I like going to the Trader’s Village occasionally. I know what I’m getting into when I go, but when I go I end up looking at the vinyl record stalls. The Trader’s Village in Houston has two record stalls I remember.
One is air conditioned (a detail worth reporting about a flea market) with a wide selection of new and old records plus t-shirts, posters, and other things I don’t really need. I once saw a newer pressing of Hotel California for sale for 70 dollars.
The other one smells like the dusty and slightly mildew-y home of a 70 year old hoarder with no surviving relatives and like 20 cats. It’s fowl. I start coughing within ten minutes if I don’t find what I’m looking for quickly despite there being no stall door and the stall being the dimensions of a cheap apartment garage. I had to tie the last record I bought there to the roof of the car on the way home to get the stench out.
When I went there last time I found a five dollar original pressing of Master of Reality by Black Sabbath. I immediately went to test it on his record player only to hear the unmistakable sound of a warped beyond repair record. The owner flung the record to the back of the stall, said “well, fuck it”, and put the record sleeve on the wall as a display.
You have to simultaneously watch your back against getting ripped off and check your merchandise if the deal looks too good out there. Logic gets stripped away and the person with the currency to spend has to be very careful or they head to their car more pissed off than even the average Trader’s Village customer which, again, is saying something.
The beauty is that everything is for sale for a price and both proprietors will look you in the eye with a smile while they reach for your wallet to Help You Out.
I’m not saying Pierre Dorion, Marc Bergevin, Peter Chiarelli, Jason Botterill, or Jeff Gorton fit the stereotypes of either business owner, but I’m not saying they don’t either. The Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers (haha), Buffalo Sabres, and New York Rangers all appear to be open for business on some of their top guys with a week to go until the NHL Trade Deadline.
The first three are marks if you want to make a trade they will eventually regret, but I don’t have much of a read on Gorton or Botterill.
Mike Hoffman of the Senators, Max Pacioretty of the Canadiens, Evander Kane of the Sabres, and both Rick Nash and Michael Grabner of the Rangers names are out there and have been connected to the Stars.
Grabner is a name Mike Heika floated. He makes sense because of how little money he’s owed, but that shooting percentage and lack of shots seems like a dangerous combo to bank on in a trade. To paraphrase a famous man who once looked incredibly silly: do the things he does well lead to a high shooting percentage? He’s shooting 17.4% over the last two years and gets buried in Corsi and expected goals. Just play Jason Dickinson.
Rick Nash and Evander Kane are fine players. The prices seem to be exorbitantly high for two guys who are about to waltz into free agency. They could help for sure, but the cost becomes unreasonable quickly. Reportedly the Rangers are asking for the moon in return for Nash, and the Sabres have been asking for comparable for Kane. Neither guy moves the needle enough for a team that is already good like the Stars to be reasonably expected to pay up at the current high rates.
Mike Hoffman comes with a second year of control at a reasonable salary. He has a good shot and plays for a mediocre Senators squad. He’s been putting points on the board, but the underlying numbers aren’t great. You’d be banking on his skill set playing up with the Stars, which isn’t a bad gamble.
The problem with Hoffman is the Colorado Avalanche. I guess Pierre Dorion or Eugene Melnyk are the real problems, but now the Avalanche come into the fold. They own the Senators first round pick after the incredibly short-sighted Matt Duchene acquisition. If you’re the Stars and you pick up Hoffman you’re increasing the odds of the Avalanche moving up higher in the lottery to get an even better prospect.
If there are other trade options this has to play a little bit into your thinking. Then again, maybe it doesn’t because you figure someone is going to try to acquire him regardless. At the very least it’s an interesting wrinkle for the Stars.
This entire path really only leads you to Max Pacioretty. I’m not entirely sure why Montreal would trade him, but I also have no idea why they traded P.K. Subban. He’s the best player on this list. He’s the most productive in counting stats over the last two years and has easily the best underlying numbers. The contract is just icing on the cake.
If you’re the Stars Pacioretty is easily the best option without the context of price considered. With his salary and age you almost don’t even worry about the cost unless it’s just stupid high. As much as I love Julius Honka, I don’t bat an eye at including him in a deal for Pacioretty with the increasingly imminent debut of Miro Heiskanen on the horizon. Jason Dickinson becomes available since Pacioretty soaks up more of those minutes.
I’ve advocated for going for This Thing for two years now. You don’t have many more years to just floor it with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin at their peaks. Nill went for it this offseason. Add American Hero Pacioretty to this already dangerous lineup and the Stars are one of the Stanley Cup favorites this year and next year.
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