Oct 042007
 

The Dany Heatley signing by the Ottawa Senators yesterday had me asking that exact question. It is expected that the Senators are going to desperately try to sign Jason Spezza to a long term contract as well and it is probably safe to assume that he will earn somewhere between $7 and $7.5 million bringing the total for the Spezza-Heatley duo to close to $15 million. So the question is, if you spend that much on two forwards, can you build a good enough team to win the Stanley Cup? It is an interesting question that I think Ottawa GM Bryan Murray and other GMs around the league should seriously ponder.

A prime example for the no, it can’t be done side is the Tampa Bay Lightning who have spent ridiculous amounts on three forwards – Lecavalier, Richards and St. Louis. Those 3 guys eat up approximately $20 million in salary cap space and as good as those three are the Lightning haven’t been able to build enough of a team around them to be much more than a fringe playoff team in a weak division.

If/when Ottawa locks up Spezza long term they would have Spezza, Heatley and Fisher locked up long term at total salary of about $19 million and I am not sure that trio is any better than the Tampa trio. Can Ottawa accomplish something that the Lightning can’t by building a better team around those three over the long haul? Let’s investigate.

If Jason Spezza gets signed they will have nearly $41.5 million spent on the following 12 established players going into next season:

Forwards:
Spezza
Heatley
Alfredsson
Fisher
Neil
McAmmond

Defense:
Phillips
Volchenkov
Corvo
Schubert

Goaltending
Emery
Gerber

Even if the Senators spend to a $50 million budget that leaves just $8.5 million to fill out their roster with ~10 more players so they can spend an average of $850,000 per player. That means definitely say goodbye to Wade Redden or any other high calibre puck moving defenseman. So the question then becomes, can you win the cup with a defence that doesn’t consist of a high quality puck moving defenceman that kills penalties and can anchor the power play? The Ducks had Niedermayer and Pronger. The Devils had Niedermayer and Stevens/Rafalski. The Red Wings had Lidstrom and Murphy and Chelios. The Dallas Stars has Zubov. The Lightning had Kubina and Boyle. The NY Rangers in 1994 had Zubov and Leetch. So, I am not sure next years projected defence crew of Phillips, Volchenkov, Corvo, Schubert, Meszaros and Brian Lee would be good enough to win a Stanley Cup. Look what happened to Edmonton when they lost Pronger before last season. Let’s watch what happens to the Devils now that they have lost Rafalski. It will be interesting to watch.

Goaltending is another key aspect of every Cup winning team and for a team that wants to be a perennial cup contender, they need an established quality goaltender. Yes, the Senators have Emery signed for three seasons at $3.2 million per season, but I don’t think has yet proven himself to be an elite goalie and when he does, he will command far more than $3.2 million. So in the short term (for the next few years) they could be in good shape having a good goalie at a reasonable price, but beyond that, can they afford to keep him at $6 million when $15 million is being spent on two forwards? And if they do, what will it do to the secondary scoring among the rest of the forwards. Could they afford to keep a Vermette or Kelly around?

I guess the point I want to get with this post is not so much questioning whether the Senators are making a mistake should they choose to lock up Spezza along with Heatley long term at big bucks but rather to prompt a discussion of what is the correct way to build a long term cup contending team? Is it building around a couple of high priced forwards like the Lightning have done, the Rangers seemingly are doing, and the Senators may end up doing or is it going more the route of the Ducks where the team is built around a star goalie (Giguere), and a couple of top tier defensemen (Pronger and Niedermayer last year and Pronger and Schneider this year) and not spending more than $4 million on any one forward (Bertuzzi is the top paid Duck forward at $4 million, Selanne was the top last year at $3,750,000) but having a deep group of forwards with three lines that can score and play two-way hockey. We know what happened when the Ducks and Senators met last spring, but is that a usual outcome when these two differently built teams meet or just one of those things where the Ducks were just playing better at the time, got the momentum and ran with it?

