Saturday, July 2, 2011
Insanity And The NHL
But the contracts that have been handed out on the opening day of free agency border on the insane. Velle Leino goes from 800,000 to 4.5 million, Joel Ward doubles his salary from 1.5 to 3 million, Andy Green from 735,000 to 3 million and people are upset with Sather for giving Micheal Rupp a 3 year 4.5 million contract.
Considering some of the dumb contracts, it is hard to believe but Sather at least on Friday used coupons to sign Rupp and Rusian Fedotenko. Both player signings addressed need and at a value price.
Yes he doubled his salary but he winds up 100,000 cheaper than what Boogaard would have earned but more importantly is his addition relieves Brandon Prust of the enforcer role. As much as we all love Prustie, we are only kidding ourselves that he is a true enforcer.
Prust is a middleweight who while he has no fear of anyone; it was easy to see by the end of the season that he was playing through several injuries. Prust established himself as a solid defensive player/energy guy so if Rupp takes even half the fights away from Prust then it is a very good move.
Bringing him back for another season also means that the 2 way forward can mentor Carl Hagelin as the 2 play a very similar game. And really if you want to look at this with a microscope then you will find that Fedotenko can be used in a variety of roles up and down the lineup.
Reasoner will be a good 3rd or 4th line center who will help the expected to be young Islanders this season. No he is not going to score a ton of goals but if he repeats his 14 goals (4 game winners) of last season with the Florida Panthers then he will be worth the money.
Yes he is going to have people still expecting him to fail but not us as we saw enough of him to know that he grew up. Already living on Long Island with his mother so he can work out; Kabanov is going to surprise a lot of people.
But of course the story of the day remains Brad Richards who was the subject of so many rumors that we wonder if even he knows which ones are closer to the truth. Puck Daddy has the day broken down the best.
If even half these rumors are even 50% correct then Richards and his agent Pat Morris are so full of XXXX that even a blind man can see through it.
Really guys the team that can offer you the most money but also the best chance at winning? And the Final Four are the Rangers, Kings, Maple Leafs and the Flame so who are you kidding?
You want solid ownership which right off the back should eliminate the Kings who every other year go from claiming monstrous money losses to the team being up for sale. Yes the Kings are young and do have a legit shot of making some noise in the NHL playoffs over the next couple of years but they also lack the solid ownership you desire.
The Maple Leafs excuse me but I need to stop for a second while I am laughing so hard that I am going to fall out of my chair. Anyone who thinks the Maple Leafs are seen as Cup Contender please report for drug testing as you just exhibited the kind of behavior that is seen as reasonable cause for a drug test.
Psst Brad the last time the Maple Leafs even made the playoffs was the 2003-04 season which I think you kind of remember well since that was your Cup year. Richards was not even born the last time the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup in 1967.
But now it seems that it is a battle of who loves you the most, Jay Feaster who was your general manager on that cup team or John Tortorella who was the coach. Feaster is the newly named GM of the Calgary Flame and remember he is the guy who traded you to Dallas.
The Flames can not even get their first round draft picks to sign with them (Hi my name is Tim Erixon) and have missed the playoffs the last 2 years. The only way that Richards can be seen as signing with the Flames would be more like a 12 year 96 million dollar offer.
It is not ego or arrogance that says that Richards is going to sign with the Rangers but in the end it will be the Rangers who will come the closet to meeting both of Richard's demands. They may be disliked but the Dolans remain the most stable of the 4 supposed final teams and with the young core it is an honest belief that the Rangers will become contenders within the next 2 years even without Richards.
Too bad the NHL will most likely be going through another lockout because of July 1 2011 and here is what is the most ironic part of the Brad Richard's sweepstakes. The Kings and Flames owners were 2 of Gary Bettman's biggest supporters during the lockout.
So when after the end of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Finals when Gary Bettman is demanding that the NHLPA do what he can not do (save the owners and GMs from their own foolish behaviors) then expect yet another lockout.
