Jan 282008
 

It seems The Puck Stops Here and I are having a bit of a disagreement about the importance of drafting well in building a cup contending team. The most recent round was The Puck Stop’s Here argument against my claim that the draft isn’t the only way to build a top level team.

First off I think a significant difference in our opinions can be linked to how much credit we should give a team for drafting star players in the late rounds. The truth is Detroit hasn’t drafted very well at all in the first few rounds but have had a lot of success with late round pick. In particular Holmstrom was drafted 257th overall, Zetterberg 210th, and Datsyuk 171st. Now The Puck Stops Here would claim that those players are a result of good drafting. It is my claim that those players are a result of a good development system and a whole lot of luck. The truth is if ones scouting department had any kind of clue that those players would be half as good as they turned out to be they would have been drafted in the first or at the very latest in the second round. But they weren’t considered serious prospects at all at the time they were drafted so they got lucky.

The Puck Stops Here then tries to rebut a couple other examples of teams that I cite as not having a significant number of draft picks on their roster. One is Calgary.

In the comments of that post, David tried round two. Calgary is a pretty good team and only six players on their team were acquired via draft. Of those six, only Dion Phaneuf can be considered a star.

It is true that Calgary is pretty good, but they are not great. They currently sit in 11th place in the NHL and aside from 2004 have not won a single playoff series since 1989.

Calgary is 11th in the league if you just look at points but they have played fewer games than most teams. Calgary is 8 games above .500 (58 points in 50 games) and only Detroit and San Jose are more games above .500 in the western conference and the western conference is significantly better than the eastern conference. You could argue that Calgary is as good as any team in the league not named Red Wings.

The Puck Stops Here then goes on to say:

Calgary shows that you do not have to draft your young core to win, but you do need to acquire a young core somehow.

Hmmm, thanks for agreeing with me that the drafting isn’t necessary regarding the draft.

That said, I am not sure I completely agree about the young core statement. Detroit has consistently been one of the oldest teams in the league but are also one of the most successful teams in the league. They currently have only Filppula (23) and Hudler (24) on their roster under the age of 25. When they won in 2001-02 all of their top players were above age 30.

There is also a myth that in the new CBA you need a constant supply of cheap young talent. I disagree. I do believe you need a constant supply of cheap talent, but that talent does not need to be young and often a team is better served if it is not young. It is rare that young teams win a Stanley Cup and it is a very common occurence that young teams struggle to win in the playoffs. See the Ottawa Senators as a perfect example that has consistently lost to less talented older teams.

Speaking of the Senators they currently have Patrick Eaves on the roster making $942,000. Eaves has 4 goals and 10 points in 26 games this year and had 14 goals, 32 points in 73 games last year. Eaves at age 23 has shown himself to be a decent player who should have a decent career ahead of hims as a second/third/fourth line player. But in all honesty he is a dime a dozen player. There are a lot of Patrick Eaves out there right now. It is my belief that the Ottawa Senators would be better served having an older veteren player with Stanley Cup winning experience on their roster than a 23 year old Patrick Eaves. Patrick Eaves makes $942,000 this season. For about a million dollars there are a number of veteren players that would be better suited to help the Senators win a Stanley Cup. Trevor Linden and Jeremy Roenick makes less than Eaves and I would argue they have a far superior impact on their teams than Eaves does in Ottawa. Even a guy like Boyd Devereaux on the Leafs could likely provide the Senators with more than Eaves can. Sure Eaves probably has more offensive upside but do the Senators really need more offense? No, but Devereaux has Stanley Cup winning experience, can play any of the three forward positions, is a good forechecker, has more speed than Eaves, is good defensively and can kill penalties.

The point I am trying to make in all of this is it isn’t a good supply of young talent that wins you hockey games and Stanley Cups, it is a good supply of talent (at a reasonable salary) that wins Stanley Cups regardless of age or how it was acquired be it through the draft, a trade or free agency.

  14 Responses to “The Puck Stops Here Rebuttal”

  1.  

