Day of Reckoning For Free Agents?

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    Will the 'Hometown Discount' become the norm?

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    davetherave
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    Day of Reckoning For Free Agents?

    Post by davetherave on Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:16 am

    Even as the season is winding down and playoffs loom for some, the picture for free agents looking forward is getting cloudy and maybe even dark.

    The dire warnings of a reduction in the salary cap are echoed by the pronouncements of NHLPA Director Paul Kelly that some players may find themselves out of work as 'cap casualties' in the near future.

    No one knows for sure what will happen.

    Is the talk of salary cap cutting just a ploy by the owners? Is it their preamble to 'downsizing', so they can dump older players and replace them with younger, hungrier, cheaper ones?

    There are signs that the players themselves are jumping off the gravy train. Just as Filip Kuba overrode his agent's advice to test the market and re-signed with Otawa, other players are thinking the grass may not be greener.

    In Pittsburgh, Petr Sykora may be an example of what is to come.

    March 18, 2009
    Sykora wants to stay in Pittsburgh
    TheFourthPeriod.com


    Penguins right wing Petr Sykora is in the final year of his contract and his "wish is to stay" with the club, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

    Sykora, 32, will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and according to the paper the Penguins already started talking about a new contract with his agents.

    For the time being, however, contract discussions are likely to resume after the season so the team can focus on the playoffs.

    The Post-Gazette claims Sykora is looking for a long-term extension, beyond two-years.

    "For me ... that would be huge," Sykora told the paper. "You can't really say what's going to happen, but for me the important thing is to stay with the Penguins, have a chance to win the Stanley Cup and have the chance to play with (Evgeni Malkin) or (Sidney Crosby)."

    Penguins GM Ray Shero refuses to discuss contract negotiations publicly.

    "I'm not going to speculate on any contracts or non-contracts," Shero told the Post-Gazette. "To me, that's probably the best way to go. We're in a playoff fight here."

    Sykora is making $2.5 million this season and could see his salary climb around the $3 million range.

    ---

    Or will Mr Sykora end up inking a deal to stay as a part of the Pingu Posse for the same dollars, and just a one-year term despite his desires?

    With talk of Marian Gaborik re-thinking his position, Chris Neil climbing down from his demands, and Martin Havlat saying how much he wants to be in Chicago, there is a decidedly different tone in the air.

    The GMs know it. In Ottawa, Bryan Murray was, and is, very cagey about his intentions to sign his UFAs. In Montreal, Bob Gainey seems unperturbed by the fact that half his roster is about to walk. Lou Lamoriello and Ken Holland appear to be losing no sleep over their asset management, knowing full well they have replacements at the ready. Dean Lombardi and Brian Burke are rubbing their hands knowing they have, or will have, cash on hand.

    Overall, GMs may be ready to take the hard line this year when it comes time to talk turkey with players in the middle of the deck.

    Could we see a wave of players, then, eager to re-up with their current club, and a rash of so-called 'hometown discounts', soon to be renamed 'recession-era reductions'?

    As always, our esteemed forum members offer their own unique insights...
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    PTFlea
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    Re: Day of Reckoning For Free Agents?

    Post by PTFlea on Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:41 am

    For the first time in a long time, GMs and owners have the players at their mercy. And I can't really see it changing in the near future. If your contract is coming due soon, that sucks for you. Even if you're a Bouwmeester, it's going to affect the amount of $$ you get.

    15 years/lower cap hits will become the norm I would imagine.
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    Cronie
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    Re: Day of Reckoning For Free Agents?

    Post by Cronie on Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:51 am

    Exactly. I think anyone who's heading to free agency this year and the next will have to make some serious compromises on what their demands and asking price will be; as the alternative will be playing overseas or perhaps not lacing them up at all.
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    davetherave
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    Re: Day of Reckoning For Free Agents?

    Post by davetherave on Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:42 am

    IMHO all the UFAs currently making in the 2.5-5MM range are the most vulnerable.

    That means players looking to increase their salary from under 2MM to above that line will have to show they are worth the investment.

    With a few exceptions, of course...

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    Re: Day of Reckoning For Free Agents?

