With Russo proclaiming that neither Derek Boogaard nor John Scott will likely be back next season, it begs the question, who replaces him? Does anyone need to? Is that element of the game still desired by Todd Richards and Chuck Fletcher?
We thought before we left the center position, we would take a quick look at Konopka, who Fletcher attempted to trade Boogaard for at the deadline. Make the jump, join the discussion.
#28 / Center / Tampa Bay Lightning
Jan 02, 1981
|2009 - Zenon Konopka||74||2||3||5||-11||265||0||0||1||0||41||4.9|
Current Cap Hit: $487K
Nathan: This is a fascinating selection. Cheap, clearly wanted by the front office at one point, but seeing the success teams like Chicago, San Jose, Pittsburgh, Washington and Phoenix had without a goon, will Fletcher and Co. decide that it's time for the Kellogg Avenue Killers (see what I did there?) to die, and not only let Derek Boogaard and John Scott go, but not replace them with another tough guy? Konopka can be had cheaply, likely under $750k, but he still doesn't provide any offense (unlike Dan Carcillo, Steve Ott and Sean Avery), and this team needs goals much more desperately than it needs penalty minutes. Oh, and every picture of Konopka I could find in our gallery tool had him getting absolutely destroyed by someone. How good a fighter is he anyway?
Buddha: I am not convinced the Wild want an enforcer on the squad any longer. If they let Boogey and Scott walk, it is likely because they want to go with a roster more representative of the top teams in the league. Who is the enforcer for the Wings? How about the Sharks? The Caps? Penguins? Blackhawks? See where I am going with this? They don't have one. They can't afford to have a guy on the roster who only plays limited minutes. Konopka averaged just over 8:00 TOI. 265 PIMs is impressive, and he is as ugly as his name, but I just don't see how Konopka fits, unless they truly just want a less expensive bench warmer.
Verdict: No more than 2 years at $550K per year.
JS: Ahh, the one that almost was, but wasn't because of YET ANOTHER TB blunder in management. He led the league in PIM, which to me isn't really a stat to be proud of unless you fight a lot, which he does. He only got 20 minors in 74 games, which ties him with Boogs, but Boogaard played in 57 games. Not only that, but people aren't as afraid of Konopka, so he fights more, which is good for the fans who like a good scrap. Also, he can SCORE! O.K, he just scored twice this year, but that's 2 goals more than Boogaard has in like a million years. Konopka also led the league in majors by a wide enough margin. Good faceoff man, able in the defensive zone (despite a -11 stat, he did play with the lightning after all...) the more I look at his info, the more he looks like a good replacement for Boogs and Scott, and should be a good 4th line center should Ebbett also leave. He can also play left wing, but since he's strong in faceoffs, it could be good to try him out at center. Since it seems the Wild may be parting ways with the Boogeyman, maybe this could be the beginning of the Konopka era?
Verdict: 3 years, 750,000 - 1 million per year