    David, I do not at all understand your argument here – you nitpick about Calgary’s place in the standings, when ignoring the overall fact – Calgary has not built a successful team. They managed to steal a Vezina-level goalie for a 2nd round pick, and aside from one season pre-lockout, have not won a playoff round.

    Patrick Eaves is a far more valuable player than Boyd Devereaux. At the trade deadline, he can be moved for players far more valuable than Devereaux, Roenick, or Linden. While teams do need some veteran leadership, the presence of young talent is simply necessary to build a winning team – very, very rarely does a free agent signing well outperform his salary level. But a young player very often will in his third year of his entry-level contract.

    Or did you not notice that the two Cup winners had All-Star level play out of Eric Staal and Ryan Getzlaf on the cheap?

    In 2001-02, Detroit had a very old team because the CBA rules were much different, and they lured Hull and Robitaille to sign for less than their price. They are not even worth considering here – a team cannot be built like the 2001-02 Red Wings anymore. A team cannot have a Shanahan, Hasek, Lidstrom, and Yzerman in their primes.

    You are so very clearly missing the forest through the trees here – you are nitpicking facts, setting arbitrary age limits, setting arbitrary limits on the level in the draft, etc. The Puck Stops Here’s point about acquiring a young core is that if you don’t draft it, you’ve got to trade for it. Calgary didn’t draft Jarome Iginla or Robyn Regehr, but they had top level talent left over from their Cup run in 1989 to deal for those players. They also dealt two young-ish players in Denis Gauthier and Oleg Saprykin for Daymond Langkow – neither player is in the NHL anymore.

    To win a Stanley Cup, you’ve got to have a good measure of luck along with team-building skill. But to say Boyd Devereaux is more valuable than Patrick Eaves is laughable. Yes, you need players like Boyd Devereaux to win, but they are easily replaceable. When you’ve got young players, you’ve got trading pieces, and you’ve got the ability to let a top-line player go in the off-season for other talent because you have depth.

    Here, just find me one UFA outperforming Corey Perry’s $684,000 salary this year.

  2.  

    Patrick Eaves is a far more valuable player than Boyd Devereaux. At the trade deadline, he can be moved for players far more valuable than Devereaux, Roenick, or Linden.

    I am not sure Eaves gets you much in return. Bochenski and a second round pick got the Senators Tyler Arnason. Is Eaves really worth that much more than Bochenski and a second round pick was worth a couple years ago? Not really. What is worth more is a first round pick. Ottawa could have gotten more in return for the first round pick the Senators used on Eaves in 2003 than they can get for Eaves now.

    They also dealt two young-ish players in Denis Gauthier and Oleg Saprykin for Daymond Langkow – neither player is in the NHL anymore.

    Yeah, they made a smart trade. I am all for making smart trades. Picking up Huselius for Montador and Johner was a smart trade too. Just as Anaheim’s trade for Pronger. Teams will far more often get more impact from smart trades than the draft. As good as Getzlaf and Perry were last year they don’t win the cup without Burke trading for Pronger or signing Niedermayer and Selanne. Those moves had a far more important impact on the team than Getzlaf or Perry.

    Here, just find me one UFA outperforming Corey Perry’s $684,000 salary this year.

    No doubt Perry is doing well and is an important component of the Anaheim team, but his value as a cheap young player ends this season. So Anaheim is going to get a grand total of one season where Perry is a key component of the teams offense and isn’t making big bucks. That is essentially one season where he provides more bang for the buck than a UFA. That isn’t a lot of draft value and in Perry you are talking about an extreme case. Most first round picks beyond the top 5 don’t turn out to be half the player Perry is.

    BTW, I have never said that good drafting isn’t a good idea. Doing anything better than your competitors is always a good thing. All I am saying is that the draft is just one small component of team building and not near as important or as valuable as many people believe and you can just as easily get the necessary talent to win through trades and free agent signings.

    I’ll take a GM that makes good trades and free agent signings over one that drafts well any day of the week.

  3.  