But that is next year as now the bigger question directed towards those who swear that the Rangers must have Brad Richards at any cost; are you still willing to pay the cost? Is Brad Richards worth taking on yet another bad contract for?
Can you guarantee that in the next CBA that the NHL owners who have to be saved from their own insanity will allow for buyouts? The only means of stopping these poorly thought out contracts is by closing the loopholes that allow them.
And now since we are talking insanity then after Friday using Capgeek's charts taking into account the allowed 10% summer overage (Thanks for the reminder Pat) and then subtracting the qualifying offers that the Rangers made to 9 players on the Ranger/Whale roster, adding in both John Mitchell's and Tim Erixon's contract then as of 12:01 AM PDT the Rangers have 10,611,208 in open cap space (to the best of our understanding of the CBA and CapGeek).
Now I will be the first to acknowledge that I am neither cap specialist, contract lawyer, player agent or armed with anything more than my copy of the CBA and my trusty calculator here. Which means I could be 100% wrong and what follows next BUT to the best of my understanding this is what COULD HAPPEN.
Yes you can sign Brad Richards to a contract that has a 7 million dollar cap hit to it but then you are now in trouble as you are now down to just 3,611,208 and now you have to worry about 5 PM EDT on Tuesday July 5th.
That is the deadline for Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky to file for arbitration and those hearings would be taking place in either late July or early August which will be way before the Rangers will be able to rid themselves of Wade Redden's cap hit. It would be foolish of the two players to not file for arbitration to protect themselves with the only real weapon they have.
The CBA states that only 2 players per year are allowed to file for arbitration in a year but in the Ranger's case; they also are the ones who will wind up with the most.
If the Rangers were to go to arbitration with Callahan then based on the past then a fair guess would be that he will go from 2.4 million to at least 3.2. Dubinsky will show up just under 3 million and the Rangers either left one walk or trade off someone else.
Which leads us to the next problem.
If I am an NHL GM and I see the Rangers in the cap shape they are in then guess what I am going to do? I will target Brad Boyle and Michael Sauer as low cost everyday players who I can get for a song.
I would look at Boyle's qualifying offer of 605,000 and play a game of chicken with Glen Sather as I would offer Boyle 1.2 million. Sather either matches it or he loses Boyle for a 3rd round pick (which is what Sather paid for him in the first place)
Or I go to Michael Sauer and I see a Top 4 defender making all of 550,000 and once again I would double it (in real life I would only be able to use this trick once since the CBA states that the draft pick has to be the team's own) to 1.1 million. Sauer would also only return a 3rd but he was a 2nd round pick.
As much as we like Sauer; losing him would not hurt as much as losing Boyle would given the glut of defenders the Rangers have in the system. Boyle though would be a problem as you are losing 6'7 250 of defense who also had a career high 21 goals.
Again this is not a Anti-Richards issue but anger at poor cap management by the Rangers who really should have dumped Wojtek Wolski's 3.8 million cap hit when they did Chris Drury's.
This is anger that the Rangers could have signed either Callahan or Dubinksy way before now as a sign of that commitment to the youthful core.
Please do not mistake this as thinking or saying that either Callahan or Dubinsky are equal or better than Richards. What this is about is filling 1 hole (Richards) at the cost of creating as few as 1 but as many as 4 holes in the Ranger lineup.
This goes back to the Ranger's history of trying to fill 1 hole by opening up another one. All it does is keep the franchise treading water.
We will supposedly hear the coronation, I mean the announcement as to which team Richards has deemed worthy of his services sometime later today.
I for one plan on being as far from a computer on Saturday as I possibly can to spare myself the agony (OK I have some major yardwork to do) of the reaction of the Richards event. But replacing me tomorrow will be Lebron James and Dwayne Wade who are experts on coronations.
As much as people may not like this but in the long run the Rangers just might win by losing out on the Richards sweepstakes. I trust a Sather trade more than I do a Sather free agent signing.
(Richards, Rupp, Reasoner, Fedotenko courtesy of NHL.Media, Kabanov courtesy of Lewiston Maineaics)
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