It is my personal opinion that goaltending, a top tier defence and depth up front is the better route to go but what do you all think? Can the Rangers win without a top tier puck moving defenseman? What about San Jose? Can the Senators be perennial Cup contenders (not just a good team that makes the playoffs every year but a true top tier cup contender) with a core of Spezza, Heatley, Alfredsson, Fisher, Volchenkov, Phillips and Emery surrounded by a number of young players on cheap rookie contracts (like Eaves, Foligno, etc.) and aging veterans making under $1 million (like Donovan, Richardson, McAmmond, etc).?

And maybe a similar question would be this: If you had the choice, who would you rather build your team around, Heatley and Spezza or Luongo and Phaneuf (with the latter possibly being a tad cheaper)?

  33 Responses to “Can You Spend $15 Million on Two Forwards and Win?”

  1.  

    I think the big variable is the rate of cap increase. Those big contracts in Tampa were handed out at a time when the cap was lower, and consequently were an extreme example. The fact that Ottawa may be paying 3 guys next season what Tampa’s top 3 were making 2 years ago makes it an apples-to-oranges comparison.

    As another example, there was much written about how crazy the $6M+ offer to Pronger was right after the lockout. With salary (and cap) escalation, that offer looks like a steal now.

    I’m pretty sure in the latter years of the Spezza/Heatley deals, $7.5M won’t look at all out of line, and may in fact be real bargains. Unless Gary Bettman succeeds in weakening the NHL, revenues crater, and the cap gets cut in half, but I’m hoping he gets replaced before it gets to that.

  2.  

    The example of the Rangers with Jagr, Drury and Gomez is one that nobody ever seems to mention. Not sure why. I think they’re in a worse position than Tampa because they paid that $$ for worse talent.

    I think it goes without saying that long-term success is not going to be likely for anyone in the Cap Era (CE). Teams that win the Cup are likely going to have some high priced stars and 2 or 3 key young players who come into their own at the right time. Those teams will very shortly have to decide whether they want to stick with the high priced stars or go with their youngsters. Either way, they’re not going to be as good.

  3.  

    I’m pretty sure in the latter years of the Spezza/Heatley deals, $7.5M won’t look at all out of line, and may in fact be real bargains. Unless Gary Bettman succeeds in weakening the NHL, revenues crater, and the cap gets cut in half, but I’m hoping he gets replaced before it gets to that.

    It may but if Bettman gets his way and expansion takes place, that will dilute revenues and drop the salary cap. If the Canadain dollar stops rising, that too will slow the growth of the salary cap. The other variable is, if the cap goes to $65 million in 4 years, will it matter to the Senators? Can they spend to that level? If they can’t it makes matters worse because it will make the complementary players more expensive too.

    The example of the Rangers with Jagr, Drury and Gomez is one that nobody ever seems to mention. Not sure why. I think they’re in a worse position than Tampa because they paid that $$ for worse talent.

    I would agree. Once they have to renegotiate Jagr’s value contract after this season (because Washington is paying half) they will be in bad shape. But maybe they will be smart and pay Lundqvist and some defensemen instead of Jagr and Shanahan.

    I think it goes without saying that long-term success is not going to be likely for anyone in the Cap Era (CE).

    I think with the core the Sens have they could be a good team for a long time but they might always find themselves just a bit short like they were last year. Over the next few years they might fall a bit short to Pittsburgh while Pittsburgh has the big, cheap talent known as Malkin and Staal and others before they have to start letting players go. After that it might be another team.

    One wonders if the Florida Marlins might not be the route to success in the cap era. That is, win the championship, sell off your talent that now wants big bucks deals for big time prospects, wait until all the prospects grow up together but before they make the big bucks, add a few key veteren components and win the championship again. But even that might be difficult if young star players are getting $7 million offer sheets after a few years of service like Vanek in Buffalo. Maybe in the end everyone will be so mediocre that winning the cup is like winning a coin toss. That would be the most horrible thing for the NHL but that kind of parity seems to be what Bettman wants.

  4.  

    I think I’ve stated my case in other conversations in the past: I’m of the opinion that top level D will defeat a team that’s heavily loaded on one line but thin elsewhere up front.