    Yeah, I agree, they should just get rid of the draft, all it is is restriction of trade. Let the teams who want these players sign them in free agency when they turn 17.

  4.  

    I have to agree with David here that drafting a young core doesn’t necessarily bring you any success. To name a few examples:

    1. Florida has never gone anywhere with “youth”. They eventually traded away a major component of their young core, Roberto Luongo in an attempt to gain experience in Todd Bertuzzi. Obviously that failed miraculously, but they still reached the same conclusion as most of the NHL and Luongo himself, the team wasn’t going to win any time soon with it’s “young core” in the state it was. As good as Nathan Horton, Stephen Weiss, Jay Bouwmeester, and Mike Van Ryn have been… they haven’t been winners.

    2. Columbus has basically been reinventing the wheel year in and year out around it’s core of Rick Nash, Nick Zherdev, David Vyborny, Rotislav Klesla and whichever young goalie they consider their top end. Over recent years they’ve traded for Sergei Fedorov, signed Adam Foote, Fredrik Modin, and Mike Peca, and FINALLY they’re in a winning spot. Having your young goalie suddenly lead the league in Shut Outs and Ken as a coach doesn’t hurt either.

    Basically the fact is, teams don’t become winners with a “youth” movement unless they manage to get draft picks that are overwhelmingly talented, like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane, or Jonathan Toews. Having lights out talent doesn’t do much for a team with zero experienced leadership.

    Ottawa didn’t make it to the top with youth. They technically still haven’t made it to the top. They’re successful, but their best players have been in the league for at least 6 years. Their captain has been in the league for 12 years. Their top D men have been in the league for 10 years. That isn’t a “youthful core” anymore… regardless of age.

    To win teams need a mix of talent and experience, and youth doesn’t have a lot to do with that. Getting some high draft picks always helps though.

    The ironic thing with all these mentions of Detroit is that people forget that from 1967 to 1983, they were actually WORSE than the Leafs. They forget that back when they were drafting players like Yzerman, they were bringing in players like Brad Park to support him. Adam Oates was on the team by 1987 when they made it to the Semi-Finals for the first time since 1967. They won their first division title in since 1965 in 1988. They acquired Fedorov in the draft in 1989 (at a time when players from the USSR were defectors and weren’t taken with high draft picks). They picked up Paul Coffey in 1993. By the time they were drafting Lidstrom, Konstantinov, and Kozlov, they were becoming league powerhouses. Yzerman had been playing for the team for 10 years at this point… lets not forget (and nobody was certain he’d ever win a cup).

    The Wings didn’t win their first cup of the post-expansion era until 1997. Yzerman had been playing in the league for 14 years. Fedorov had been around for 8 years. They had AGING veterans playing for them. The fact that they’ve carried it on for years is made easier by the fact that young players are consistently brought in to play alongside guys who have been winning for years. Zetterberg and Datsyuk were given a lot of time to develop in their HOME leagues in Russia and Sweden. They then had a few years to develop alongside players like Yzerman, Larionov, and Lidstrom. Now he’s in his 7th NHL season. He’s only had 80 points in the 2 years since the Lockout, and prior to that his season high in the NHL increased every year. He was given TIME TO DEVELOP. Zetterberg is now in his 5th NHL season, and was also given time to develop in his native league in Sweden. While they are young, they aren’t “rookies” by any means… and they had the luxury of playing roles on the team that weren’t front and centre for the first 3 or 4 years of their development.

    Using Detroit as an example of building with a youthful core is only applicable if you look at their rise with Yzerman… and back then they didn’t focus purely on Youth. You can’t analyze situations in the moment without looking at where the teams start from.

  5.  

    Both of you are ignoring the serious paradigm shift that comes with having a salary cap. The previous modes of evaluating teams are gone. You don’t have time to let your best players grow into UFA age – if Sidney Crosby is 14 years into his career before he gets a taste of Lord Stanley, the Fedorov to his Yzerman in Evgeni Malkin will likely be long gone. You’ve got to win Stanley Cups before your best guys go to the market – otherwise you end up like the Sabres. Granted, were the Sabres a different franchise, they could’ve retained one of their star players, but certainly not both and Vanek.

