Report: Tampa Bay looking to deal Ryan Malone

According to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, the Tampa Bay Lightning are looking to move veteran left winger Ryan Malone; if they can’t, they will likely choose to buy him out of his contract.

Here’s the comment, from Friedman’s 30 Thoughts column:

I’m hearing Yzerman is trying to trade Ryan Malone. Tampa Bay would prefer to avoid a buyout payout and the Lightning are offering a draft pick as an enticement. Malone has a no-move clause in his contract until July 1, which gives him some control of the situation. It is a limited no-trade after then.

Malone missed 24 games last season with a variety of ailments, scoring just six goals and two assists in the 24 games he did play. He averaged just over 20 goals per season in the four years preceding 2013 despite missing time each year. He has one year remaining on his contract, a deal with two years remaining at a $4.5 million cap hit and only a combined total of $5 million over both season in actual salary.

Scouting Report

Here (in part) is McKeen’s Hockey writing on Malone in their 2012-13 Yearbook:

[B]ig, tough forward blessed with soft hands, strong arms, and deceptive quickness .. propelled by a smooth comfortable stride that is long and powerful .. not the most intuitive player – and still suffers lapses in energy and focus .. puts out a good effort most nights now however .. determined and courageous driving to the net and creating space for linemates .. deployed successfully as a net presence on the power play .. excels making plays in traffic and along the boards and is adept at tips and deflections, aided by solid body control .. generates impressive shooting velocity from a minimal windup .. provides a strategic size and power component to Tampa’s mix .. always best to budget for downtime given his brash approach.

The latter line is one of the primary concerns with respect to Malone; the 33 year old has missed just over one-quarter of Tampa Bay’s games over the last four seasons.

A Statistical Lens

What I’d like to do is look at a number of performance-related statistics. I’m going to look, year by year, at four categories, which are as follow:

  • CorsiRel. "Corsi" is shorthand for shot attempts plus/minus – all the shots, missed shots, and blocked shots that a player was on the ice for 5-on-5 over an average one-hour period. The "Rel" part stands for relative – what we’re doing there is adjusting for team strength.
  • 5-on-5 Points/60. Just like regular points, only adjusted for an average hour of ice-time.
  • ZoneStarts. Taking offensive zone and defensive zone faceoffs, and expressing them as a percentage. If a player was on the ice for 70 offensive zone faceoffs and 30 defensive zone faceoffs, he would have a 70% offensive zone start, and we’d expect him to do better than a player with 30 offensive zone and 70 defensive zone faceoffs (30% zone start).
  • Quality of Competition rank. The player’s rank among active forwards on his team in Behind the Net’s Quality of Competition (we’re using the Corsi-based one, though the site also offers a goal-based one and the difference between the two is small). This gives us an idea of the kind of opponents Malone typically played against.

Season Team CorsiRel 5v5 Points/60 ZoneStart QC Rank.
2007-08 Pittsburgh 6.4 1.94 51.1 11th
2008-09 Tampa Bay 10.9 2.36 53.0 10th
2009-10 Tampa Bay -1.6 1.96 51.6 5th
2010-11 Tampa Bay 8.0 1.80 53.0 12th
2011-12 Tampa Bay -0.4 1.90 48.7 5th
2012-13 Tampa Bay -6.3 1.22 50.5 2nd

Aside from this most recent season, we get an interesting picture of Malone. Obviously, he’s a capable scorer – a good scoring line option will manage 2.00 points per hour 5-on-5, and Malone is generally just a hair below that. The interesting thing is that he only has really excelled in his NHL career in years where he hasn’t played the tough minutes – we see three seasons where his team really out-shot the opposition with him on the ice, and in all three cases he wasn’t playing against power. When he played second-tier opposition, his team was more likely to hover around the break-even mark in terms of shot attempts for and against.

Not listed here, but also of interest: Malone has been a significant power play performer on the team’s he has played for and can reasonably be seen as a value-added player with the man advantage. He’s also capable of filling in on the penalty kill, though it’s been a few years since he played regular minutes.

