Marian Gaborik = Santana/Hunter and Mikko Koivu's C should be permanent

Excellent, excellent post by Allan Muir of SI.com on the Stars and Wild in his blog. My thoughts to follow the post.

Taken from Allan Muir's Inside the NHL

Declining Value

With potential trading partners just saying no, it's starting to seem more likely that impending free agent Marian Gaborik will remain with the Wild, at least until the new year. Even then he'll be a tough sell, unless GM Doug Risebrough is willing to lower his demands.

"There's nowhere near the market for him that you think," one league exec said. "He's a highly skilled guy, but the risk is so high. Even if you were able to sign him [to an extension] as part of the deal, you have to consider his [injury] history. I'm not sure it's worth the risk to a contender or a young team that's rebuilding."

Gaborik has further sabotaged the bargaining position of his boss by missing five straight games with an unspecified lower body injury. It's been reported that he turned down an offer from the Wild worth $8 million a year. The way things are going, he won't get an offer anywhere near that if he explores the market this summer.

This deal with Gaborik has terrified me from the start of training camp. I honestly thought that they would get a deal done prior to the start of the season. Once the season began, I lost any assumptions I had that the team would make the deal. I saw warnings before me screaming "Torii Hunter!" "Johan Santana!" Look at that again, "There's nowhere near the market for him that you think." Now, Hunter had the ability to still go out and get paid from another team on the open market. I agree with Muir that Gaborik will not be able to get what the Wild has reportedly offered. Now, he's either getting horrible advice from Ron Salcer, or he has deluded himself into thinking he deserves Ovechkin, Malkin, Crosby cash.

All that being said, if the market is sinking, and they're looking at a Santana type of return for the trade (meaning youngsters who may or may not make it), then a long, hard look needs to taken at doing absolutely everything the team can do to make a deal happen to sign #10. We have seen that the team still misses him, as they cannot rely upon one line to do all the scoring. The well will dry up at some point. But, if the market for a deal isn't there, and he has unreal expectations of his value, then they need to work their butts off around the deadline, because Marian needs to prove that he is still valuable, and it's going to take a few months to get himself to that point again. The league needs to forget about the injuries, and remember the guy who is at the top of the league in goals per game.

C For Koivu

Final thought on the Wild: their captain-of-the-month gimmick may not be broken, but it's time to fix it. If the uncertainty of the Gaborik situation has proven anything, it's that the franchise needs to move in a new direction. The surest step to demonstrate that a corner has been turned is to award the C permanently to the team's true centerpiece: Mikko Koivu. At 25, the October captain has become someone whom his teammates can rally around and look up to, a consistent two-way player who typifies the Jacques Lemaire model of responsible creativity. Plus, he's signed for two more years, which creates a sense of stability in the role. Given the circumstances, it's hard to imagine a reason not to give Koivu the honor.

No more needs to be said here. I've said it. Mike (mbennett) has said it. Talking heads in the media have said it. Mikko Koivu is a captain. Not a captain for the month, he's a captain until he takes off the Wild sweater for the last time. Mikko runs the game, people respect him and he embodies everything that's good about this franchise.

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