    Furthermore, the other paradigm shift is the lack of tight checking in the playoffs. It used to be that finesse scorers were useless in the playoffs – get guys like Cliff Ronning and watch your team fail. There was no space. Now there’s room, and power plays – this means young players are more valuable than they used to be because of their speed.

    Florida and Columbus have failed because they have had nothing to build around. Columbus has been consistently terrible at signing free agents, and was working from an expansion framework – that is not easy. Florida’s never had a clear game plan about what they want to do, plus of the young players you mention, none of them are superstar-level players.

    [i]I’ll take a GM that makes good trades and free agent signings over one that drafts well any day of the week.[/i]

    Trades are almost gone as a way of team-building. They are merely team-augmenting. Major pieces just don’t move during the regular season much anymore. And free agent signings don’t bring the kind of edge that drafting does. You are not going to find a free agent player who can possibly outperform his salary by as much as a young player can. And again you keep bringing up Pronger – I don’t see why, as that helps my point. You don’t get a Pronger unless you’ve got a Lupul and Smid to send away – and not every team has got a Lupul to send away, because you’ve got a Perry or a Getzlaf waiting to take his place.

    [i]I am not sure Eaves gets you much in return. Bochenski and a second round pick got the Senators Tyler Arnason. Is Eaves really worth that much more than Bochenski and a second round pick was worth a couple years ago? Not really. What is worth more is a first round pick. Ottawa could have gotten more in return for the first round pick the Senators used on Eaves in 2003 than they can get for Eaves now.[/i]

    Why do you do this? Bochenski was never a highly valued prospect. Furthermore, Tyler Arnason was (mistakenly) thought to have excellent potential with his pre-lockout 55 point season on a terrible Blackhawks team. He was a total washout with the Senators and they non-tendered him that off-season. They thought they might be picking up a 2nd line centerman for the future, and what they got was a lazy, undisciplined player who ended up being a healthy scratch in the playoffs. Basically the deal ended up as horribly as possible for the Senators, and you want to justify it by using our knowledge of Arnason now to prove Eaves’ value.

    Eaves’ value is certainly higher than Bochenski’s – though not much as he has not performed as well as his 05-06 season and is coming up on being arbitration-eligible.

    Regarding your point about 1st round picks, 1st round picks are now being traded instead of prospects because teams recognize the value of their own prospects – they’ve got to keep cheap players around so they can keep signing free agents. Their prospects are ‘knowns’, and if they think they’ve got an edge in the draft, maybe they pick up solid players in the 2nd round. Furthermore, the last 2 drafts have been thought to be weak drafts overall – I think we’ll see less 1st round picks tossed around this year.

    In summary, the lockout threw a lot of disinformation into the air. Anaheim signed Selanne and got a 40 goal scorer, New Jersey signed Mogilny and got a washed up right wing. The rules changed. The salary cap brought a totally new element to teams not used to operating under a budget. As time goes on, these franchises will learn. Bargains like Hasek and Selanne will become less and less common. It will be the draft where teams really make their mark – by acquiring solid young players, or acquiring pieces by which to acquire aging stars.

  6.  

    Both of you are ignoring the serious paradigm shift that comes with having a salary cap. The previous modes of evaluating teams are gone. You don’t have time to let your best players grow into UFA age – if Sidney Crosby is 14 years into his career before he gets a taste of Lord Stanley, the Fedorov to his Yzerman in Evgeni Malkin will likely be long gone. You’ve got to win Stanley Cups before your best guys go to the market – otherwise you end up like the Sabres. Granted, were the Sabres a different franchise, they could’ve retained one of their star players, but certainly not both and Vanek.

