While you won’t find him on many people’s list of big names in this year’s free agent market for defensemen, Tom Preissing is quietly showing he’s one of the most underrated defensemen in the NHL. The 28 year old Ottawa Senator put together a very solid season for his new team. Tom was acquired by the Sens from San Jose in the offseason trade that sent Havlat & Smolinski to Chicago.
The US born Preissing landed behind a deep defensive corps in Ottawa. Despite playing significantly less minutes than Redden, Meszaros, Corvo, Volchenkov and Phillips, Preissing finished the regular season leading all Sens D-men in points and plus minus (7 goals, 31 assists for 38pts /+40). Though he’s known primarily as a powerplay specialist, more than 1/2 of his points were scored while playing as a 5/6 dman at even strength. As of this writing he has 3 pts in 5 playoff games in limited minutes for the Sens. Impressive stuff.
But don’t take my word for it, take a look at this exceprt from an “underground” Ottawa Senators blog I found. This blogger was nervous the Sens might move Preissing before the trade deadline. He sees the value and really wants the sens to keep Preissing. Read the comments left after the blog too. This scouting report of sorts, from people who probably watched every Sens game, speaks volumes.
Why We Should Keep Tom Preissing
February 02, 2007 – 10:49 PM | A l e x K l a g e s
There has been a lot of rumblings that in order to make it to the Cup this year, the Senators are short one piece of the puzzle. One of the names being floated in the trade rumours (at least on the discussion forums) is Tom Preissing. But if there is any player you would want to keep, it would be Quiet Tom, Tom the Invisible, Anonymous Tom Preissing (I honestly feel sorry for the guy after that debacle with Ian Mendes where the people of Ottawa were shown not to know who he is).
What Tom Preissing does is bring a quiet yet assured game to the 5/6 D spot. Now, I know that many are saying his stats, especially that of plus/minus, are inflated due to his playing time. But consider this:
-He makes only $600 000. His cap impact is minimal.
-He only gets a little under 15 minutes per game yet has the highest plus/minus and highest point totals of any D-man on the Senators, not to mention the second-highest plus/minus in the NHL.
-He has proven to be up to the task in those games when he has gotten more ice time
-Paired with Joe Corvo, he has helped Corvo’s plus/minus increase from the deep doldrums in which they were lying.
Those factors make him well worth keeping. He isn’t going to cost a lot to re-sign, maybe 1.2-1.5 million, and he’s doing the job he has been given extremely well. How many teams, even top echelon teams, can boast that their 6th defenseman is +30 or has 29 points this season? And if his plus/minus is hugely inflated by playing against only the weakest of the other teams’ players, as the common retort goes, why doesn’t every 6th defenseman have such great numbers? Why is his plus/minus 17 points above any other Sens defenseman? He must be doing something right!
What I see in Tom Preissing is a hugely underrated defenseman who will handle pretty much any assignment you give him, save a head-hunting or hard-checking role. That isn’t his style. But for a speedy, skilled defenseman, you’re not going to find a better price-performance ratio.
As for me, I say the Preiss is Right for our Senators.
Vernon | 04.13.07 – 1:28 am | #
A comment about the Tom Preissing question. I agree wholeheartedly about resigning Preissing. I’m proud to say that at the beginning of the season, I was telling people that Preissing was an excellent addition to the Senators and (together with the prospects they received) as close to fair value that they could get for Havlat. However, it looks like the Sens have already given up on signing him, for a few reasons.
They have effectively priced themselves out of being able to resign Preissing with the Chris Phillips signing. To tell the truth, I’m not sure how much cap room the Sens have now, but it’s not much.
I think you’ve underestimated how much it will cost to resign to Tom Preissing. If I’m not mistaken, he’s an unrestricted free agent this coming year, and believe me he’ll fetch a lot more than 1.2-1.5 million on the open market. He’s no longer underrated or overlooked, I assure you there are many teams who will be looking to sign him and he’ll very likely go for 2.5+ million per year, even though I think his stats are slightly inflated.
In the end, I sincerely hope that the Senators make a decent pitch to Preissing, but to be honest I don’t see it happening.
Shredder | 04.13.07 – 11:09 am | #
Vernon, I agree with you. I think Preissing was a good addition and a good move by Mucks. I questioned it at the beginning only because I didn’t know much about Preissing. I knew he was good and all… but to me, he wasn’t a big name.
I do think the Senators will re-sign him. I know he will demand more… especially if the Sens go deep in the playoffs. BUT… I have a feeling the Sens will make some cap space available by dumping other big salaries. As much as I like Redden, I have a feeling that he will go… with Phillips, A-Train, and Preissing, and even Corvo on the blue line, Redden can be traded to get a number of less expensive but good players the Sens might need to fill some holes.
Regardless, I think it’ll be an interesting summer… even if the Sens make it deep in the playoffs this year… or God forbid, win the cup!!
Good stuff, eh Flyer fans?
Here’s why I think making a move for Preissing makes sense:
- Preissing is a right handed shot — something the Flyers have lacked for some time
- Preissing excels on the power play – he can play QB and/or get open for quality shots from the point or after rotating down to the circle area. We need this!
