Blog Entry

Repeating my 2008 plea - trade Josh Harding

Posted on: February 23, 2009 11:52 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2009 11:53 pm

For the record, this did not come purely out of last night's contest. Only partially. ^_^

Josh Harding has shown that he can be a number one goaltender. Don't let the record fool you; he's got a GAA around 2.2 and a save percentage above .920. He's got a flair for the dramatic and can pull highlight-reel saves at any time.

And that's why we've got to trade him.

I'll take consistency and dependability over flashy every day of the week and twice on Thursday. Niklas Backstrom absolutely has to be re-signed; he's a top-three goaltender in the NHL right now and I know that Risebrough and everyone else in Wild country would kick themselves if they let Nik go. Nolan Schaefer is a good goalie but he's unproven and would be better in a back-up role since he's spent a lot of his time in the minors with Houston. Not only would we hand the reins over to a couple of young goaltenders, but we'd most likely face him (Backstrom) a few times a year. With our offense the way it is, you might as well just call in a forfeit - Backs would shut the Wild down every time.

Speaking of that offense, that's what you get in return for trading Harding. I'm not counting on Marian Gaborik to come back from that Lego-block hip of his - or his groin, or knee, or wherever else he's hurting. Andrew Brunette is hurt, Owen Nolan is hurt, Antti Miettinen has all but cooled off from his fast start. Pierre-Marc Bouchard is starting to earn his big contract, but are the Wild really going to count on Butch to carry them? Not on that 5'10" frame, that's for sure.

While I haven't looked too deeply into who the Wild would trade with, here are a couple of quick wrist shots. Atlanta's Kari Lehtonen doesn't look the same anymore. Meanwhile, Ilya Kovalchuk was a name that was floating around the initial Gaborik trade rumors. Toronto would be another spot; Nik Antropov is probably going to be moved and you have to take a look at the Leafs' goaltender stats; no one has a save percentage about .900 or a GAA below 3.00. Ouch. And finally, the Avalanche may be a division rival but Peter Budaj does not look like the answer for Colorado. Marek Svatos or Wojtek Wolski would be a couple of good pieces in return. Hey, we're talking about the team that traded Dwayne Roloson to a division rival for practically nothing. I'd like to see something more lucrative come out of this deal, so I'd hope that Risebrough would be willing to take phone calls from anyone.

Anyways, that's just my two cents. Here's to the Wild making another late-season playoff push, albeit a much tougher one with their upcoming road schedule.

Keep your stick on the ice.

~ Robtangle


Since: Sep 27, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2009 12:59 pm

Repeating my 2008 plea - trade Josh Harding


I could go either way with trading either harding or Backs.  I just don't have the confidence in Harding that I do in Backstrom, but then why should I.  You are absolutely right about the value we would get for Backstrom right now, and if we keep him, he will demand most of what we would save when Gabby goes away at the end of the year.  You certainly wouldn't have to pay Harding like Backstrom, but you also have to consider what his netminding skills will look like if you change the completion of the team from the very, very defense minded team it is now, to a more offensive minded team that concentrates more on scoring and less on defense.  Is Harding ready for that?  Maybe only one way to find out.  But if you're set on trading Backstrom, here is a thought or two to ponder:

1.  Backstrom straight up to Atlanta for Ilya Kovalchuk

2. Backstrom and Johnsson to Colorado for Milan Hejduk, Jordan Leopold and picks

3.Backstrom and Johnsson to Tampa Bay for Vinnie Lacavalier and pick or picks

4. Backstrom and Skoula to LA for Anze Kopitar, Kyle Calder and Erik Ersberg

Whatever the Wild do, they need to DO something.  And yes I do think about how we can get rid of Skoula and Johnsson - daily!

Since: Aug 13, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2009 10:39 am

Repeating my 2008 plea - trade Josh Harding

Bleeding Wild has a mind a lot like mine: always thinking of trade scenarios that involve unloading Kim Johnsson and/or Martin Skoula.Laughing

I'm probably in the minority here, and say that Backstrom should be the trade bait, and Harding should be our goalie of the future.  Backstrom's trade value will never be higher, and he's not exactly a spring chicken any more.  Harding is young, has the GAA and SVS to play with the big boys, and would take up a helluva lot less cap room.  Can you imagine what kind of free agents the Wild could get if we have Gabby's salary and Backstrom's impending salary in free cap space?  And how much more room we'll have the following year, when Johnsson's boat anchor of a contract expires?  And all of that on top of whatever we land in trade for Backs:

I'm thinking Backstrom straight up to the Avs for Paul Stastny (though that almost sounds like too good of a deal for them; maybe we oughta make 'em throw in a draft pick as well, eh?)  All we'd need then is a coach who would make the Stastnys of the world want to play here..

Since: Sep 27, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2009 12:38 am

Repeating my 2008 plea - trade Josh Harding

Robtangle, I think you're on to something.  I too agree that it is indeed time to deal one of our netminders as it is the one position on our team that we actually have too much talent.  Backstrom is the clear number one and the smart one to hold on to, even though he may take up the majority of what the Wild will save by not re-signing Marion Gaborik.  But as you stated, Harding COULD be a number one goalie for another team.  There are enough other teams in the NHL that are hurting enough at goalie that should be, and more than likely will be, looking to deal for a goalie.  Whether it will be for the end of the season playoff push or in preparation for next year, teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Ottawa Senators would at least take the phone call from Mr. Risebrough.

Here are some trades to ponder, even though some are more wishes (dreams) than anything else:

Josh Harding and Kim Johnson for Vincent Lacavalier

Josh Harding straight up for Kyle Okposo

Josh Harding and Martin Skoula for Jason Spezza

I'm obvioulsy looking at teams that are bound to be sellers rather than buyers here at the end of the season and also realize that the numbers may not make complete sense based on the trades suggested.  But the bottom line is that I am in 100% agreement with you that now is the time to move Harding for some offense.

Time to get it done Dougie!!

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