The big winners of 07’s Free Agency. So excited they actually began to look alike. To a horrifying degree.
Being that the NHL’s Free Agent Signing Period begins in three days (On Canada Day!!! How demeaning!!), I figured I’d use my limited knowledge to analyze the NHL’s Northeast Divisions’ cap situation*. It’ll be similar to a TSN special, but with a heightened self-awareness of inferiority.
Current Number of Dudes Under Contract for the 08-09 Season: 19
Current Cap Number: $46 Million
Most Expensive Dudes: Zdeno Chara @ 7.5 million, Mark Savard @ 5 million, Patrice Bergeron @ 4.75 million, Manny Fernandez @ 4.33 million, Glen Murray @ 4.15 million
Dudes’ Take of Current Cap Figure: 55.9%
Will Savard and Hossa be recreating the magic of 05 in Boston? It’s almost certainly possible.
Wild speculation has the Bruins buying out Murray and signing Marian Hossa, a move that would reunite the old Atlanta teammates (Marc Savard had a career year in 05-06) in a more conducive environment. If Hossa could help Savard get 97 points in Atlanta, I’d say 150 isn’t out of the question in Boston. Also, when the hell did this Manny Fernandez signing occur? Don’t they have like 4 competent goaltenders within the Boston organization (Toikkenen, Auld, Thomas, Rask)? Fuck buying Murray out, get rid of that Fernandez clown and promote Tuuka Rask. Leafs’ fans haven’t suffered enough.
Current number of Dudes under contract for the 08-09 season: 16
Current Cap Number: 39 million
Most expensive dudes: Thomas Vanek (wow Kevin Lowe’s wheelings and dealings are simultaneously alienating fans in two cities) @ 7.14 million (for the next 5 years too. Wow), Derek Roy @ 4 million, Jochan Hecht @ 3.525 million, Jaroslav Spacek @ 3.33 million, Maxim Afinogenev @ 3.33 million
Dudes’ Take: 54.7%
Who is this wonderfully coiffed young man? While it’s Thomas “7.14 million” Vanek, or the Christopher Columbus of Restricted Free Agency. Enjoy the next five years, Sabres’ fans!!
That Vanek deal is looking awful. He’s one of the Top 10 highest paid in the Eastern Conference and he racked up 64 points last year. In a full 82 game season. Plus he has a child out of wedlock!!! All this money has and gone to his head!!! Take him Edmonton!!! But seriously, was keeping him the right move? Too early to tell, but in Buffalo, Kevin Lowe voodoo dolls must be at a premium. Also, will Campbell return to Buffalo? They got some room to make something happen, but it may come down to him or Maxim, whose contract ends after this season. Personally, I’d go with BC. Highly compensated Europeans haven’t worked out too well in Buffalo (I’m using Vanek as precedent. It’s not too early too tell. He’s a colossal bust)
Current number of Dudes under contract for the 08-09 season: 17
Current Cap Number: 41 million
Most expensive dudes: Andrei Markov @ 5.75 million, Roman Hamrlik @ 5.5 million?, Alex Tanguay @ 5.25 million, Saku Koivu @ 4.75 million, Alexei Kovalev @ 4.5 million
Dudes’ Take: 62.8%
Will Scandinavia follow their victory of 08 with a similar result in 09? Haps’ fans keep your fingers crossed, since it may be the last chance for Scandinavian success in Montreal.
It’s got to be pretty sweet to have your highest paid players either be mediocre or above the age of 33. Nice long-term strategy, Mr. Gainey cuz your fucked after this year. The Canadiens only have 5 players signed beyond this season and they will have to deal with the Free Agenting of Higgins, Komisarek, Kovalev, Tanguay, Koivu, and Ryder after this season. Whose without a chair? Could Canadian teams’ supposed purging of their European captains spread to Quebec? Will Kovalev make the decision easier and retire to a life of exorbitant luxury in the Russian Superleague? Will there be any dough left for Price in the summer of 10? They better make things happen this year because the future of their team in its current form is non-existent.
Current number of dudes under contract for the 08-09 season: 14
Current Cap Number: 40 million
Most Expensive Dudes: Dany Heatley @ 7.5 million, Jason Spezza @ 7 million, Daniel Alfredsson @ 4.4 million, Mike Fisher @ 4.2 million, Martin Gerber @ 3.7 million
Dudes’ Take: 67%
Would Alfy be willing to accept fewer dollars to stay with his boys?
I really love the long term deals of Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley. They will look better the more time passes too. That being said, they have a number of questions confronthing them both this summer and next. Concerning this season, what defenceman will they choose to retain: Mezjaros or Redden? For next summer, they must decide whether or not Gerber is the goalie of the future or look elsewhere for help. And more importantly, they will have to decide whether or not to resign Alfredsson. His current contract is a fucking steal but I doubt he’d be willing to resign for anything less than 6 million/year, which is completely fair considering his career production. This is potentially crazy shit; all 4 of the European Captains within Canada could be on the way out in the next two years. Sundin and Naslund could both be gone this summer and Alfy and Koivu are Free Agents next summer for teams that are either financially committed to younger talent (Ottawa) or more likely to resign younger talent (Montreal with Higgins, Ryder, and Komisarek). This is all very ironic considering European leadership has peaked within the NHL with Nicklas Lidstrom’s captaining of the Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings. Though predicting the success of one team based upon the nationality of another’s captain is questionable, Detroit’s victory would allow teams to squash any uncertainties surrounding their captain’s ability to lead by pointing to the success of Lidstrom. Considering this new get out of jail free card with the increasingly xenophobic Canadian media, the timing of these player’s potential exits is very odd. Or it could be a coincidence. We’ll have to wait and see. Anyways, it’ll be interesting to see where these great players end up in the next couple years.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Current number of dudes under contract for the 08-09 season: 18
Current Cap Number: 40 million
Most Expensive Dudes: Bryan McCabe @ 5.75 million, Pavel Kubina @ 5 million, Tomas Kaberle @ 4.25 million, Jason Blake @ 4 million, Vesa Toskala @ 4 million
Dudes’ Take: 57.5%
Jason Blake: Not the worst contract on the Leafs, but certainly in the Top 3. The Leafs take pride in that skill, dominating the Northeast leaderboard with 3 of the worst 4 contracts in the division. It’s difficult to place, however, considering the parallel shittiness of McCabe and Vanek.
And finally onto the team most likely to be analyzed, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Their most highly compensated players are pretty comical considering that 4 of the top 5 payed are defensive players. Funny. Besides that, puzzling is the only way I can describe the contract of Jason Blake, or the the man most likely to be around in 2011-2012 (based solely on his contract. Only guy signed that long) Tucker is living the high life right now; guy could be living pretty doing shit for five years on the 1 mill/year the Leafs are paying him. Is the 2nd worst buyout in the Eastern Conference, behind the enviable situation of Mr. Alexei Yashin. Anyways, the big question revolves around Sundin’s future in Toronto. Is he coming back or not? I think he should go. Coming back would diminish his legacy. Leaving now would sollidify his position as a victim of the incompetency of JFJ and the rest of the idiotic Leafs’ management. Go to a contender, win a cup, and be celebrated like Kevin Garnett.