    The Rangers are spending a lot on Jagr, Drury, and Gomez. But don’t forget they still have Shanahan, Hossa, Prucha, Imonen, Calahan and a number of either older or younger players who don’t quite eat up as much cap room as prime time players.

    The D is their biggest issue… and they lack a top end blue liner, which is why I don’t think they’ll win the cup.

    As far as Tampa’s issues go, they DID win the cup… so in a sense their issues aren’t as great as Ottawa’s. If Ottawa wins a cup, a lot of these questions are relatively moot. Unfortunately if they don’t they will be pricing themselves out of the running. If I’m building a team, I would say depth all around makes more sense than spending on a few big names. To be a top flight team, if you’re going to spend $20 million on 3 players, I’d make one of those a goalie, one of them a top D man, and one of them a top forward. (i.e. Lundqvist/Kipprusoff/Luongo/Turco/Giguere/Brodeur + Pronger/Lidstrom/Kaberle/Visnovsky/Chara/Redden + Heatley/Hossa/Kovalchuk/Ovechkin/Crosby/Jagr)

    To be honest I think the teams doing a best job of “building” a winner would be Nashville, Colorado, Buffalo, Detroit, and Anaheim. Ottawa is growing top heavy, Pittsburgh will be a flash in the pan once all it’s young stars move on… good luck keeping Gonchar/Whitney/Crosby/Staal/Malkin all in the fold in 5 years.

  5.  

    Tampa’s problem isn’t the $20 million they’re spending on great players that give them a great offense…it’s the other $25 million they’re spending on…? What, exactly? Dan Boyle and little else.

    The Sens are in the same boat, except that they’re squeezing Alfie, Emery, Volchenkov, Phillips and a few products of their good drafting into their payroll.

    Overall though, spending the big money on D and goaltending is a better idea…they play 30 minutes a game / 65 games a season while forwards play 20 minutes.

  6.  

    The problem is, how much can you buy with $25 million? If you need 18 more players at $500,000 minimum each, that eats up $9 of the $25 million so you really only have ~16 million to spend on ‘better than scrap heap’ players.

    Need a top defesneman? That’ll bee $6 million. Need a top goalie? That’ll be another $6 million. Now you have about $4 million to fill out your roster and that isn’t much.

    Can you win with 3 star forwards, a very good defenseman and a very good goalie and mostly youngsters on entry level contracts or aging veterens after after that. Possible if the mix is right but real tough and you better hope one of those 5 players doesn’t get injured.

  7.  

    I think you are off on a few of your comments.

    First, Emery has to be the most insulted goalie in the league. Nobody respects the guy, despite an impressive junior, AHL and NHL record. Nobody cares that Emery was what turned Ottawa’s ship around last year, and that was with an injured catching hand (resulting in a few crappy glove rebounds). But no, he is “average” at best, an analysis I would definitely refute.

    Second, while Ottawa would be spending alot on their 2 top forwards, they are also spending a considerable amount on their defense. Your claim that you need a single puck moving defenseman that kills penalties is a little bizarre as well. Of the four listed defenseman, 3 of them are superb penalty killers, 2 of them have awesome shots for the PP (and Ottawa has forwards who can play the PP point as well). So while they don’t have the “puck mover” + “PK” in one player, they do have it through the defense. Mezaros and Brian Lee should round out the defense nicely. IN fact, even without Wade Redden, Ottawa’s defense core would be near if not still the best in the Eastern Conference. The overall cost of the defense next season should be in the $13 mil range (or 25% or so of payroll).

    Third, it is highly unlikely that Gerber will still be on the team next season (due to the cap constraints). Replacing him with a cheap backup saves around $3 mil, which will be invaluable for adding to that core.

  8.  

    Last I checked, Ottawa made a very attractive pitch for Luongo but was rebuffed by Mike Keenan, who instead opted for one of the worst deals in NHL history.

    And I don’t think Phaneuf is available at the moment.

    Hypotheticals are great, but you have to operate within a reality whereby franchise goalies and future stud defencemen are not freely available, and any formula for Stanley Cup success might be impeded upon by, oh, I don’t know, the other 29 teams in the league.

