Saturday, August 14, 2004


Scott Niedermayer: What does the future hold?

Scott Niedermayer was awarded a $7mil one-year arbitration award, tying the record award given to John "Chocolate" LeClair in 2000. This $7mil puts Niedermayer at the top of the Devils salary totem pole right along with Martin Brodeur and Scott Stevens.

I'm a little surprised that the award wasn't higher, given the fact that the Devils were supposedly offering $7mil and then $8mil a season for 5 years, while Nieds wanted $9mil for the same period.

From an earlier entry...
Niedermayer doesn�t have the glaring poor +/- that Gonchar has, and the Devils have already offered $7mil per season. This has already set a high salary floor.

Niedermayer�s agent expects $8 or $9mil, and I expect that he may easily get it. Based on the Devils offer, which would put Niedermayer at the top of the Devils food chain, and the low award to Gonchar, my psychic senses tell me that Niedermayer will be awarded around $7.5mil per season.

Why only $7.5mil? Looking at his offensive numbers prior to this season, they don�t blow you away. If an arbitrator can see through Gonchar�s offensive stats, perhaps they can see through the fact that Niedermayer has shown only one truly �elite� season.

(So much for the idea of my own psychic hotline)

Now, hearing that the Devils offered Niedermayer $40mil over 5 years, I am surprised that Niedermayer didn't just take that contract and run.

If he settles on the one-year deal he was awarded, Niedermayer will have to get $33mil over 4 years in the open market to match the offer the Devils have been reported to have shoved in his face.

Would Scott Niedermayer get $8.25mil a season on the open market? With all the talk about salary caps and cost certainty, it looks like Scott is taking an awfully foolish risk. If he doesn't have another Norris-like season, I'd think he'd have trouble getting close to the type of dollars the Devils have been willing to give him.

It's likely true that the Devils' offer includes a lot of payment deferrals, as they would not want to have Niedermayer making $8mil while Brodeur makes over $1mil less.
At the same time, the Devils are offering both BIG money and LONG-TERM security. That's tougher to get in today's market, and probably in tomorrow's market as well.

Just because the Blues are dumb/eager/whatever enough to give Pronger $10mil a year doesn't mean the market will be the same for Scott once he is 'free'.

I wonder if Scott wants out of New Jersey? His free-flowing offensive game was stifled for the longest time, and it can't be all that exciting playing in a city where they hold their Stanley Cup celebration in a parking lot.

If I were Scott, I'd negotiate a bit more and take $40mil+ over 5 seasons. If/when the new CBA is in place, you may not see those kind of offers again.


Hal Gill??!?!

Hal Gill Boston's lumbering 6'8" ogre was named Mathieu Schneider's replacement for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

Eric at asks...
Think of it this way: who would you rather see battling Joe Thornton and Vincent Lacavalier down low in front of Team USA's net: the 5'10" 192 pound Schneider, or the 6'7" 250 pound Gill?

To which I answer: I'd rather have Matt Schneider, who Joe Thornton and Prince Vince can't possibly just skate around and look like a pylon. Gill is the type of player that will take bad penalties when he gets caught flat-footed.

After he saw a large handful of pundits and peeps deriding the selection of Gill, he asked With Schneider gone, who else could Ron Wilson and his staff reasonably recruit for the cause.

I'm left without any answers. If Gill is substandard, who would be a better pick?

You know, it's a tough call. There really is a glaring lack of depth with Team USA's A-team talent (look at the World Championship rosters they have to cull together each year...not pretty), and the new wave of great talent is still in it's junior/developing years. There aren't a lot of great options...

1. Eric Weinrich - When in doubt, go with experience.
Weinrich was left off of the original roster, and is a better NHL, video game, fantasy hockey, and whatever defenseman than Hal Gill. Weinrich has extensive experience with the US squad at various events, and was given the top defensive duties at the recent World Championships (where he finished with +3 in 4 games).
Sure, he may be old, but he still has the wheels to keep up with other countries' speedsters, and he plays a solid position game. Weinrich won't be exposed nearly as much as a guy like Gill.

2. Paul Martin - No, not the crusty old Prime Minister of Canada, but rather the fine upstanding rookie from the New Jersey Devils. Martin averaged 20 minutes of ice time per game with the Devils and played solid hockey in all situations. He has the poise that would allow him to do well in a big tournament.

To his discredit, Martin doesn't have the senior team national experience to fall upon. Hal Gill, at least, has played in the World Championships. Even so, I'd take the young and polished Martin over Gill.

3. Andy Roach - In the spirit of the Olympics and unsung heroes, how about the hero for the USA at the World Championships?

As most Americans don't follow this tournament (It's not even on TV down there for the most part), they probably wouldn't have a clue who I'm talking about.

Well, for starters, he broke the hearts of the Czechs as the shootout hero at the World Championships in Prague...and he managed to escape the country alive.
In the bronze medal game, Roach was again the hero when he scored the deciding shootout goal against the Slovaks.

This guy has broken more Slavic hearts than Anna Kournikova.

Roach is a 5'11" (undersized) offensive defenseman that has spent the last 5 years in the German Elite League. In that span, he has put up 157 points in 269 games.

His exploits earned him a spot with Team USA in Czechia, and he proceeded to put up 2 goals in 3 assists in 9 games, in addition to his 2 huge game-winning shootout goals.

After his fine performance, the Blues, in a rare moment of foresight, signed Roach to a contract and he'll help replace the offensive void left by the almost-certain departure of Al MacInnis.

I shouldn't be touting this bastard, but he's certainly earned the chance to be considered for the World Cup squad.

Why must only the NHL be considered the only source for quality hockey players? The other countries in the world get fine contributions from non-NHL players (The Czechs in Nagano...Dopita, Kucera, Ruzicka, Patera, Prochazka, etc), so why doesn't the talent-thin USA consider guys like Roach?

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