Archive for the ‘Free Agency’ Category

"I'll just wait here until someone figures out I can still play."

“I’ll just wait here until someone figures out I can still play.”

Every summer it seems like there are a handful of guys who slip through the cracks of GMs’ attention spans for what seems like way too long, and certainly this offseason has been no exception. While teams scrambled to give too-old or too-mediocre players too much money, others seemed, for relatively few reasons, to sit on the market for far too long.

The interesting thing, though, is that some of these guys are still on the market as a result what seems to be a fit of good sense by general managers league-wide, which as you likely know all too well, is rather a rare thing. Jaromir Jagr, for instance, remains unsigned and now appears to be preparing himself mentally for the possibility that he won’t be coming back to the NHL next year, if ever.

Could it be that general managers now officially see Jagr as being too old? Not worth giving $4 million for a year or something like that? Seems like it would be impossible, doesn’t it? He still put up 35 points in 45 games last season, which is nothing to sneeze at, and his underlying numbers all seem to show that he was pretty effective at driving play, even if he rarely did so in a way that was aesthetically appealing. The only thing I can think of, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense, is that his zero goals in the Bruins’ playoff run is what’s keeping interest limited. I can’t imagine that any GMs are that cautious of the fact that he’s now 41 years old, given that they were not shy about giving him slightly more money at 40 and his points-per-game actually went up despite having arguably worse teammates in Dallas and Boston than he had in Philadelphia.

Mikhail Grabovski and Damien Brunner, meanwhile, seem like the more obvious guys for whom teams should — and, you’d think, would — be lined up around the block. Read the rest of this entry »

New York Islanders v Ottawa Senators

One of the more important life lessons I learned in college, besides the value of a clean shower when living in a house with nine other dudes, was to never conduct your grocery shopping on an empty stomach after getting money from your parents. You will spend wildly on a lot of things you don’t need, like banana nut cake and Waffle Crisp cereal, then regret it three hours after you get home.

When it comes to the NHL free-agency period, it’s pretty obvious which teams learned that lesson and which teams bought 11 boxes of Twinkies because they were starving and those sugary calories were too good to ignore.

The most important part of being a team with an abundance of salary-cap space is having a realistic view of the quality of your team and the players you would potentially sign. That’s even more true during the 2013 offseason, in which the free-agent pool is as shallow as the inflatable tub you purchased at Target for your backyard barbecue this weekend. Teams with money to spend are in a dangerous position, as GMs’ decisions in the coming days can wreak havoc on their clubs for years to come.

Sometimes GMs are at the end of their rope and have to spend wildly on free agents in an effort to save their jobs. Sometimes GMs are in hockey-mad markets and feel the pressure to make a move in order to satiate people who have no understanding of cap management or advanced statistics. Sometimes GMs flat-out don’t know what they’re doing. Sometimes GMs have so many holes in their roster that they have to overpay for a third-line left wing and second-pairing defenseman.

But sometimes, you get Bryan Murray and the Ottawa Senators in 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

The Habs got their guy but did so in the stupidest way possible.

Last night PK Subban signed a new contract with Montreal that will pay him $2 million pro-rated this season and $3.75 million next season. Two years, $2.875 against the cap.

In the immediate aftermath of the team announcing the deal, everyone came out in full support of Marc Bergevin, who had to make his first tough decision as Habs GM in not bending to Subban’s demands for a five-year deal. “He stuck to his guns,” they said with approving nods. Indeed, he didn’t want to look “weak” after saying he wanted a two-year deal and nothing besides, and thus this is what he got. For all the sitting out, Subban only pulled an additional $250,000 from the two years, $5.5 million he rejected in August. Chump change for of one of the richest organizations in hockey.

As many have pointed out, the money Subban got was Mike Del Zotto money, and there can’t be too many people in hockey who think Mike Del Zotto is as good a defenseman as PK Subban. So in that regard, yes, Bergevin “won” by “sticking to his guns” with this deal. Subban lost because he didn’t cash in at anywhere near the amount he wanted.

But if we look a little farther up the road, this is a not-very-bright move by a guy who’s only just now trying to prove himself in his new job. But in reality, the new Subban contract is only a win if you think the NHL stops existing after next season.

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Who among you out there gets a rush from the free agent frenzy?

I certainly do.

You may be compelled to go about your life as per usual onwards from July 1, but there is something gripping about the time of year which has the power to singlehandedly reshuffle the balance of power in the NHL. You’ll have sports radio on wherever you go, hoping to catch that news alert. You’ll frantically refresh theScore’s Free Agency live tracker (corporate shill alert) on your phone (it’s mobile friendly!) to see who is looking for a new home. And as we forge into this brave new world, it’s becoming increasingly likely that free agency, as the frenzy we know it to be, will never come back.
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"Game's over, losers. I have all the money."

UPDATE: Predators’ GM David Poile has released a statement regarding the whole situation -

We are in receipt of the offer sheet signed between the Philadelphia Flyers and Shea Weber. Under the rules pertaining to an offer sheet, the Predators have one week to decide whether to match or accept the compensation. We have stated previously that, should a team enter into an offer sheet with Shea, our intention would be to match and retain Shea. Our ownership has provided us with the necessary resources to build a Stanley Cup-winning team. Due to the complexity of the offer sheet, we will take the appropriate time to review and evaluate it and all of its ramifications in order to make the best decision for the Predators in both the short and long-term.

We do not anticipate any further comments on this situation until we make our decision within the next seven days.

So, there you go. The Preds have every intention of matching the offer. That being said, I find the wording of this very interesting as it offers no actual commitment on matching the offer sheet, just saying that it was once their intention. Did that intention change once all the money was thrown at Weber? I guess we’ll just have to play the waiting game.


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David Perron goes nowhere

We have a moderately impactful singing! The St. Louis Blues have re-signed restricted free agent David Perron to a 4-year, $15.25 million deal. This is not really major news but I love David Perron so I decided to write about it and I have the microphone and you don’t. Did I just make a Wedding Singer reference? You’re goddamn right I did. My references are both hilarious and topical.

Perron had an odd career year last year, putting up 42 in an injury-shortened 57 game season. While not the most exciting of years, I really enjoyed watching him play and was a player that made me really dislike the fact that Brian Burke doesn’t believe in offer sheets. Good on Perron and good on the Blues. It’s signings like these that are the reason the Blues have become really good. Also that whole goaltending thing. But mostly the signings (kind of).

Thank the lord it didn’t happen. It just wouldn’t have been right.

It’s never fun to see a player that’s synonymous with a single team leave at the very end of his career for one more kick-at-the-can in another. It just never looks right.

Today Martin Brodeur signed a two-year, nine million dollar contract with the New Jersey Devils, which means his entire career will have been spent as a member of one organization – admirable, awesome. He’s won three Stanley Cups there, and has amassed the greatest stats of any goaltender in NHL history. You can debate who’s the best of all-time, but statistically, it’s this big Devil.

His agent Pat Brisson had this to say about his signing today (from USA Today’s live blog):

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