We learned this lesson with Dion Phaneuf.
Safe to say Robyn Regehr had an off-year this past season. While rumours are only rumours, there have been two months of trade buzz involving Regehr. Makes you wonder if there’s smoke where there’s fire after all. Let’s not forget, we endured constant Phaneuf talk last season, and yet many of us (myself included) shut down the possibility of a deal. Darryl himself completely rejected the idea, and Dion was sent packing weeks later. So can we really dismiss this Regehr chatter completely?
Darryl was asked about the core heading into the offseason, and indicated that Jarome was going nowhere. Just like that, all of those wild Iginla rumours were silenced.
On July 2nd, Darryl was asked about the “pending” Regehr for Savard deal. He rejected the Savard portion of the question, but was asked a more specific question about a trade involving Regehr, and replied with “The names of good players will be associated with other good players.” He could have replied with “Robyn is going nowhere” or “we have no interest in trading Regehr” or “there’s no truth to any of that.” Instead, he left us hanging.
Let me start off by saying that I would prefer to see Robyn Regehr on this team next season. Why? Because within the last few years, the Flames have become much easier to play against. On top of Reggie’s impressive defensive numbers, he is one of the sole factors the Dome remains a tough place to play. Ask Gaborik, Kopitar or Hemsky how they feel streaking down the wing, staring straight at Regehr’s scowl. He takes big stars out of the game by picking them up and throwing them against the boards. He’s solid positionally, he’s massive, and he makes it difficult to play the Calgary Flames. Above all, he hates to lose; the same can’t always be said for Jokinen, Iginla, Hagman, Tanguay, Bouwmeester, etc. When the team gets embarrassed, it’s Regehr that gets angry – no clichés, no long-winded explanations. He takes it hard, and has visibly shown frustration with players that do not demonstrate such passion. Here’s what it would look like to face the Flames without Regehr:
Subtracting Phaneuf AND Regehr from the equation certainly leaves a softer blueline. With both White and Giordano set to hit free agency next summer, can we really afford to lose another star defenseman?
To me, Robyn Regehr is still a very valuable component for this team, which is why I’m baffled with his diminished trade value after one “off-year” last season. These are only rumours with little-to-no merit, but let’s take a look at what’s been drifting around the blogosphere this summer:
Langkow, Regehr for Spezza (no longer applicable, considering Spezza’s no trade clause has since kicked-in)
Regehr for Marc Savard
Regehr for Tim Connolly
Regehr for Derek Roy
Regehr for Wayne Simmonds
For a moment, let's forget the individual components of these deals. Most of these possibilities involve centremen. With Jokinen, Stajan and Langkow all signed on for next season (a combined 11 M against the cap – assuming Langkow is healthy), why would it make any sense to deal yet another star defenseman away to transition another 3-4 million dollars worth of salary up the middle? To me, it wouldn’t. More and more money would be shifted down the depth chart, and you'd have a wealth of $3M third-liners. On top of all of this, you better be sure Regehr is looking to get dealt, because asking him to waive his NTC and being rejected could hamper the relationship moving forward - and that would be the worst-case scenario.
To note Regehr's decline in market value, let’s take a look at a couple of moves made this offseason involving defensemen:
Matt Walker, 4th round pick for Simon Gagne (wow)
Dennis Wideman, 1st round pick for Nathan Horton, Gregory Campbell (wow)
When comparing the value of assets like Gagne and Horton to that of Connolly, it’s clear Robyn’s market value has dropped considerably. With this in mind, I would argue that Regehr’s contributions to this team are far greater than any asset you could get in return. To me, his value to this team goes beyond the stats sheet.
So tell me, would you trade Robyn Regehr? And if so, what would you seek in return?