Josh Harding To Be Dealt

Harding

It has been obvious since the Wild re-signed Niklas Backstrom that backup goaltender Josh Harding would be available for trade.

Last week, Jim Matheson floated the idea that Minnesota was talking to Edmonton about the young goaltender, with the Oilers possible offering up Robert Nilsson or Rob Schremp and a draft pick, while the Wild would be asking for Patrick O’Sullivan. This week, he’s not floating anything:

Minnesota has targeted four teams – the Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers – to try and trade backup goalie Josh Harding, who had a 2.21 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in 19 games in the 2008-09 season.
The 2002 second-round draft pick played for Rob Daum when he coached the Wild’s AHL farm club in Houston, should they need a scouting report.
The Wild will try to get a second-line forward back for Harding, who turns 25 on June 18.

In other words, those deals that Matheson mentioned last week are certainly being discussed.

Even though the Oilers have a surfeit of second-line players, I wouldn’t like to see them move O’Sullivan in exchange for Harding. Here’s what I said about that possibility last week:

As for Patrick O’Sullivan, while the trade might be fair value for the Oilers, we’ve seen how little goaltenders have fetched on the trade market, and so that would likely be an overpay (and have a better chance of coming back to haunt them, too). If the Wild won’t play ball on a spare parts offer (some combination of the above players or any of Pouliot, Brodziak, Staios, Brule, Potulny and Deslauriers) than the Oilers might be well-advised to try for a player like Jaroslav Halak or Ondrej Pavelec.

I haven’t become any less convinced of that point in the time since; if anything, I’ve become more certain that O’Sullivan for Harding would be a mistake. Tyler gave his opinion on the goaltending market on Friday, and I tend to agree with him:

If Philadelphia goes ahead and signs Emery, by my count that leaves two teams without a clear starting goaltender: Edmonton and Colorado. Otherwise, it’s backup jobs available, unless some team is willing to eat a pile of money.
There are a ton of competent or better goalies available: Craig Anderson, Nikolai Khabibulin, Dwayne Roloson, Martin Biron, Manny Fernandez and Manny Legace probably top the list. You can probably toss Scott Clemmensen onto the list, although I don’t find him that interesting. All of those guys presumably want to be starters. None of them really have much in the way of palatable options. The talk from guys like Robin Brownlee is that Dwayne Roloson wants a two year deal. If the Oilers end up giving it to him, they’ve almost certainly failed to maximize their leverage.

On top of that list, there are trade options like Harding, Halak and possibly one of the Thrashers goaltenders (Lehtonen or Pavelec). Ken Holland was well ahead of the game on this one when he said that it made little sense for teams to sign above-average goaltenders to big-money contracts; there’s a lot of fluctuation in goaltender performance year over year (hello, Mathieu Garon) and there are plenty of effective goaltenders. Let’s just take a look at the average save percentage of goaltenders who might be available over the past three seasons.

  • Anderson: .928 SV% (.931, .935, .924)
  • Harding: .922 SV% (.960, .908, .929)
  • Biron: .913 SV% (.899/.908, .918, .915)
  • Khabibulin: .909 SV% (.902, .909, .919)
  • Roloson: .909 SV% (.909, .901, .915)
  • Conklin: .909 SV% (.871/.892, .923, .909)
  • Clemmensen: .909 SV% (.889, .839, .917)
  • Garon: .908 SV% (.907, .913, .895/.894)
  • Gerber: .907 SV% (.906, .910, .899/.905)
  • Fernandez: .906 SV% (.911, .832, .910)
  • Labarbera: .906 SV% (.910, .893/.915)
  • Legace: .904 SV% (.907, .911, .885)
  • Boucher: .904 SV% (.884/.866, .932, .917)

It’s important to keep in mind that Craig Anderson played very few games over the past three seasons, while Josh Harding also played very few games and played them for Minnesota; something that was bound to push his save percentage in a positive direction. I’m rather surprised to say that Martin Biron is probably the best available goaltender (why Philadelphia would dump him to pursue Ray Emery is beyond me) and someone Edmonton should seriously consider. Players like Anderson, Roloson, and Clemmensen might also be of interest, but with so many names available I think the Oilers would be well-advised to go with a true tandem next year, even if that means that Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers is playing somewhere else next season.

