Thursday, August 04, 2005

 

The Silliness Continues

"We didn't need a new CBA, we just needed new owners" is a phrase you are going to hear a LOT as the free agent madness continues.

What kind of magic spell does Martin Lapointe have over NHL GMs? Whoever his agent is, I want to hire him if I ever magically become NHL-calibre talent.

The Chicago Blackhawks have signed unrestricted free agent winger Martin Lapointe.

Lapointe, 31, agreed to a 3-year deal worth $7.2 million
Martin Lapointe is 'worth' $2.4mil a season? Huh?

The same Lapointe that was grossly overpaid by Boston?

2003-04 78GP 15-10-25
2002-03 59GP 8-10-18
2001-02 68GP 17-23-40

You are telling me that a winger who now scores about 1 point every 3 games is getting paid $2.4mil a year? Wow, just when the Hawks were doing good things in signing Adrian Aucoin to a reasonable deal, they go and flush down a wad of money for an unproductive winger.

Boston, his old haunt, has been suddenly spend-happy after years of crying poor. How can you justify spending $8.4mil/4 years for Dave Scatchard, a slow-skating centerman who had a whopping 25 points in 61 games in 2003-04? They also gave Glen Murray over $4mil a year (Unless they bring back Thornton, they'll discover how foolish this is).

Edmonton is tossing around cash like never before... $10+mil for just 2 players???

It looks like the new CBA has eliminated the fear of spending money. We always knew these markets had money to spend (Yes, Edmonton, your team isn't that poorly off), but they never did. Why?

My best guess is that these clubs could spend money, but were always afraid that the clubs like Philly and NYR could outspend them, no matter what they did. Why spend lots of money just to be outspent by the other clubs? Salaries would climb and you'd be in a no-win situation.

Now, since all clubs have a ceiling, the Oilers and Hawks and Bruins aren't afraid to finally open up the vaults. It's like giving a fat kid $2,000 and letting him run wild in a candy store. These clubs just can't control themselves now that they have finally allowed themselves to spend some money.

If they start crying about the new system not working, NHL fans need to stand up en masse and say "It's not the system, it's you, STUPID!", and then pitch in for 30 copies of "Business for Dummies" for each NHL club.

If your team isn't tossing around money like a drunk on Welfare Wednesday, don't throw a hissy fit (That would be you, Toronto), just be thankful that your GM may realize that some of the GMs are putting the hurt locker on their teams right now. Next year's UFA market will be even more flooded, and those with lots of cap room will be able to take advantage. When the market opens up next year, the Hawks, Oilers, Flyers, and Bruins will have to sit on the sidelines while other teams scoop up high calibre players for possibly lower prices. A 'wait-and-see' approach combined with some 'good' spending will result in future success.

Smart management always works in EVERY system. The new CBA has shown us, quite quicky, who some of the good and some of the bad managers are.

Comments:
Murray at $4 million isn't insane. He's good for 35+ goals and could hit 50. He's not old and he's not injury prone. Scatchard hurts but at least Leetch only got a one-year deal. If the Bruins re-sign all of their restricted free agents they're more or less back to where they were last year, or a step r to behind, with a higher payroll. O'Connell better have something up his sleeve.
 
Very insightful comments, Jes.

I'm a Leafs fan, and it doesn't bother me a bit that the Leafs are sitting back. For some odd reason, I trust John Ferguson Jr. because I sense we're thinking the same way.

O'Neill at $1.5-million per season was a great move. I wouldn't be surprised if one/both or Lindros and Allison also signs for a relatively low amount. If not, so be it.

Roberts and Nieuwendyk gone? See ya later! They were too old and slow 18 months ago. That core didn't work then. I don't see why it'll win a cup now.

Next year, my team is rid of Belfour's contract, and with that 6-million (plus any remaining cap space) they can get a younger UFA goalie (Theodore? Thibault?), and plug more holes. Or, take a run at Thornton, Lecavalier, etc.

Sure, this year will be a small step back, but I don't think Toronto is as screwed as everyone thinks. A low-seed playoff team I expect, maybe 90 points? If all the RFA's sign up for their qualifying offers, the Leafs are at roughly $30-million with six roster spots to fill. That doesn't sound too dire. Sure, one of the kids needs to make the jump and the entire team hinges on Belfour's creaky back, but I'm not jumping off a bridge just yet.

Philly will regret signing those D-men. They'd better actually win it this year, because Hatcher is going to look ugly real fast.

BTW I think your Blues made a great move in the Pronger deal.
 
Well said Jes. As a Canes fan, I'm all too familiar with the bitching and moaning about the GM not doing anything to go after big name players. I'll just repeat here what I said at the Canes' official board...

"This ranting about Jim Rutherford not going after big players is getting a bit tiresome. What are Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore? Chopped liver? I consider them pretty darn good pickups, especially since they come from the last Stanley Cup Champion team AND Finalist team.

Y'know, sometimes the best players don't have to necessarily be big names...sleeper players are just as good, if not better than a lot of big names. And, you *really* don't need further proof of that than the 2001-02 Carolina Hurricanes and their Stanley Cup run."


And I have to also say this, I don't know who I find more interesting in their claiming that they are poor, but yet are spending a ton of moolah on free agents: Chicago or Pittsburgh. The only difference between the two being the latter is one of my most favorite teams besides the Canes. I guess the Pens were claiming they're poor for the sake of getting a new arena, but they sure are not acting poor right now.
 
At first I wanted the Rangers to get a big name. But now I don't. This market is crazy right now. It's going to have to settle down eventually.
 
The funny part about Martin Lapointe's contract is some will point to it as an example of the new financially responsible NHL, because he made nearly $5 million the time we had hockey.

Much like Holik and his $4.5 mil from Atlanta, it's not as bad as his previous contract, but he's still vastly overpaid.

Seems like some of these GMs dont understand they're operating in a new world with a whole new set of rules.
 
While the Lapointe contract is probably a bit high. I don't think it is grossly so. He was coveted by a number of teams, and not so much for his scoring prowress. He brings a lot to the table. Great speed, tougness, terrific defense, the ability to crash corners and dig out the puck, good passing and ice presence, and the ability to throw leather if necessary. He was really missed in Detroit after he left.
 
Another 'Canes fan in the house!!

I completely agree with you about Lapointe, but I took some flack on my blog for saying so. I'm glad there's another sane person out there.

Good job with the blog.
 
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