Tuesday, July 06, 2004

 

Mad About Madden: It's Madness!!!

If you believe the wisdom of Mike Danton, the New Jersey Devils are run like a cult, with Fat Lou running the team like David Koresh after a few visits to Krispy Kreme and a barber shop.

(Since Danton seems to be an expert on living in a cult environment, he�s got a point)

Fat Lou runs his syndicate/team like a cult, and he�s very careful to maintain a very specific pecking order within his salary structure.

The big important leaders, as deemed by Lou, get the important contracts. The remaining contracts are set in accordance to the deemed pecking order.

Scott Stevens - $6.9 mil
Martin Brodeur - $6.9mil
Patrik Elias - $5.0mil
Scott Niedermayer - $4.0mil
.........
Jiri Bicek $400,000

If you are like Brendan Morrison or Jason Arnott and you wish to be paid outside the structure of Lou�s pyramid scheme, you will be forced to sit at home (ala Scott Gomez), or banished to the losing fields of places like Vancouver.

So, it�s obvious that Lou loves John Madden, as evidenced with his recent $20mil contract (5 years at $4mil per year).

BOOM!

Another 3rd line center getting big bucks.

Granted, Madden is a former Selke winner (which is like rewarding Microsoft for buying out another small company), and ranked 3rd among Devils forwards in ice time...but $4mil a season?

Since when did playing good defence as a forward equate to being paid near-superstar salaries?

In today�s NHL, it�s much easier to acquire or develop a defensive forward than it is to develop or acquire offence.

Basic economics, kiddies...when resources are scarce (Offence), then the market would dictate that a premium would be paid to obtain that scarce resource. Paying big dollars for a resource that is easily available in the marketplace (3rd line defensive players) is simply a waste of your dollars.

Sure, Madden is a player 30 out of 30 GM�s would want on their team. That doesn�t mean it�s a smart decision to pay a player like Madden $4mil per year, when players like Ian Laperriere and Curtis Brown are signing contracts for less than $2mil per season. For the price of John Madden, the Devils could have had 2 good defensive forwards for the price of one. Granted, quality is harder to find than quantity, but it�s not is if Madden is providing a measurable level of defence so far above and beyond a guy like Curtis Brown.

If you thought Draper�s recent signing was a tad expensive, let�s compare numbers.

Salary: Draper $3.8mil, Madden $4.0mil
Contract Length: Draper 4 years, Madden 5 years
Age: Draper 33, Madden 31
Average Points/Year: Draper 32.50, Madden 34.25
(Last 4 seasons)

Well, I�ll give some credit to Lou and Madden�s agent, this contract follows the market which was set by the Wings giving too much dough to their 3rd line center.

Of course, that�s like saying any player who scored 36 points is worth $5mil a year, simply because Tkachuk is getting paid $10mil a year.

(Madden�s Agent: �Hey, waitaminute! If that�s the case, my client is still underpaid!�)

I see a trend developing, and it�s quite disturbing: NHL GM�s think that, in the �Age of Defence�, that some of their most important players are the defensive forwards who excel at shutting down opposing offensive threats.

Now, there is value in having a good defensive center on your club. As I said before, however, it�s simply not the best use of resources to pay defensive centers the type of money that offensive stars are making.

It�s much easier to acquire a defensive forward.
It�s much easier to develop a defensive forward.
It�s much harder to score offence in today�s NHL.

If you are a smart GM, you should save your big dollar contracts for the players who can provide offense, and fill your 3rd and 4th lines with good, but not �star� (ie. High paid) role players.

As I would say, �It�s much harder to score a goal than it is to stop a goal. If this wasn�t the case, then why do over 90% of scoring chances not result in goals?�

Ok, it�s not Confucius, but you get the freakin� point.

Comments:
Not to mention that defensive specialists aren't exactly marketable players. There are probably very few players that grow up idolizing Jere Lehtinen, or Radek Bonk, or Mr. Madden. Teams should pay their stars the most. I wonder what Mr. Bettman thinks about these contracts.
 
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