Josh Harding is still a player I think they should be interested in, but with this many options he isn’t a player they should pay dearly for. Spare parts like Nilsson and Schremp would be fine; a player with O’Sullivan’s track record would not be.

  • Hippy

    zig wrote:

    Especially if they end up hiring MacT (as Matheson pointed out in today’s article, MacT is the second runner up for that job) there is no way he would want Nillson or Schremp on his team.

    I think MacTavish was actually fairly forgiving of Nilsson down the stretch; he wasn't earning his keep but he found himself in the lineup over guys like Pouliot, Reddox and Jacques.

  • Hippy

    lenny wrote:

    Why are you in such a ruch to get reed of talanted players? They never had a chance to proof themselves with McT. Just wait and give them a chance.

    So, of Cogliano, Gagner and O'Sullivan, which two do you clear out to give Nilsson and Schremp another chance?

    This team has no more room for smallish forwards who need to be carefully sheltered. We're six years away from Nilsson's draft, and five years away from Schremp's. I defended Nilsson today, but the fact is that there are only so many roster spots for small forwards without much of a defensive game, and he isn't close to being as valuable as any of the three guys I mentioned above. Schremp's even worse off since he's struggling at the AHL level right now.

    This team has needs. Nilsson and Schremp don't fit the bill; why not move them for different talented youngsters who might?

  • Hippy

    Bob Cob wrote:

    Boy, you guys are on crack if you think trading JDD is a good idea. We bring in Harding, who backs him up?

    Any of the 30-or-so goaltending free agents out there. Honestly, if JDD's career is better than that of Kevin Weekes, I'd be shocked. Lousy AHL numbers, limited NHL time, and already 7 years removed from his draft; these aren't the things that generally indicate a solid NHL career.

    Besides, if Harding falters, can JDD really take over? Probably not. If Harding's one goaltender, the other guy needs to be reliable – and JDD, right now, isn't.

  • Hippy

    I have it from a great source (called "logic") that Minny isn't trading anyone till they get a coach.

    Especially if they end up hiring MacT (as Matheson pointed out in today's article, MacT is the second runner up for that job) there is no way he would want Nillson or Schremp on his team.

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis, I’d love to see something like Schremp/JDD for Harding, but that’s a pipe-dream. Nilsson/JDD might get it done, though.

    Why are you in such a ruch to get reed of talanted players? They never had a chance to proof themselves with McT. Just wait and give them a chance.

  • Hippy

    Boy, you guys are on crack if you think trading JDD is a good idea. We bring in Harding, who backs him up? JDD is still super young, full of upside and has shown the ability to win games when called upon, just look at the games against Calgary, NY Rangers and the Devils. We trade him and we are in the same boat as Calgary, think guys. Start with offering up O'Sullivan or Nilsson and Schremp, keep JDD and use the tandem of Harding and JDD.

  • Hippy

    TonyT wrote:

    What do you guys think of Brodziak’s trade value? Could he be traded for mid round draft pick? As far as I’m concerned I’m looking to trade at least Brodziak (too soft for the fourth line – which looks like his ceiling here), Gilbert or Souray (or a combination of both to maximize returns), and somebody from the second line (as we merely have a surplus of “second liners”). I also wouldn’t mind dumping Pisani and/or Staios’ contracts.
    That’s alot of work but short of dumping Horcoff’s 5.5, I believe these deals can be made.