    Post by Guest on Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:59 am

    Another layer on this is the overspending teams have handcuffed themselves. Like the Rangers. Their roster is basically their roster unless someone does them a favour and takes one or two of those albatross contracts off the books.
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    Re: Day of Reckoning For Free Agents?

    Post by PTFlea on Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:07 pm

    MurderOnIce wrote:Another layer on this is the overspending teams have handcuffed themselves. Like the Rangers. Their roster is basically their roster unless someone does them a favour and takes one or two of those albatross contracts off the books.

    We were trying to figure out last night who could possibly take on Gomez's 7.3 million. Vancouver? Would they want him?

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    Re: Day of Reckoning For Free Agents?

    Post by Guest on Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:08 pm

    MurderOnIce wrote:Another layer on this is the overspending teams have handcuffed themselves. Like the Rangers. Their roster is basically their roster unless someone does them a favour and takes one or two of those albatross contracts off the books.
    The Rangers are fine. Their policy of no NTC/NMC contracts, plus the fact they print money, allow them to bury contracts in the minors. They are not hamstrung by the cap at all.

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    Re: Day of Reckoning For Free Agents?

    Post by Guest on Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:09 pm

    You may see some players asking for a No Minors Clause without the No Trade Clause as a concession in future negociations.

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    Re: Day of Reckoning For Free Agents?

    Post by Guest on Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:21 pm

    RobbyJ wrote:
    MurderOnIce wrote:Another layer on this is the overspending teams have handcuffed themselves. Like the Rangers. Their roster is basically their roster unless someone does them a favour and takes one or two of those albatross contracts off the books.
    The Rangers are fine. Their policy of no NTC/NMC contracts, plus the fact they print money, allow them to bury contracts in the minors. They are not hamstrung by the cap at all.

    Really? I am not sure they are. Perhaps they can bury one or two but the league will step in quickly to address this if they look to bury Redden etc... Effectively their actions would sabatoge the salary cap and every one of their league 'partners'. They artificially drive up the price and then bury their mistakes, I don't think so. But we can agree to disagree.

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    Re: Day of Reckoning For Free Agents?

    Post by Guest on Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:40 pm

    MurderOnIce wrote:
    RobbyJ wrote:
    MurderOnIce wrote:Another layer on this is the overspending teams have handcuffed themselves. Like the Rangers. Their roster is basically their roster unless someone does them a favour and takes one or two of those albatross contracts off the books.
    The Rangers are fine. Their policy of no NTC/NMC contracts, plus the fact they print money, allow them to bury contracts in the minors. They are not hamstrung by the cap at all.

    Really? I am not sure they are. Perhaps they can bury one or two but the league will step in quickly to address this if they look to bury Redden etc... Effectively their actions would sabatoge the salary cap and every one of their league 'partners'. They artificially drive up the price and then bury their mistakes, I don't think so. But we can agree to disagree.
    There is nothing the league can do about it. It is perfectly legal under the CBA provisions.
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    Re: Day of Reckoning For Free Agents?

    Post by PTFlea on Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:13 pm

    RobbyJ wrote:You may see some players asking for a No Minors Clause without the No Trade Clause as a concession in future negociations.

    It would be a No Movement Clause. Then you can't be waived to the minors.
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    Re: Day of Reckoning For Free Agents?

    Post by davetherave on Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:20 pm

    Interesting how we have a number of assumptions that the Rangers want to trade Gomez and Redden. The fans might want that, but Glen Sather might have other ideas...and the Rangers have quite a bit of flexibility next year as their roster includes a substantial number of RFAs and UFAs, several of which can be offloaded without any downside.

    http://nhlnumbers.com/overview.php?team=NYR&season=0809

    As regards who's 'handcuffed' and who's not, a look at this spreadsheet tells you exactly what's committed and when.

    http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=pFHFDcknPFlKYq57Adk5iWQ

    A few surprises here.

    Teams that have big contracts may simply decide to cut the fat in other areas.

    If the GMs' gambit is successful, players' agents may even be calling some teams to offer their clients' services below their previous market value...just to make sure those players have a job next year.

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