources. Give Couture more ice time? How much time does he need? He is in second place by 20 seconds for TOI among rookies this season, and in the top 20% among all forwards.
Again, I propose the Flyers as a model: consider disposing of forwards who are never amazing, instead of the “spare” super talents. The team knows what Marleau is worth, even if he only had a good game every seven or eight, and there’s no reason to assume he won’t do better than that.
No, I don’t think Paddy will be traded. But the mere whisper made me nervous. Also, I am tired of hearing people complain about Paddy. If the team were at 75% of its potential production, it would be able to carry him through the slump. If they can’t cope without him, then they have failed the test. He’s not the only one playing below par. He’s just the one saddled with the highest expectations. There is a reason for those expectations.
That leads me to this kooky prediction: the Sharks may not obtain any new blue liners this season. DW may not be willing to cannibalize the forward lines, and even if he is, fix-what-ails-you defensemen are in very short supply right now. But the team may get what they need from what they have.
What do they have? Players who, when put to the test, can actually succeed without the Flyer’s blue line. On a good day, they can even do it against the Flyers. They just need to make the most of what they have, instead of waiting for the cavalry to arrive.