  9.  

    Tampa’s problem isn’t that their big three are all forwards, it’s that Richards has yet to play anywhere near his $7.8 million salary. If they got the kind if production out of him that they get from St Louis and Lecavalier they would be an entirely different story.

    Of course, they’d still obviously be better off with an all-star goalie than a third superstar forward. And obviously they’d still need luck to keep all three healthy.

  10.  

    Obviously anyone would rather build around Luongo and Phaneuf, but the problem is that those players just aren’t available. Brian Burke lucked out that Pronger’s wife and Niedermayer’s brother were such an attractive sell for Anaheim. In the next 20 years, no team will acquire 2 such defensemen in their prime in consecutive years.

    The issue is this: What is the alternative to keeping Jason Spezza? With the explosion of the free agent market the last two off-seasons, teams are locking up their players early because if they hit the open market, their price blows up. Rumor was that Regier had Briere for a $5 million a year extension and declined it – oops.

    Anaheim’s success is not something to be emulated. It’s not possible to do so. The real key is can Spezza be replaced internally? If not – they’ll have to find a free agent or make a trade. Free agents are always signed over-market either in years or dollars, and trades are rare. Furthermore, any of those dollars that might be spent on defensemen are going to be over-spent – you’re getting $1 of value for every $1.5 you pay out.

    I notice Carolina is absent from your example of puck moving defensemen winning Stanley Cups. They had Frantisek Kaberle and Bret Hedican. I recognize they were possibly the flukiest Cup winner of the last 20 years, but to omit their success is just dishonest. I think signing Spezza will be the right decision – because where’s the legitimate alternative?

    The Rangers are going for a Stanley Cup this year, but they haven’t completely sold themselves out for future seasons. The Gomez contract in particular is tradeable down the road when its cap number exceeds the $ being paid out on it. The Rangers have a tiny window – they’re going for it all. It makes sense to do so.

  11.  

    Well, as a Sabres fan, I’m glad this is hypothetical for Buffalo…

  12.  

    Anaheim spent nearly that amount on two D last year, and they won. So it’s not so much spending that much on two guys, as spending that much on the right two guys. Spezza and Heatley have a pretty special playing relationship (as opposed to Lecavlier and Richards, where one wins the scoring race and the other has a slump season). I think a lot of teams would kill to be in Ottawa’s position to shell out $15M for the two.

    Also, the Tampa comparison isn’t quite fair as Tampa has tending issues and, at least to start the year, Ottawa is looking like they have three at least solid goalies. You did address that you don’t think Emery is elite, and that’s fair. I don’t think he has to be elite, though. If what he is gets you to the Finals, that might be enough to get the whole thing.

    The Sens’ top line dominated throughout the playoffs, and then disappeared in the Finals. They were outplayed, but there was something happening inside the team, I think.

  13.  

    $ 7-7.5M for spezza. You are WRONG again david. First off, let me remind you of who I am. I told you last year, after you posted that the leafs’ defense wasn’t bad (and you had all these stats), well we ALL know what the story is now. The leafs defense is garbage. Other than kabs, the team sucks defensively. 51 shots against toskala, and you expect them to win??

    Now when it comes to the Senators, I strongly feel that Wade Redden and his $ 6.5M are not impressing AT ALL. I’d say take $5M or walk. NOW when your talking about Spezza, He has never played an 82 game season, and has never hit the 100pt mark. He has also never had 40 goals. Right now, he’s probably worth $6.5-7M. (7 tops, because of what Iginla, Thorton, and HEATLEY got). With Dany Heatley signed, Spezza will want to stay for sure, and also will take a lit pay cut like Heater.

    Dany Heatley wanted $ 8.5M. Sens were offering $7M- So he got $ 7.5M. Now Jason Spezza can’t ask for the same amount as heatley ($7.5M) but lets say he does. The sens will offer $ 6-6.25M. Therefore the deal will be around $6.5-$6.75- which is great for Spezza. (The singing bonus that Heatley got could also be given to Spezza, which will make him want to sign more because it’s straight up cash). It’ll still be the same hit.