    The above is the common belief but I do not believe it to be true and I should really write a story on how the above is actually a myth. The truth is that elite level young players capable of being primary components of a Stanley Cup winning team under age 27 are likely to get expensive contracts after their entry level contract expires. Two years ago Jason Spezza got a $4.5 million deal shortly after his 23nd birthday and will be at $7 million by his 25th birthday. Pretty much the same story goes for Heatley. Vanek got more earlier as did Crosby and Ovechkin. This is completely different to the old CBA where young players wouldn’t get top dollar until their late 20′s or even into their 30′s when they became UFA’s. You simply cannot stock up on under 27 first line players like you could do under the old CBA.

    Under the old CBA Pittsburgh would be able to afford to keep Crosby, Malkin, Whitney, Staal, Fleury, etc. together as a team for as much as 7-8 years before having to dismantle it because they can’t afford them. Now I am not sure they will be able to do that beyond a few more years. They already have Crosby and Whitney locked up long term at a cap hit of $12.7 million per season. When Malkin becomes an RFA in a couple years the three of them will cost between $18 and $20 million. Is it possible to build a Stanley Cup winning team spending upwards of $20 million on three players without one of them being a top level goalie? I am not sure. It hasn’t worked well for Tampa. And in Pittsburgh’s case we are talking about players who are around 20 years of age.

    On the flip side you can also sign first line players as UFA’s as young as 25 years of age so in theory you can acquire top level talent in the prime of their careers through free agency. You could not do this under the old CBA.

    Because of the much lower UFA age and the lower RFA compensation younger players are making much more money now and that makes young players less beneficial than under the old CBA which in turn makes draft picks less valuable and thus the draft even less important now than under the old CBA.

  7.  

    David, are you even listening to what you write anymore? Or do you just want to prove your point so badly that you don’t even bother thinking about it?

    The truth is that elite level young players capable of being primary components of a Stanley Cup winning team under age 27 are likely to get expensive contracts after their entry level contract expires. Two years ago Jason Spezza got a $4.5 million deal shortly after his 23nd birthday and will be at $7 million by his 25th birthday. Pretty much the same story goes for Heatley. Vanek got more earlier as did Crosby and Ovechkin. This is completely different to the old CBA where young players wouldn’t get top dollar until their late 20’s or even into their 30’s when they became UFA’s. You simply cannot stock up on under 27 first line players like you could do under the old CBA.

    No, you can’t. They are STILL cheaper than UFA age first-line players, however, by a considerable amount. So you get one discount with their entry level play, then another with their arbitration age salary.

    What you’re saying is that ‘Drafting is overrated – you only get like 7 years of below-market value. Tsch.’ Just because the edge is less doesn’t mean it’s not there. Teams’ edges are much less pronounced now, and teams’ windows to win Stanley Cups are that much smaller.

    Drafting well is about equal to what it was worth before the draft. Signing UFAs pre-salary cap was a different matter altogether – the big market teams could eat their mistakes, the small market teams didn’t get involved, and the medium markets had choices to make. Now they’ve all got to get involved. So okay, free agency is clearly more important.

    But you can’t trade anymore. The kinds of deals we saw pre-lockout are gone. The last of them was the Joe Thornton deal. It’s all about salary, lengths of contracts, etc. now. You might see some deals like the Heatley-Hossa swap, but it’s going to be more difficult to straight-up swindle weaker clubs out of their talent. There is little incentive to make deals besides the normal trade-deadline skirmishes, and even I predict those will be much less pronounced this season as almost every team has a shot to make the playoffs.

    Tampa is a terrible example of anything – there’s several reasons why, but first and foremost is that THEY HAVE DRAFTED TERRIBLY. Instead of having young talent on their club eating up minutes and dollars, they’ve had to bring in overvalued free agents, or waiver-wire fodder. They’ve also evaluated a lot of these players poorly, which never helps, but I think once market anomalies like Hasek and Selanne retire, we will see a team paying 20 million to 3 players win the Stanley Cup a lot sooner than you think. It’s not possible to spread that much talent out – oh, unless of course, you draft well and can lock up players like Henrik Zetterberg or Zach Parise to super-low multi-year deals before they hit UFA.

    But that’s not the valuable part of the game anymore. Clearly it’s signing free agents.