    ~Think of all those extra games the team will win with all that unused cap space!~

  • Hippy

    What do you guys think of Brodziak's trade value? Could he be traded for mid round draft pick? As far as I'm concerned I'm looking to trade at least Brodziak (too soft for the fourth line – which looks like his ceiling here), Gilbert or Souray (or a combination of both to maximize returns), and somebody from the second line (as we merely have a surplus of "second liners"). I also wouldn't mind dumping Pisani and/or Staios' contracts.
    That's alot of work but short of dumping Horcoff's 5.5, I believe these deals can be made.

  • Hippy

    IF Harding is brought it, I think it would be wise for Edmonton to let JDD continue his career elsewhere and bring in a cheap veteran as the 1B goalie. Would Fletcher bite on something like Gilbert and Nilsson for Harding and Clutterbuck, would we?

  • Hippy

    RossCreek wrote:

    I’d have to think its a pretty safe bet that no deals will be made until a new GM is hired.

    They might make an exception to get something for a guy who definitely wont be signing in Florida next year and leaves for nothing in less than a month.

  • Hippy

    I'd love to have Harding come over to Oil Country. He's a blue chipper who is just coming into his prime, O'Sullivan may too steep of a price to pay, but IMO we really should act on this before he ends up in Colorado.

  • Hippy

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    @ RossCreek:
    someone is running that team, and i’m only 10% serious.

    You're lucky, cuz if you were more than 12.5% serious, we woulda been putting our dukes up (lol). Bill Torrey is in search of their next GM (Randy Sexton is their Asst. GM) and I'd have to think its a pretty safe bet that no deals will be made until a new GM is hired.

  • Hippy

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    Try Florida while they still dont have a GM. Nilsson for the rights to Bouwmeester, Bouwmeester’s rights to Montreal for ?.

    Not sure how serious you are, but how exactly do you make a trade with a team that doesn't have a GM?

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis
    wrote:

    why Philadelphia would dump him (BIRON) to pursue Ray Emery is beyond me

    My understanding is that the Flyers are looking at Emery as a cheap 1A/1B type thing, and that Martin Biron remains in their plans if they can get him to take a bit of a paycut. And if that fails, then I'd assume they plan on finding another partner (perhaps even Nittymaki) to platoon with Emery (at least until 1 stepped up as the true #1).

    I don't think the Flyers are just handing Emery the reigns as their go-to guy.

  • Hippy

    RossCreek wrote:

    I think Atlanta would be 1 of the few teams that may bite on Nilsson.

    Try Florida while they still dont have a GM. Nilsson for the rights to Bouwmeester, Bouwmeester's rights to Montreal for ?.

  • Hippy

    I would be hesitant to move O'Sullivan for Harding. I also wouldn't hesitate to deal for Harding. (Does that make sense?) JDD and a pick? IMO Harding's more advanced at this point & ready to be a starter. Harding is still young and Dubnyk's coming down the pipe, so moving JDD wouldn't be a bad thing.

    My targets:
    Josh Harding
    Kari Lehtonen
    Antero Nittymaki

    What about a package out of Atlanta that brought back Kari Lehtonen, Colby Armstrong & Garnet Exelby? I think Atlanta would be 1 of the few teams that may bite on Nilsson.

  • Hippy

    I agree. O'sullivan would be nice to keep. I haven't really gotten a good read on him but after all of the commenst I have read on him it would be a mistake. Especially as we picked him up with our trade of cole.

    I still wish we wouldn't of traded that second for kotalik. I struggle to see his value like others do.

  • Hippy

    I understand the desire to keep a guy like O'Sull, who will probably be better next year than what he showed in his time here. However, moving him will also help shed a little salary from the books. Personally, I think O'Sullivan might be better used as bait to move up in the draft.

    Matheson also suggested that Kessel might be moved out of Boston because of contract issues. He's young (21) and coming off of a carer year. His numbers almost doubled this past season from the season before. Is it the natural progression of young player in his 3rd year, or the product of some good luck in a contract year? Could O'Sull be used as part of a deal to acquire Kessel as the Bruins are looking for a guy in the 3 mill range who can play in a variety of situations? Just throwing that out there.