    $7.5M+$6.5M= $14M-14.25M. $ 6.75+Redden- $5M (he will take a discount, considering he is not playing well at all). That equals MAX- $11.75M

    $ 11.75+ 35.789= $ 47.539. (after signing Spezza and Redden).

    *then take off $ 3.7M, because Gerber will probably be traded- thats $ 43.839. So, $ 50.3 M (assuming the cap stays the same) – $ 43.839 (salaries)= $ 6.461 to spend on- Kelly, vermette, eaves, donovan (1.5+2+1.2+1= MAX 5.7M.
    leaving less than a million ($761,000)
    +the cap will be going up, most probably, also, the eaves vermette r both rfa, which means their salaries will probably be a bit lower. epically vermette.

  14.  

    I’m going to start a band called Epically Vermette.

  15.  

    This years Leaf defense and last years Leaf defense are totally different animals. Any and all chemistry they seemed to posses last year has evapourated and it isn’t helped by the unwillingness of most of the Leaf forwards to backcheck. Last year the main problem with the Leaf back end was Raycroft and his 1.5 terrible goals a game average. This year it is the defensive end to be over run with opposing players not being challenged, being left alone in scoring possition and a lack of a physical edge.
    Apples to oranges.

  16.  

    Hmm
    well, I think your question is loaded.
    What your question should be is, over the next five years will 15 million for two players work.
    aaaaa the rub, it depends upon the salary cap.
    AND the cap WILL go up again next year, because
    the driving factor is the Canadian Dollar.
    so is 30 percent of your salary today worth it?
    maybe not, but 20 or 15 percent of the teams salary in 2 years may be just fine.

  17.  

    Spezza will get NO MORE than $ 7M. with Heatley’s contract, thats $ 14.5 Million invested in two all-star players. (Thats 28.8% of the current NHL salary-cap. Thus leaving 81.2% on the rest of the club). Not bad considering they are both in the top 5 (and it will likely stay that way if they are healthy) until the end of the season.

    However, if the salary cap drops to let’s say $ 45 M, then that can be a problem. You might lose some depth players. But their not screwed like Anaheim is. Check who is UFA, at the END of NEXT year.

    June (2009)

    UFA

    Bertuzzi, Todd McDonald, Andy Marchant, Todd
    Niedermayer, Rob
    Pahlsson, Samuel
    Moen, Travis
    May, Brad
    Parros, George

    Schneider, Mathieu
    Beauchemin, Francois
    O’Donnell, Sean
    Hnidy, Shane
    Huskins, Kent
    *Scott Neidermyer- if he returns

    *Anaheim only has 3 players under contract right now, for that year*
    Chris pronger, one of those 3, will be UFA the following year.

  18.  

    Spezza signs for 7 years at 7 million a pop! Redden and Kelly are next, And didnt they talk about Fosberg at any price? I would say, sign Vermette, kelly, get redden for 5 Million MAX and let go Emery! Every Shot against Emery i hold my breath because i am sure he wont stop it! Plus Gerber is 7-1 with a better GAA!

    Anyhow, With players like Fisher, Spezza, Heatly and the heart and soul ALFY, which is getting better every minute spent in game. How can you go Wrong? And i ain’t even talking about players like Volchenkov and Phillips who will most likely be one of the most wanted defencemen in the league.. Especially Volchenkov!

    So for what its worth, Sens have a pretty decent change at winning the cup in the years to come. And who knows, we might even end up with hidden ALL-star talents in our Draft recruits! Alfy ended up being one ;)

  19.  

    Majdar: Redden is gone…you should probably get used to that idea.

  20.  

    If Redden would accept 5mil then it would be possible to keep him. I think the Sens will be unloading both Gerber and Corvo before next year which would allow them to resign Redden at 5mil, Mezaros at 2mil, Vermette at 2.25, Kelly at 1.8, Eaves at 1mil, bring in one or both of the Russian prospects playing in Bingo.

