Saturday, July 01, 2006
Canada Day: Free Agent Insanity!!
Oh, I guess not, judging by the crazy deals we’ve seen signed in the past 72 hours.
What wasn’t expected is the Canucks giving big bucks to Willie Mitchell, who signed a 4-year/$14mil deal to help replace Jovocop. I like Mitchell, I really do. He’s huge and can clear the crease well. The problem is that he’s a guy who puts up very little offense (10-15 points a year) and not far above average overall. $3.5mil a year for a guy like Mitchell is definitely overpaying for the performance they are likely to get. He’s only 29, so the length is no big deal. Still, thumbs down.
Fernando Pisani was a definite playoff hero, but like Dave Lowry, he’s a 3rd line forward now and for always. Would you pay a 3rd line winger $2.5mil a year for 4 years? No, but the Oilers will be. Since when do guys who score under 40 points a season deserve $2.5mil? Well, besides Mike Peca. The simple fact is that guys like Pisani are fairly easy to replace, and that’s why you don’t pay them big bucks.
Dwayne Roloson was also a hero for the Oilers, and we saw how deadly the Oilers could be when they got some NHL-level goaltending. Still, d00d’s 37 years old and just had his knee popped severely. Kevin Lowe decided to throw caution to the wind and signed Roloson for $11mil over 3 years. Yep, Roloson will be 40 when this contract is done, and is in very dangerous career territory. We’ve seen it before in Ed Belfour where an old goalie fighting injuries can very quickly turn into a poor goaltender.
Now, let’s see some insane money thrown around
I believe Jovo is the type of player who will age well (lean and quick), but d00ds missed 38, 26, and 15 games in the past three seasons respectively. He’s got special skills, but Special Ed got his nickname because of the mental mistakes he makes far too often. Jovocop is not the type of defenseman that you can count on to anchor your defense corp. Mattias Ohlund was always the true #1 during his tenure here, and Robert Svehla was the #1 guy when he was in Florida.
The fact that he’s getting the same money was Wade Redden just isn’t right. I understand why Phoenix did what they did, but there’s far too much risk in this deal and I wouldn’t have done this deal myself.
First, they signed Zdeno Chara to a $37.5mil/5 year deal, making him the 2nd highest paid defenseman behind Nicklas Lidstrom. He’s only 29, so the 5 year term isn’t as bad as it could be. If Chara is healthy, he can really be a huge anchor for the Bruins. I just wonder if he can do well on his own. Chara has great support in Ottawa and is notoriously needy on having a mobile partner to back him up. There is a marketing aspect to this deal, so I understand why they did it. This is a much better deal than giving $5mil a year to Martin Lapointe.
Second, they signed Marc Savard to a $20mil/4 year deal. I am quite surprised that they got a supposed ‘bargain’ on Savard, because I fully expected a guy getting 90 points to clean up in this market. I guess GMs noted how his point totals were pumped up by his linemates and the fact that Savard is very one-dimensional. I don’t think Savard will give the Bruins the kind of impact that they expect, but at least he’s only 28 so 4 years isn’t the killer. The price is, and they are likely to be very disappointed in this signing down the road. Savard is the type of player you don’t mind when you get him cheap, but not the type you want to be spending a huge chunk of salary on. I’d rather have any Sedinbot, and we got them far cheaper.
So, the Leafs are now paying the Top 4 of McCabe-Kaberle-Kubina-Gill a combined $17.1mil and Mats Sundin $7.6mil That leaves $19.3mil in cap room for 18+ other players.Yep, JFJ is one rockin’ GM eh? Maybe they ought to sign Sean Avery just to really screw things up.
This is a good deal for them, and he’ll make a decent replacement for Chara. No, he is no Chara, but he put up 40 points last year and played a significant role for the Kings. Corvo has pretty good size and I believe the Sens will be able to help him continue his defensive improvements.
So, what have we learned? Well, GMs aren’t afraid of albatross deals and long-term deals, despite being burnt in the past by them. We’ve also seen defensemen have been signed at a very large premium while forwards are generally being signed cheaper. Teams seem to be valuing good defense more than any other commodity at the moment. Good and average/adequate goaltending seems rather plentiful, so only a guy like Luongo was bound to cash in.
The CBA doesn't prevent teams overspending on individual players, and was never meant to. It just allows all GMs a more equal ability to do so.