If there's any way to keep Kovy and Parise and add Malkin, do it.

Well obviously I was not in favor of trading Zach Parise. He is probably the best grinder in the league, if I dare say such a thing. He's not flashy, although at times he will show off his skill with the puck, and he plays defense just as hard as if every game is his last, so yes, I will consider him such a player. Now a lot of people are supporting the Zach Parise for Evgeni Malkin trade rumor that supposedly Lou has contacted Ray Shero regarding, but I haven't officially seen anything in writing.

Anyway, a couple of things about that proposal: if we lose Parise, then our top line likely becomes Kovalchuk-Malkin-Elias, which is great, but then Zajac has Langenbrunner and who? Tedenby? Is he ready to play second line already? The Devils waited a lot longer than that with Bergfors. I suppose we could suffer through Brian Rolston playing up with them on the left side, maybe even Zubrus could play the left wing position. Anyway, that's a long way from happening, so let's go over some logical considerations first.

Malkin's cap hit is $8.7M, and he's locked up forever, pretty much. If we could somehow rid ourselves of Rolston ($5M), Pandolfo ($2.5M), and not sign Niedermayer, McAmmond, Mottau or Martin ($3.8M cap hit), then it becomes slightly more realistic. Kovalchuk, to me, is worth no more than $8M. I think everyone realizes that, especially because a healthy Malkin puts up 75-80 assists per year, which is included in his 110 points per season he had back-to-back years before this year, which was plagued by a pair of mild injuries. Remember, Malkin has also won a Calder, was twice a runner-up in the Hart voting to Ovechkin, and won a Conn Smythe. So he knows how to score and how to win.

My personal opinion is as the title says: throw everything we have at the Pens except Parise. If they want Elias, they can have him. I honestly believe that Elias isn't going to hold up much longer physically. He has the body of a 40-year old but we have to pay his salary through 2012-13. That worries me slightly. If Malkin costs us Elias and Langenbrunner, then we might have to think about it. Obviously both guys (I believe) on our side have no-trade clauses, but I'm sure when you're talking about likely playing on the first line with Sidney Crosby, they'd say yes. Otherwise, they'd get Jordan Staal, but realistically, an Elias-Crosby-Langenbrunner line isn't bad at all. Elias-Crosby-Guerin isn't either, but that's for them to decide. The bottom line is, I doubt Pittsburgh accepts anyone less than Parise. If that is the case, scrap everything and move on to plan B.

Plan B, we call Washington and ask the price tag for Nicklas Backstrom. Okay, well maybe not...

While we're still dreaming, or at least I am, take a look at the possibilities with the new mock-lineup:

Parise-Zajac-Clarkson (I believe he fits better than anyone else right now)

The problem is...defense. Volchenkov still looks nice, and with all that contract dumping, and the subtractions of Langenbrunner and Elias, you never know, he might still be realistic, but then again, none of this is "realistic" anyway. Dan Hamhuis is also a great choice, he plays physical and he's smart with the puck, as Lemaire would say. I also think we need to consider signing Dan Ellis if Carey Price is unrealistic, Marty's LIMIT is 65 games next year in my opinion.

Okay, now, since the Malkin deal probably won't happen, let's look at other options. What about calling Columbus and asking about Antoine Vermette? He's got decent size, he can play-make and scored 27 goals on a lousy Blue Jackets team this past season. He would fit in here, because he does play well in his own end, he plays shorthanded, I think Vermette would be a solid addition, barring the asking price.

I suppose we could ask Buffalo for Tim Connolly, Saku Koivu is out there, so is Plekanec.

Again, defense for the next 2-3 years is key. Corrente and Eckford will be solid, and the other two kids, Gelinas and Kelly, may turn out to be great too, they are potentially middle defensemen, but the problem is 2010-11 right now. Defense by committee hasn't worked. We need a #1 who can play half the game if called upon, especially down the stretch and into the playoffs.

That's my story, you may not like it, that's fine, tell me your story.

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