    Don’t be suprised if Chris Neil is gone before the trade deadline as well, his act is wearing thin and he has a cap hit of 1.1mil.

  21.  

    Chris Neil’s act is wearing thin?? Very curious to know where you come up with something like that. He made a stupid mistake last game; he’s still very very important because it means they don’t HAVE to dress McGratton which means they have 4 effective lines instead of 3 lines and a 4 minute TOI line.

    Regardless, lets say they trade Corvo and Gerber for 550,000 players for nothing but draft picks. This is best case in your scenario since it gives them the MOST cap flexibility. I don’t think for a second they’ll be able to pull this off.

    OK, Corvo and Gerber are gone next year. Brian Elliott is the back up goalie. The Sens sign the 5 players you mentioned above for he amounts you stated. That’s $48 million in salaries with a maximum of $5 million in cap space, subtract the $2 million they’ll need for callups and potential deals, there is $3 million left to fill 7 positions. Elliott is $1 million, now we’re down to 2 million for 6 spots. Lee is a potential of 1.2 million, now we’re down to 800,000 for 5 spots….are you starting to get the picture? Redden would have to play for no more than 3.5 in order to stay in a Sens uniform AND your pollyannaish scenario would have to play out. It’s not going to happen.

  22.  

    Regarding Neil, comments have been made my management and he begun to forget his role is to crash and bang starting in last year’s playoffs.

    As for the cap.
    Removing Corvo and Gerber.
    7 Forwards – Just slightly under 25.8mil against the cap.
    Spezza, Heatley, Fisher, Alfredsson, McAmmond, Foligno, Neil
    4 Defencemen – Approx 7.5mil against the cap.
    Phillips, Volchenkov, Lee, Schubert
    2 Goalies – Approx 3.8mil against the cap.

    That totals approx 37.1 still needing 5 forwards and 2 defencemen.

    Redden 5mil, Mezaros 2mil – we are now at 44.1

    Vermette 2.3, Kelly 1.5, Eaves 1 – we are now at 48.9

    The other two spots can be eaten up by rookies such as Zubov, Nikulin, Hennessey or Veterans such like Robitaille and Donovan. 3 forwards at 2.1 total gets you at 51million.

    By the way the Senators traditionnaly do not carry more than 21 players on their roster and I think it is “polyannish” to think the the Cap will only rise to 53million.

  23.  

    Except that the goalies aren’t 3.8 if it’s the likely pairing of Emery and Elliott. It’s 4.1 and the 4 defenseman you have above aren’t 7.5, it’s 8. That’s 800,000 you haven’t accounted for. Then include that your original analysis had Kelly at 1.8 so that’s 1.1 you haven’t accounted for. Donovan is unlikely to take a pay cut from the 900,000 so, in your scenario, he’s out. Zubov and Nikulin are both signed for over 800,000 and Robitaille currently makes 700,000. Even if you had the numbers correct in the first place, you can’t get 2.1 million out of 3 of the 5 players you named to round out the roster.

    Then add in that you scenario assumes that you’re unloading Corvo and Gerber AND taking back no salary in return. How likely is that? AND you don’t have a 7th defenseman in the mix. That’s completely unfathomable.

    And, I realize that the Sens would LIKE to carry only 21 players on the roster, but count how many they’ve had on the roster for the past 3 weeks and that number is 22.

    Lastly, if you think the cap is going to go over 53 next year, I’d like to hear some rationale for that. A 3 million increase is more than it went up last year. What evidence do you have to suggest a 12% increase in league revenues (that’s what it would take to get an approximate 6% rise in the cap)? Certainly not the attendance in Atlanta, Phoenix and Nashville.

  24.  

    Oh yeah…about Neil. Neil was hardly the only player that didn’t show up against the Ducks. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Neil led the league in hits last year.

    There was a lot of criticism of the team by the media and management during the finals. Neil wasn’t singled out more than anyone else. I pay as much attention to the Ottawa media as anyone and may even hear info that others don’t have access to. I can almost guarantee you that if Neil was on the outs, I would know it.

