100 games a season: Gare Joyce's puck blog

Just like being in the scouts' & press' lounge, without the bad coffee and day-old Timbits

Location: Toronto

I've written for ESPN The Magazine and espn.com the last five years. My work has made the "notable" list of the Best American Sports Writing seven times and won four Canadian National Magazine Awards. My most recent book is Future Greats and Heartbreaks: A Year Undercover in the Secret World of NHL Scouts. I've written three other sports books: When the Lights Went Out: How One Brawl Ended Hockey's Cold War and Changed the Game; Sidney Crosby: Taking the Game by Storm; and The Only Ticket Off the Island: Baseball in the Dominican Republic.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ryan Parent: The High Price of Forsberg Rental

Count me as one who thought Philly maximized returns on the Peter Forsberg dump, uh, deal. Ryan Parent has been my favorite defenceman at the last two world U-20s. Quietly efficient, stay-at-home, just a young player who fills in your D on a winning team. I don't know about his high end--can he be a Top 2 guy if he's not a significant powerplay pt man? If you take that out of the mix, he's all you could ask for. His best moment was in the semi against the US this year. He was the d-man on the far side of the ice (from the Canadian bench) during a powerplay in OT--he was out there the whole freakin' shift, no chance to come off. Beyond clutch. That coulda been the tournament right there.

I talked with a Nashville scout the day after the tourney -- we had dinner in the Stockholm airport. I told him how much I liked Ryan ... and he made it sound like he saw no reason to rush him to the NHL. And you look at it (Hamhuis, Shea Weber, Ryan Suter), the Preds have no shortage of young D-boys. Dealt from strength. Picks are decent value (but Nashville's 1st, 25-30 let's say, is about the same as a lot of teams' second). But Parent is the prize in their not the picks and not Scottie Upshall who does his best work in the team photo and the hotel lobby.

Not surprised at the rumbles about Bob Clarke wanting Bobby Ryan from the Ducks. Written about it before, Clarke has known Ryan since he was a peewee and still helps out Ryan's father who had an ugly scrape with the law.

ADDED LATER The fine print ... Scout took me to task for lofty appraisal of Ryan Parent. "A rep on world juniors and nothing else," the scout told me. "He doesn't bring much to the table." I don't buy it. Of course, this is from a guy who didn't get a shot at him in the draft. Everyone has a vested interest and an agenda. My belief: There's only one time you can say with any certainty that somebody in the game is telling the truth--that would be when an agent says a nice thing about a player who isn't and will never be his client. I think that I've overheard that once in a couple of decades.

ADDED MUCH LATER ... I saw this in Damo's blog

Q: I am a huge Forsberg fan. Why didn't the Leafs try to get him, and do you think the trade was a good one for the Flyers? Warren Bardsley, Calgary
A: I think JFJ did kick the tires, but look at what Nashville surrendered. Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent, a first round pick and a third.
For the Leafs to match that, they’d have to give up Matt Stajan, Andy Wozniewski and the picks, all for a player who may retire this summer. It was a deal Nashville could make because they had stockpiled young players and can live with the deal even if they get knocked out in the first round. The Leafs just don’t have the depth to make that kind of swap for a rental.

Well, maybe. Maybe Stajan is lookinbg better than Scottie Upshall but I think there's significant separation between Parent and Wozniewski. The latter might turn out to be a player but--outside of the GTA--Parent's stock is considerably higher.