- Preissing has an underrated shot, including a lethal one timer…it’s being underutilized in Ottawa
- Preissing has shown he is ready to step up to a top 4 role, something the Flyers can give him
- Preissing plays smart, makes good outlet passes and has strong hockey sense
- At 28, Preissing is old enough to bring an experienced game, but young enough to grow and gel with a young Flyers team
- Preissing is making $600k, and could possibly be signed for $2-3 million, which is a bargain
Will he be available? He might be and here’s why:
- Ottawa recently committed to Phillips and Volchenkov with new multi year contracts adding 2.5 Million in raises to their already tight cap situation next season. They may not have the money left to sign Preissing
- He’s a UFA currently making 600k and this is his first chance at big money, he may not be willing to take a discount to stay a Senator
- The Flyers can give him more money and a bigger role than he has in Ottawa (3/4 d man minutes + lots of powerplay time)
While Preissing may not be known as the type of big-time, top pairing defenseman the Flyers are reportedly looking for, he’s a mobile, two-way D man with a very good RH shot, capable of playing a top 4 role and specializing on the powerplay. Things the Flyers can definitely use. At a likely pricetag of around $2-3 million per year, he’s a bargain and gives the Flyers the flexibility to still try and bring in a top pairing guy like Timonen, Rafalski, Markov or Hamrlik (among others) if they want.
If I’m the Flyers GM, I still try to land Timonen, Rafalski or Markov, but I also pursue Tom Preissing with vigor and try to lock him up in a long term deal. I put him in a #3/4 role and make him a fixture on the Flyers powerplay. The D corps for next season can look something like this (roll the lines fairly evenly depending on situation):
(assume Gauthier is odd man out > traded for picks?)
That’s a pretty solid group in my opinion. The addition of Timonen and Preissing would go far in addressing the team’s powerplay woes and it would add and more consistency to the transition game. Each line is anchored by an experienced vet paired with a younger player who can grow and benefit from playing with him. At a combined cost of about $7-8 million, it should still leave about $12+ million to spend on a top line center and a 2nd line winger if desired.
Regardless of who else the Flyers sign this off season, if Tom Preissing is available at a good price, I think you lock him up long term. He has a solid all around game, can play in just about any pairing and brings assets the Flyers really need in terms of his RH shot, strong two-way play, offensive instincts and skill on the powerplay. San Jose fans want him back, Senator fans want to keep him. I think there’s a good reason for that.
More on Tom Preissing:
Born: 12/3/1978 in Arlington Heights, IL USA
Size: 6’0″ 205 Lbs.
Current Team: Ottawa
06-07 Salary: $600k
Estimated Salary Next Year: $1-3MM
Assets: Makes smart decisions with the puck. Is capable of putting up good offensive numbers, especially if given regular ice time with the man advantage.
Flaws: Is undersized, and will always face an uphill battle against NHL power forwards. Must still prove he can log big minutes in the big league.
Preissing played in the USHL for the Green Bay Gamblers for two years in the late 90s. In 98-99 he had a remarkable season with 18 goals and 37 assists for 55 pts in 53 games. He was named to the all-star team and also named USHL Defenseman of the Year. Preissing then attended Colorado College where he played for all four years, getting a quality education both on and off the ice. In his outstanding Senior year, Preissing was a Hobey Baker finalist and set the WCHA record for most goals in a season by a defenseman when he put up 23 goals and 29 assists for 52 pts in 42 games. He earned Inside College Hockey’s Defenseman of the Year award and a spot on the INCH All-America first team.
Going undrafted, he signed his first NHL contract with San Jose in 2004. He ended up being their rookie of the year and then followed with a strong sophomore campaign, scoring 11 goals and 32 assists for 43 pts and a +17 rating in 74 games. He was then traded to Ottawa in July of 2006 in a three way deal that sent Martin Havlat and Bryan Smolinski to Chicago.
Preissing continued his strong play in a new setting in Ottawa. Even though used only as a 5/6 dman he posted 7 goals and 31 assists for 38 pts, the most of all Ottawa’s defensemen. He also put up a +40 rating (tied with Niklas Lidstrom for third in the NHL), all while playing an average of about 15-17 minutes a game. He’s shown he can handle more.
He’s a right handed shot and uses it well…he is effective in both passing and getting into scoring position at even strength and on the powerplay and has a wicked one timer. Has average size and is not a very physical D man.
MORE ON TOM PREISSING:
Tom is Smart - < PDF file of Tom’s College Paper on “Determinates of Competitive Balance in the NHL”
Article: Professor’s Marks Rising
TSN´s list of top 20 defencemen for 2006-2007
1. Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit
2. Chris Pronger Anaheim
3. Dion Phaneuf Calgary
4. Mathieu Schneider Detroit
5. Philippe Boucher Dallas
6. Jay Bouwmeester Florida
7. Anton Volchenkov Ottawa
8. Tom Preissing Ottawa
9. Kimmo Timonen Nashville
10. Scott Niedermayer Anaheim
11. Brian Campbell Buffalo
12. Sami Salo Vancouver
13. Lubomir Visnovsky Los Angeles
14. Chris Phillips Ottawa
15. Bryan McCabe Toronto
16. Roman Hamrlik Calgary
17. Ryan Whitney Pittsburgh
18. Shea Weber Nashville
19. Dan Boyle Tampa Bay
20. Sergei Gonchar Pittsburgh——-
“Having watched Preissing quite a bit in San Jose, I can say he’s very solid on D. Plays very smart (his age is because he actually has a college degree), skates well, and Wilson loved the guy. He doesn’t make mistakes and doesn’t take bad penalties. He was a + when most other San Jose d-men were minuses. Ottawa may regret losing Chara, but they won’t regret this guy. “
From “Inside College Hockey”:
“Preissing saw ice time in every situation and, in addition to his other duties, was charged with breaking in freshman phenom Mark Stuart, his blue line partner for the bulk of the season.
“I was really lucky to play with Tom most of the year,” Stuart said. “He taught me a lot about leadership and how to keep your composure, not to give up during games, how to prepare for games and to come out strong.”
“His offensive prowess further enhanced the stature of a player who had always been a top-notch defensive defenseman. Preissing was lethal from the top of the face-off circle when the Tigers had the extra man; he’s also a good skater and plays smart.”