Its been an interesting week. I don’t think any of it was nearly as surprising as the hockey media made it out to be. The caterwauling about the amount of cash teams committed to players over the next ten years was predictable even though the money had to be spent. The players have to get 57% of the revenues.
Its ridiculous to suggest that the “foolish” deals are evidence that the NHL needs a new collective agreement. The players generate a great deal of revenue and whatever the system, they will be paid enormous sums of money.
I don’t think I will ever understand why we resent athletes for their fortunes while we don’t seem to care what movie stars make. The money doled out to the Wall Street clowns who shuffle paper for a living doesn’t seem to bother very many, even after the paper they shuffled all but destroyed the American and European economies.
I don’t get it.
1) Christian Erhoff is a good player and I’m sorry to see him go. I wish him luck, but I expect he will have problems living up to his contract. He has good speed and a great shot, but he was in a perfect situation for his skills in Vancouver. Erhoff did not make the Canuck power play work – the Sedins do – and his strengths were a perfect fit in the Vancouver system. He may play every bit as well in Buffalo without getting anywhere near the same results.
2) I wish we had seen the last of the dubious “tails” to contracts. Erhoff will probably end up getting paid more than $4 MM a year. Brad Richards is making $10 MM a season, not the $6.5 MM average value. Not only is it blatant cap manipulation, it has also had the unintended consequence of creating super long contracts and a perpetually thin free agent class.
The Canucks will have to make a trade to open the season with a $64 MM payroll. It isn’t that they don’t want to spend the money – its that there isn’t anything in the market worth buying. Now may the best time to unload Hodgson or Schneider and actually get someone in exchange because – for a change – they can swallow the salary a good player earns.
3) Even though they lost the Brad Richards sweepstakes, I think the Toronto Maple Leafs did very well in the past week. The Tim Connolly signing is a good gamble and the trade with Nashville is a real winner even if Lombardi never plays again. (Full disclosure: Lombardi is one of my favourite players. If he does recover, the Leafs – and Leaf fans – will be very happy with him.)
The trade also says something about hard it is to be David Poile. He can’t afford to have a player earning $3.5 MM out indefinitely. He was willing to give up Franson – a good young defenseman – to get rid of the contract. The Leafs can easily afford to take risks on less than healthy talent and Burke certainly isn’t shy about exploiting his team’s financial advantage.
(I find myself in the absurd position of almost, nearly hoping the Leafs do well. I’ve gotten locked into this position when I mocked the Leaf media for ridiculous criticisms of Brian Burke. If Burke does not do well, the ridiculous criticisms are validated even though they are no less ridiculous. I can’t help but hope that I will be proven right, which means…)
4) Heatley for Havlat? I don’t really see the point of the deal from either side. Both teams are getting rid of a player they regret acquiring.
5) I have not been kind to Dale Tallon over the years and nothing I’ve seen in Florida changes my mind about him. How far ahead does the guy think? Wasn’t he dumping salary at the trade deadline?
6) Note to Mike Gillis: Would you give Jannik Hansen a decent contract and dump the arbitration case? Please.