Chris Note: As I am still mourning the loss of a Winged loved one, DetCapC19 came thru with a great guest post. Enjoy.
There’s been a lot said about Johan Franzen over the course of both this season and our recent playoff failure.
In particular, I was caught off guard when Babcock seemed to call him out after Game 5 saying, “I don't think we had a lot of help for Pavel”. This after he relegated Mule to the 4th line in a do-or-die game in the 3rd period.
However, while I agree that his effort in the regular season can sometimes leave you wanting more and he may not have had his typical Franzen-type numbers this year in the playoffs, I think there are a lot of guys we can point the finger at before Mule. I actually thought he was one of our more engaged forwards this series.
Hit the jump for more on point analysis:
One thing I’d like to point out though is that while the term of his deal is a bit long, I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a lot of 30 goal scorers who have a cap hit of $3.9M.
Scoring 30 goals would put you in the top 30 in goal scoring this year. Franzen’s 29 had him in a tie for 31st overall. Of the 30 players ahead of him, only 6 get paid less than Franzen (not including players on entry-level deals).
Of those 6:
- 2 of them – Vrbata and Clarkson – hit 30 for the first time this year after previous highs of 27 (2008) and 17 (2009), respectively. So it’s likely that these were one-off seasons vs. anything consistent;
- Ryder scored 30 for the first time in 6 years (and not surpassing 18 goals the previous 2 years);
- Couture and Pacioretty both recently signed 2 years extensions prior to scoring 30 goals and have both only been full-time NHLers for 2 seasons. In all likelihood, given their age and production will see raises above $4M when their contracts are up.
- Only Matt Moulson makes less money ($600K less) and has scored 30 goals in each of the last 3 seasons.
Mule has been a 30-goal threat for the previous 4 seasons (34, 10 (in 27 games), 28, and 29). He also scored 27 the year before that.
To further my point, here is a list of the top 20 cap hit comparables to Franzen per capgeek.com. Of those 20 players, how many would you rather have than Franzen?
- Pavelski? Perhaps. But for a team that’s trying to get bigger, the 5’11 Pavelski is a step in the wrong direction. If he wasn’t a right-handed shot, I wouldn’t even be giving him a second thought.
- Horton? For sure (although his concussion problems could be an issue moving forward). He’s also unrestricted after next season (so he’ll likely receive a raise).
- Jordan Staal? He’s due for a big raise once his contract is up after next season (
- Sharp? Just signed an extension that puts him in the $6M range.
- Lucic? He’s 9 years younger and would provide us with something we sorely need but players like him don’t come around very often and while their numbers are close, I would argue that Franzen is a better goal scorer than Lucic is. And Franzen would never get away with Lucic’s playoff numbers:
- Krecji? Not exactly what we need. Personally I’d rather have Franzen.
- Morrow? Yeah. Huge fan, but can he stay healthy? When he plays 82 games he’s a 30-goal threat. But he does that every other year and at age 33 I don’t see that trend reversing.
Is this all an exact science? No. But, for better or for worse, in the salary cap world, a $4M 30-goal scorer is pretty tough to find. And the fact that he has size (not that he’s running over people or anything) and can also play center if required puts him above a lot of the guys that outscored him this year and make less money as well as a lot of the players on that comparable list.
Something worth considering when we make him our whipping boy for the next 8 years.
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I have no problem with Franzen on the team. I have a problem with who we don't have on the team, and that their (lack of) presence makes him our goal scorer. If he is on a true 2nd Line and 2nd PP, I'm very happy with him.
The reason I want to see him go is that, regardless of the price, we need to seriously upgrade our goal scoring. We might get help through free agency, but to solve the problem, I think we are going to have to drop a trade bomb or two. In order to get, we must give. I see him as the most trade value with the least damage to the team (due to inconsistency, etc.). For that reason, I want to see him get traded.
I have the biggest love/hate relationship with Franzen. Love the guy, because when he's hot there is no stopping him. I hate the guy, because when he's cold he's invisible. I would hate to see him traded, but if it means bringing in someone who gives us a better chance to win, I'm not opposed to it.