    Lastly, salary isn’t the only reason Redden is gone. Oh, and don’t be at all surprised if Emery is the goalie who’s moved eventually.

  25.  

    You are including all possible bonuses when giving you’re numbers on entry level contracts. My numbers are using the base amounts. I don’t think a backup goalie will win the Calder trophy so let’s not use the numbers from nhlnumbers.com.

    As for the Cap the NHLPA has a range that they can select the cap from, this year it could have been 53million had they chosen. PAID attendance is pretty close to last year and ticket prices have increased and merchandise sales will be up with the new Reebok jerseys.

  26.  

    “Oh yeah…about Neil. Neil was hardly the only player that didn’t show up against the Ducks. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Neil led the league in hits last year.”
    I was referring to the entire playoffs and so far this year.

    “There was a lot of criticism of the team by the media and management during the finals. Neil wasn’t singled out more than anyone else. I pay as much attention to the Ottawa media as anyone and may even hear info that others don’t have access to. I can almost guarantee you that if Neil was on the outs, I would know it.”
    Don’t listen to the media, they aren’t as connected as they think. I didn’t say he was actively being shopped, I meant he has moved up the list of trade bait.

    “Lastly, salary isn’t the only reason Redden is gone. Oh, and don’t be at all surprised if Emery is the goalie who’s moved eventually.”
    Everyone knows of the issues of Emery, Redden and a couple of others as well. Do you know where Redden spent part of his summer taking care of his issue? Murray will use his problem as leverage, assuming that it remains under control this year, to try and low ball him. Just for the record I didn’t mean to imply Redden would be staying, just that it is possible.

  27.  

    As for the Cap the NHLPA has a range that they can select the cap from, this year it could have been 53million had they chosen. PAID attendance is pretty close to last year and ticket prices have increased and merchandise sales will be up with the new Reebok jerseys.

    This is actually not true as far as I understand. The NHL doesn’t have much say in what the cap gets set it. The cap gets set at a percentage of last years revenue and the players have the option of upping it by up to 5%. Based on revenues the cap was set to be $47.9 million but the players upped it by the allowed 5% to $50.3 million. At least, that is how I understood it.

  28.  

    You may be right, I though that they didn’t up it the full 5 per cent.

  29.  

    Robby, Yes, I’m using the bonus figures for salaries because that’s what the teams have to do. You cannot have a salary structure that does not account for possible bonuses, otherwise teams would just pay out bonuses for performance levels that are impossible NOT to attain.

  30.  

    As this is turning into a conversation just between me and Robby, I would offer my email address to take it off line if that meets with the owners approval. David, please let me know if that’s ok via your forum.

    Thanks

  31.  

    Does anyone have solid info on the increases in ticket prices across the league? I know attendance is down as compared to average attendance for the entire 2006/1007 season, but it’s still football season in the US, so that could change.

  32.  

    Robby, Yes, I’m using the bonus figures for salaries because that’s what the teams have to do. You cannot have a salary structure that does not account for possible bonuses, otherwise teams would just pay out bonuses for performance levels that are impossible NOT to attain.

    The thing with bonuses is that they don’t need to be allocated to the year in which they are earned. If they put you over the cap they can be bumped to the following season. Thus, if it is unlikely that a player will reach that bonus level it is perfectly acceptable to not include it. Plus, one of the reasons some teams might leave a $2 million buffer (i.e. don’t spend right to the cap) is to account for these bonuses. Unless you are talking about a real top prospect it probably isn’t worth considering the bonus amout.

    I don’t have a problem with you posting your e-mail address (just do so at your own risk) nor do I have a problem with you continuing your conversation here. Other people may find it interesting even if they aren’t participating.

  33.  

    I’m a hockey blogger and covered the Sens for ESPN before they kicked hockey to the curb, so my email address is already out there anyway. There’s discussion and then there’s rumour mongering and airing dirty laundry. Not to mention that it’s a little obnoxious to get into a “I have more inside info than you” war. It may well be interesting for others, but I don’t think it’s productive.

    Robby, if you want to continue this discussion, feel free to email me at alwillig@yah[email protected]

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