Hey Wilderness! Been a while (again) since I transmitted my thoughts to you. My life's been completely upside-down this year, and I've been having trouble staying on top of things, but I've got a bit of slack now, so I thought I'd go ahead with a little Thought Bubble. As you all know, the Wild acquired Patrick O'Sullivan on waivers yesterday, and it's been a big topic in this 4 day game-less period. This will be much of the focus of the TB this time around.
Join me will you?
Opening panel: After BTE, BWPE?
Sully left the Canes fans on good terms (as you can see here ). The general consensus was that he didn't get much of a chance in Carolina. Reminds you of someone else? A certain former Habs player perhaps? One thing I couldn't help but notice with the waiver pickup was the date. The Wild picked Sully up on November 24th. Big deal right? Well, last year, Guillaume Latendresse was acquired on November 23rd... Wow... I know it's a coincidence, but that's kind of crazy. It would be absurd to make connections based on this, but the way I see it, while the Wild aren't doing as badly right now as they did at the same point last year, both are young players looking to prove themselves to everyone. In Sully's case, he's coming back to the organization that dumped him before he could strut his stuff in Minny, and I think he'll be motivated in that sense. Plus, with the prospect of him playing on the second line, he'll basically take Lats' place as the scorer on that line, and Sully is a former 50 point player, curiously enough a claim Matt Cullen can't even make. So if you consider what I just said, Sully will unevitably be compared to BTE all year. Now, we just have to hope it'll turn out to be the BWPE (Best waiver pick-up ever)
Second panel: Fears about Sully
One stat that scared off a lot of suitors this summer was his horrid -35 last season playing with the lowly Oilers. True, he will never will the Selke award. True, he's a defensive disaster. BUT! +/- isn't a very accurate stat. You can have a minus if you've only been on the ice for a second before the opponent scores. It's all about situations. Sully was with a team with a horrible defense and a horrible goaltending tandem. In Minnesota right now, we're seeing some great defense and some heroic goaltending, so we shouldn't expect Sully to post a -35 in Minny. With our strong D and G, it won't matter quite as much if Sully does a few mistakes (not that they should just be thrown under the rug either). Besides, CF didn't bring him in to help out defensively, he brought him in to spark some offense in a group that sorely lacks it, and CF sees the untapped offensive potential that this kid has. From thehockeynews.com on Sully's assets:
Boasts tremendous hands and a good shot. Is an explosive scorer and a very creative forward. Can be effective at all three positions up front.
Just what the doctor ordered isn't it?
One more thing, I challenge you to find a single flaw in this move. We picked up a player with potential. If it doesn't work out, he can easily be put right back on waivers. It's inexpensive and it's a one-year contract. We may not hit oil on this drilling, but we could find a diamond in the rough. However, this may be Patrick O'Sullivan's last chance to prove himself, because he probably won't ever get this kind of opportunity again.
Final panel: Roster movements
With the acquisition of Patty O'Sully came the demotion of Casey Wellman. A lot of people were bitching about it because he did a good job on the second line. I beg to differ. I'm sorry, but 1 single point playing on the second line with Cal Clutterbuck, who happens to score a lot these days, and Matt Cullen, plus with time on the PP, I see that project as a failure. Sure he gave it his all every night and that's just what we need, but really, I think this demotion may actually give him a boost. When a player goes so many games without producing, it plays on his confidence. Perhaps he could find his groove back in the AHL, go back to his scoring ways and come back rejuvenated. I love the guy, but this move was the right thing. The big thing here though is the news of Lats' surgeries. This will be a massive blow to the Wild, unless Sully can pick up the slack. it's a good thing the Wild found it's defensive groove back. This is the reason Lats signed a two-year deal. Sign him to a one-year deal and you're right back where you don't want to be come summertime. Now, the surgeries SHOULD fix him up and get him ready for next year, which will be a contract year, which will probably turn out to be a productive one. With any injury that needs surgery, it's good news hidden behind bad news, because the surgery will help him long term. It sure sucks to lose him, but it's better not to dawdle with these things.
Punchline: Patrick O'Sullivan... that has to be one of the most Irish names possible. One of his nicknames is POS... I will wait to see if he plays well before I call him that because... well... you know!
Feels good to write again. PEACE OUT!
CORRECTION: I thought we were the 25th today, but we are the 24th, which means Sully was acquired on the 23rd, exactly one year after G-Lat... Spooky... it just has to be a sign!