Saturday, July 2, 2011

Insanity And The NHL

July 1 has come and gone but for fans of the New York Rangers and New York Islanders then the countdown to the next labor stoppage has begun. It was expected that because of the lack of big name free agents that there was going to be some inflated contracts offered.

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.

First Rupp is going to replace the late Derek Boogaard but not wishing to disrespect the late Boogaard; this is an upgrade for the Rangers as they add a heavyweight enforcer who can play as well.

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.

Now have to admit to some head-scratching as to why people are upset that the Rangers resigned Rusian Fedotenko for another season? Yes he got a 400,000 dollar raise but when in the lineup he was effective and when paired with Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust made up one of the Ranger lines that fans could always count on to show up.

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.

The Islanders to their credit replaced Doug Weight with Marty Reasoner and it is hard to dislike this move either. With Weight retired then adding Reasoner's veteran presence in both lineup and locker room was a good idea.

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.

And the Islander also signed their 2010 3rd round pick Kirill Kabanov to his entry level contract. Kabanov deserves this contract for turning not only his life but his game around.

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)


mippolit said...

Fair points but I HIGHLY doubt any GM will go the offer sheet route on players such as Sauer and Boyle. Both can pretty much be had in a trade if wanted. If GM are reluctant to go after Stamkos because of repercussions no way they do that on lesser players.

Look at Valarmov. AVS even knew he would not be playing in WAS next season and still didnt use offer sheet, they traded for hom (and got fleeced in the process)

Jess Rubenstein said...

Stamkos would most likely cost 4 first round picks a move that no GM wanting to keep his job would dare attempt.

Boyle and Sauer are trapped by their qualifying offer with no bargaining power of their own. You can lure them away with cash for them and just a 3rd rd pick in return.

Yes the Avs got taken to the cleaners but most NHL GMs are smarter than than. Why pay Sather's price when you can decide your own?

Boyle it is doubtful the Rangers would want to part with after all they invested in him. They sure would want a lot more than a 3rd round pick.

Sauer as I said is someone who is not too hard to replace.

And if you do not think that Glen Sather would not be above stealing a player from another team like that think again.

And you know if you offer barely over 1 million that you would not even have to pay compensation.

If the Rangers are up against a Cap wall and can not match offer sheets it becomes a possibility

Kalel9 said...

I think the Rangers will make a trade for a Left Wing, to go on the first line with Richards and Gaborik. I also don't think anyone will be offer sheeting anyone else's kids.

elroy said...

FYI - Gaulton to attend Brock, keep playing:

ivyw said...

guess if anyone disagrees with the great Jess Rubenstein (let's rebuild forever) he gets banned. Many people have noticed that a rational blog like Blue Seat Blogs can no longer have its link found on your site. You are a true moron. I'm sure this comment will never see the light of day just as yesterday's correction of your mistaken cap figures was credited to someone else. lol.

Jess Rubenstein said...

Batter Up

yesterday's correction of your mistaken cap figures was credited to someone else.

That was strike one because it is clear as day who made the comment pointing out my mistake

Many people have noticed that a rational blog like Blue Seat Blogs can no longer have its link found on your site.

Oh well life is hard but first off; I doubt you are any of the writers of BSB so I am pretty sure they would not like your lame attempt to pull them into your childish behavior.

I am pretty sure they do not care that I no longer link them as they can do the same if want to.

That was strike two

I'm sure this comment will never see the light of day

Wow like I did not see this one coming a mile away. Well here is your attention that you were wanting.

I on the other hand wish to thank you for the multiple hits the site gets while you are looking for my reaction. The thing that a person like yourself never gets is that your attempt to get me angry or upset is not even original.

But I get the last laugh because I know you will keep reading, you will keep coming and you will keep pulling these lame acts.

While you do I will be increasing my hit count and generating revenue.

I am sure you are going to come back several times to see how I responded. So how does it feel to be helping me make money?

Strike three you are out

Have a nice day

Kmp said...

Can't loose my favorite player to an offer sheet.

As for Richards he will make the Rangers better the cap hit is tolerable, but 9 years? Oh well.