We're all a little desperate for a top-line center, and we do realize beggars can't be choosers. Though that hasn't stopped us from weighing the options on players we don't want and players we also don't want but wouldn't be mad if they came here.
Over the last few days we've gotten several questions about the only real free agent center left on the market: Derek Roy. Not my top pick. Or yours, Or anyone's. Well, except for The Tennessean's Josh Cooper, who's been beating the Roy drum pretty hard even before the Olli Jokinen signing:
So let's assume that if Roy were to sign in Nashville, it would be to play on the top line.
After spending his first eight seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, the 5'9'' forward has played with three different teams in the last two years. He has 30-goal season in his back pocket, and looked to be a consistent 20-goal guy from that point on. However, he hasn't touched that mark since 2009-20010, and only has 16 goals over his last two years.
That might be a little unattractive at first, but Roy wouldn't be signed here to score goals, that's what James Neal is for. Last year, Roy had his highest assist total since the aforementioned '09-'10 season, while spending a good portion of the season in Ken Hitchcock's doghouse. Mike Ribeiro had better numbers as far as goals and assists go, but Roy doesn't come with the extra baggage and the underlying stats are much more promising.
Roy has been a consistent possession player over the last three years, averaging about a 51.5 CF%. Not only would that not drag Neal and Smith (assuming he's on the top line) down, Nashville would have a line that could theoretically play most of its time in the opponents zone. For the helped drive possession in Buffalo, and did contribute a bit to an already strong Blues team.
Couple that with his point production and shot rates have stayed relatively the same, even while he's been bouncing from team to team, and the signing looks more attractive than at first glance. Of course, one player has eaten him alive in that time, and another isn't far behind. Oh, and they're both in the Preds' division:
I'm not saying the Predators need to go out right this second and ink him to a deal. Given the options available (and the headaches that are tied to them) Derek Roy seems to make the most sense, especially for one of those one year, low money deals we've been talking so much about. He isn't the game-changing center everyone's been clamoring about since Neal came into the picture, but they also wouldn't have to sell the farm to get him.
Overall, there are worse signings to be had and, though he wouldn't make the team a contender, (who would?) it has the potential to help them more than the other options. Of course, I stand by my original statement that if the Predators really want to improve in the long term, they are better off being patient.