We gotta get rid of Cleary. He was off his game all season long, played better in the playoffs though. I know his knees were an issue but is that really going to get better? If we dumped Cleary and, as much as I love the guy and don't wanna say it, Holmstrom we could get a solid offensive forward to provide the depth we need. Our lines could look something like this
LW C RW
(Fill in the Blank) Datsyuk Franzen
Zetterberg Filppula Hudler
Bertuzzi Helm Eaves
Nyquist Abdelkader Miller
Solid 3rd and 4th lines, and if the replacement is good enough we could put him on the 2nd line and have Dats and Z back on the same line which would be awesome!!!
@AlecHiggins I'm cautiously optimistic about Cleary. Yeah he was a bit of a dog this season, but if memory serves me correct, he was a bit of a beast last year and was pretty effective at times this post season. I think after surgery and some time off this summer, he should look a lot better. I don't think he's worthy of the top two lines, but I think he makes a good third line grinder with Helm.
@AlecHiggins nyquist has to be on the second line next year.
My major problem with Franzen (and this goes for a few other Wing's as well), is the lack of desire to even score. Yes I said that.
Franzen could easily score 40 goals a year if he would STOP in front of the net on rushes.
When I played, it was drilled into my head that you always STOP in front of the damn net. Why is it that a few of the Wing's think they are exempt from this rule? Especially a big guy like Franzen that could hold his ground. Instead he always glides right past the net, the rebound goes right to where he was a split second earlier, and the other team is heading on an odd man the other way.
That one simple adjustment and he could make him one of the top goal scorers in the league. Its not like we are discussing the idea that Franzen is not a good player. We all know he is. We all know he can be just as good as the 7 guys you listed. But when playing with this lack of drive, all 7 are a better choice.
@magnum9 I feel that a lot of our players have had this issue since our loss in 2009, which causes us to miss out on a lot of opportunities. I can't remember how many times I would see the puck bounce off our opponents goalie only to be snatched up by the other team and cleared to the neutral zone.
To me, this is a coaching issue. Of course it lies on the players to think while on the ice, not just go through the motions, but I would sit a guy for a whole period for doing this crap during the regular season. You CAN NOT skate past the net.
I don't get it. This should not even be an issue we are discussing. Its basic hockey.
It's weird thinking how much younger than me Milan Lucic is. Very weird.
I like the comparison of the two though, they both bring different things to the table but side by side, Lucic & Franzen have (in the playoffs anyway) similar shooting percentages, 12 & 13%, respectively, but Franzen with 3.2 SOG/G and Lucic with 2.0 SOG/G. That helps Franzen's point/gm output reach 0.83 in the playoffs top Lucic's 0.57 points/gm. I know Lucic is younger and way more physical but you also get that dumb factor. PIMs, no one is mentioning the PIMs. Franzen has spent a total of 70 minutes in the box in his 7 postseason appearances compared to 173 for Lucic in 5 postseasons. And if you've seen the Bruins play you know that these aren't often "good" penalties to be taking.
franzen was at his best when he wasn't our goal scorer. he was great when playing in zetterberg's and hossa's shadows, but when we needed him to be the man, he's been terrible.
the only reason i even bother defending him on occasion is his gentle cap hit, but what good is extra salary when you're the 5th seed and you're golfing in april? if the wings sign parise, keep mule and play him on the second line. if parise goes somewhere else, trade mule.
@Twig Parise really isn't a true goal scorer. He is more of a playmaker who scores more goals than most playmakers. I don't think that he alone will solve our scoring issues. If Parise, we need at least one more moderate scoring upgrade to our Top 6.
Maybe we just need to work on getting him back where he was? I think its the job of Babcock and the coaching staff to have a dialogue with Johan and tell him what they are percieving and what is expected for the money they pay him and work with him to make sure he can deliver that.
If that should fail THEN they need to trade him but i think its very difficult for us on the outside to see how this relationship works.
@ChristofferEkman I think this is very true. The man definitely has talent, it just needs to be used properly.
Its worth every penny for Franzen for moments like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6ZFp_ggjSM
I think the problem is that he has been universally perceived to have been slacking off. You can quantify production and cap hits all you like but in the end he was gliding around out there for half the season and we KNOW he can be better. That is why he is frustrating, because he isn't living up to the potential we know he has. That is not the market's fault, that is Franzen's fault.
Though just to be clear, I wouldn't really want to trade him. But with his contract, I don't think it would be possible anyway.