The Cost

The cost of Malone isn’t really in the acquisition – Tampa Bay sounds willing to sweeten the deal, after all. It’s two more years at a cap hit of $4.5 million for a guy closing in on 34 with an ugly history of injury and a style that will continue putting him in harm’s way.

If he rebounds, Ryan Malone is an awfully useful player; if he doesn’t, that’s a hard contract to take on.

Recently around the Nation Network

At NHL Numbers, Derek Zona presents the Final Consensus Rankings for the 2013 NHL Draft. Who is number one, and perhaps more importantly for this site, who is number seven?

Click the link to find out, or alternately, feel free check out some of my other pieces here:

  • vetinari

    It’s amazing how much better players than horcoff and Alice are being ruthlessly bought out, yet our guys are sacred. Deserve respect. Don’t buy them out. Show respect. Makes no sense

  • vetinari

    I think that it would be too risky to carry both Hemsky and Malone on a roster… if Malone came over, that would definitely mean the end of the road for Hemsky.

    As for the slowness in trades, I suspect that the trade market will heat up after buyouts are completed and teams can see whether there are any bargains out there.

  • OilClog

    Malone is exactly the type of player MacT is looking to avoid.. he said it so himself. No veterans on their last legs, none. Unless named Ryan Smyth.

    If Eakins properly handles the roster he is given, and keeps Smyth on the LW where he should never of left.. I think he still has game to give. Last season was a joke, 4th line center?!?!? WTF! I know Tambi did absolutely nothing.. But everyone could clearly see playing 4th line center was killing Smyth, but he did it.. He could have a bit of a resurgent year and help gap the transition, if we just let him breathe, play, and not weight him down on his last hoorah!

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Lecavilier would fit into that Shock and Awe category, rather than the bold, Craig spoke of.

    4-5 a year on a 5 yr deal, who wouldn’t want to get in on that. Should be an interesting week for Vinny after he clears.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Much the same situation as the Oilers are in with Hemsky. Minus the manly characteristics that Malone has of course.

    Think I heard that Ryan Malone once killed a grizzly bear with his bare hands*

    [edit]*Check that, it was Sam Gagner whom killed that bear, sorry.

  • 15w40

    No to Malone – maybe to Vincent. Would his preference be to go to Montreal?

    Eberle – Lecavalier – Hall /

    Nichushkin – RNH – Yakupov /

    ??? – Gagner – Pajaarvi

    I don’t know if the wingers are all in the right spot but it looks OK to me.

    Move the centres around as you like or maybe it even looks like this:

    Eberle – RNH – Yakupov /

    Nichushkin – Lecavalier – Hall

    That 2nd line is a fairly heavy line.

    If Vincent is still looking for a 6 year deal at 6 mil then not going to work.

  • JDP

    Any way you look at TB and Malone its simply a contract they want off the books. The team taking him is doing them a favour. Albeit on a whim that maybe he can be worth half his cap hit the next two seasons. They would need to sweeten the deal. Swap our 2nd(56th) rounder for their 2nd rounder(33rd) and I would make the deal… I dont see this happening however.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I think they puh in an offer like.any team saying we’re sending a message, but Vinny stays out east. Gotta think he can still.command 5 mil x 5, and.would make a smoking 2nd line center on most teams I would think Detroit, Washington, heck Florida.could be front runners and looking for a second line center like him. He’s not Canada and especially not TO or Montreal.

      • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

        I don’t get the math……why would Tampa pay him $7 million a year not to play if he’s this smokin hot 2nd line center worth 5 mil a year. ………I get that they are shedding a too large too long contract that would become unbearable in the near future….but then why not keep and play him one more year and buy him out in the summer of 2014?

  • Tikkanese

    Not related….Just need to release…. Come on Craig, do something, anything, well almost anything. As Elvis said, “a little less conversation a little more action”. Becoming impatient…..