  8.  

    No, you can’t. They are STILL cheaper than UFA age first-line players, however, by a considerable amount. So you get one discount with their entry level play, then another with their arbitration age salary.

    Maybe. We haven’t really seen the full effect of what Vanek’s, Crosby’s, Ovechkin’s, Penner’s and other RFA contracts will have on arbitration eligible players. But regardless, the gap that exists now between UFAs and players coming off entry level contracts is far less than the gap that existed pre-lockout for top level players coming off of their entry level contracts. The two highest paid players in the NHL next season will be 21 and 23 year olds.

    What you’re saying is that ‘Drafting is overrated – you only get like 7 years of below-market value.

    No, what I am saying is that you may only get 3 years significantly below market value if they are a really good prospect (and only a handful a draft are) and then maybe a few more years of moderate value. Again, is Vanek a below market value? Will Ovechkin or Crosby be a below market value? Is Penner a below market value? Is Getzlaf going to be a significant below market value? Is Mike Richards going to be a significant below market value? I don’t think so in all cases.

    As for Tampa, the primary reason for Tampa’s failures is their inability to acquire a goalie plus the fact that they over spent on Richards and are getting shafted because they can’t spend to the cap and can’t afford to fill out the roster. But as far as drafting, they have Lecavalier, Richards, Ranger, Tarnasky and Lundin on the roster who they drafted and are currently on the team. They may not have the numbers of some teams but they certainly have the production equivalent of many other teams.

  9.  

    Maybe. We haven’t really seen the full effect of what Vanek’s, Crosby’s, Ovechkin’s, Penner’s and other RFA contracts will have on arbitration eligible players.

    True, but teams and players alike are recognizing that arbitration is not the way to get things done.

    But regardless, the gap that exists now between UFAs and players coming off entry level contracts is far less than the gap that existed pre-lockout for top level players coming off of their entry level contracts.

    No one contended otherwise. I said, the edge is smaller, but it’s still an edge.

    The two highest paid players in the NHL next season will be 21 and 23 year olds.

    Those two also happen to be the most marketable players in the NHL and probably the two best. Had they hit the RFA market, both would’ve been offered maximum deals and teams might’ve been right to do so.

    No, what I am saying is that you may only get 3 years significantly below market value if they are a really good prospect (and only a handful a draft are) and then maybe a few more years of moderate value.

    Which is better than at value or overvalued. You are failing to realize that we are not dealing with absolutes here.

    Again, is Vanek a below market value? Of course not.

    Will Ovechkin or Crosby be a below market value? Is Penner a below market value?

    Crosby yes, Ovechkin probably not, Penner absolutely not. You are, naturally, picking the most anomalous cases. I don’t see Henrik Zetterberg or Zach Parise’s name in here at all.

    Is Getzlaf going to be a significant below market value? Is Mike Richards going to be a significant below market value?

    Yes and yes. Getzlaf is getting 5+ a season when he is worth 7+. Richards will be worth 8 by the time he was scheduled to reach UFA. Why not mention the DiPietro contract which also looks terrifically under-market for the starting Eastern Conference goalie this season?

    As for Tampa, the primary reason for Tampa’s failures is their inability to acquire a goalie plus the fact that they over spent on Richards and are getting shafted because they can’t spend to the cap and can’t afford to fill out the roster. But as far as drafting, they have Lecavalier, Richards, Ranger, Tarnasky and Lundin on the roster who they drafted and are currently on the team. They may not have the numbers of some teams but they certainly have the production equivalent of many other teams.

    Why say this? Lecavalier and Richards are locked up to huge contracts – it’s as though Richards went UFA (his contract is beyond stupid – probably the worst in the NHL at the moment) – and Tarnasky and Lundin are fringe NHL players. So you have Paul Ranger. Whee. The Lightning’s inability to surround Brad Richards with anyone worth a damn makes his contract even worse – he needs scorers around him for him to succeed, and the Lightning have been categorically unable to draft for several years. They’ve never drafted a goalie worth anything in the NHL.

    Tampa with a goalie would still be a bad team – just not as bad. They’re terrible because they can’t draft – they had one terrific draft in 1998 and nothing since. You can’t do that and still succeed in the NHL.

  10.  

    No one contended otherwise. I said, the edge is smaller, but it’s still an edge.

    I think the point I am trying to make here is to counter your claim that there is a paradigm shift with the salary cap. If draft picks are less valuable now than they were pre-lockout, how are things different to support your argument that drafting good is of significant importance.

    Yes and yes. Getzlaf is getting 5+ a season when he is worth 7+.

    Is he worth 7+? Vanek had significantly better numbers in his first two years in the NHL and he got around $7 million. Spezza and Heatley are far more proven and have far better numbers and they are only getting $7-7.5 million. I like Getzlaf but I don’t think he is going to be vastly underpaid next year.

    Richards will be worth 8 by the time he was scheduled to reach UFA.

    Maybe but you are basing it on half a season of very good play after 2 years of just OK play. Before this season his numbers were no better than Alex Steen’s. It wouldn’t suprise me if he ends up being no better than a consistent 70-75 point guy (like a Rod Brind’amour type player). There is a huge amount of risk in the contract the Flyers gave Richards and I don’t consider that contract a bargain by any means.

    The DiPietro contract is one that I always sory of liked. It was risky because DiPietro had only been ‘good’ in his play before the contract was signed but the potential benefits of having an elite level goalie (if he developed as expeted) for $4.5 million was huge. The risk/reward ratio was pretty good for the Islanders. I am not convinced it is the same for the Flyers and Richards as I am not sure Richards’ upside is as good.

  11.  

    I think the realization that will set in over the next few years is, paying more than 2 players over $5 million completely screws over the rest of your club. I think a team that’s paying 8 players $3 to 4 million each, with 1 scorer at $7 million, a goalie at $7 million and the rest making an average of $830,000 or so will be the way to shape a winner. The issue will be whether those guys making $830,000 are young draft picks or older vets. Either way, they can’t make much more. If your team already has it’s $7 million scorer, and it’s $7 million goalie/D man… then the kids had either best get in line, or prove their worth more.

    I don’t think we’ve seen the end of big trades at all, what I think we’ve seen is the 2 year period it takes teams to figure out what the heck they’re dealing with when it comes to the cap. Once teams start realizing they’ve made big mistakes, more big names will move… especially if the NHL sorts out some sort of “buy-out” trade deal where teams eat some of eachother’s salaries, because frankly some markets are going to get pretty damn sick of seeing players who got overpaid year after year. If buyouts start becoming the norm the NHL will have a whole new set of problems for the owners to deal with.

  12.  

    I think the point I am trying to make here is to counter your claim that there is a paradigm shift with the salary cap. If draft picks are less valuable now than they were pre-lockout, how are things different to support your argument that drafting good is of significant importance.

    I have claimed that drafting well is about of similar importance as it was pre-lockout. For example, Glen Sather drafted terribly for years but managed to parlay that into decent players by packaging his filth off to foolish GMs (e.g. Kelly and Bonsigniore for Hamrlik). Now those types of deals don’t happen. So let’s imagine pre-lockout that drafting was 50% of success, trading 40%, and free agency 10%. Now it’s flipped. Drafting’s still 50% of success, but now free agency is 40%, and trading 10%. The edges are also smaller – teams don’t have huge edges in the draft, free agency, or trading. General managers have gotten smarter, and with the salary cap, they have to pay attention to things like the future.

    Is he worth 7+? Vanek had significantly better numbers in his first two years in the NHL and he got around $7 million. Spezza and Heatley are far more proven and have far better numbers and they are only getting $7-7.5 million. I like Getzlaf but I don’t think he is going to be vastly underpaid next year.

    Vanek had significantly better numbers for several reasons – A: the Sabres are a much better offensive team and B: Vanek is the type of player who peaks early (think Ovechkin and Kovalchuk). Getzlaf is a more well-rounded player and figures to improve even more – no, he won’t be vastly underpaid next year, but in the final year of that contract he likely will be.

    Maybe but you are basing it on half a season of very good play after 2 years of just OK play. Before this season his numbers were no better than Alex Steen’s. It wouldn’t suprise me if he ends up being no better than a consistent 70-75 point guy (like a Rod Brind’amour type player). There is a huge amount of risk in the contract the Flyers gave Richards and I don’t consider that contract a bargain by any means.

    I am taking into account the inflation of salaries that has already occured, and the extremely high prices that the current UFA market sometimes produces. Richards is not ‘worth’ 8 but that’s what he would get paid. Thus, paying him this much is a bargain. It’s also somewhat ironic that you are not defending Richards when he will turn into the kind of ‘veteran’ you’ve been going on about – he will be captain of the Flyers for several years.

    I don’t think we’ve seen the end of big trades at all, what I think we’ve seen is the 2 year period it takes teams to figure out what the heck they’re dealing with when it comes to the cap. Once teams start realizing they’ve made big mistakes, more big names will move.

    Agree totally, especially with how these contracts are structured with money up front, but the trades will be dictated by salary size and length of contract first, then quality of players second. You might see a player like Jason Blake or Scott Gomez move eventually during their contract, but it won’t be for very much in return. It’s hard to swindle or be swindled in such a situation – basically what you are paying for is a slightly less valuable but slightly less salaried player than an equivalent UFA. And that’s really not that much.

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    actually the reason tampa has done so poorly is because they have pwnership problems. the team is being bought out and because of that management wants payroll to be low. so the lightning have an internal cap. thus, they cant afford to spend money on a goalie or wingers for brad richards. if they had 8 or 9 more million to spend, the could have landed a half decent goalie, as well as a second liner who is capable of tapping in empty net passes from richards.

    as for the draft, of course its more important than ever. even gm’s are saying it.

    and David, u said young players are still making big money. well u named ovechkin, crosby, and spezza, who btw are all superstars at young ages. vanek was a mistake by buffalo who could have had him signed for 2 or 3 million but they waited until someone offered him 7. penner the same.

    what about young players like mike komisarek and chris higgins?? both very good yuong players, who signed for 3.4 million for 2 years. thats a very good deal. fact is many young players are getting signed to reasonable contracts. u still have your bonehead moves like the mike richards deal,i mean offering a 12 year contract to a player with 40 good games under his belt is quite ridiculous. but many good young players are signed for small amounts and still contribute more to the team than overpaid free agents. another example is bouwmeester and horton. very good deals for the panthers…. its too bad they made terrible decisions with player personnel and trades else they would have a very competitive team.

    and as for trades, there are fewer and fewer trades nowadays. the cap has changed everything. and with players like scott gomez getting 50 million for 7 years after a 50 point season, its looking very hard to get good value at the free agent table. even brieres deal is not looking good. sure theyre getting points, but the terms are ridiculous. so if trades are rare. and free agency is too expensive, that leaves the draft.

    moreover, if u draft well, u have the assets in place to trade for a chris pronger. without good drafting anaheim never acquires pronger.

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    also, how can u guys slam brad richards?? hes amazing! he has an awesome style. he QB;s the PP wonderfly. and he has superb hoceysense as well as overall skill. he is the complete package. a two way player, u can put him on the ice in any situation. he is a clutch performer, as he showed by winning the conn smythe. and he is a leader, he makes all tha players around him better.

    if u care to read whats going on in tampa, u would know that the coach and GM love richards the most, he is the most untouchable of the big 4 in TB.

    as well, richards has no linemates whatsoever, hes playing with 4th liners and is still putting up decent #’a, and throw in the fact hes been playing hockey for 2 months with mono, which doctors claimed was unheard of, and because of that has been playing with an inflammed spleen.

    i would LOVE for richards to be on my team. even at that salary hes more worth it than a gomez or briere, simply b/c he can play 25+ minutes in any game situtation and is a leader and warrior.

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