Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sittin' at the end of the bar...

What a week....didja miss me? Seems this week's common theme (as it is much of the time in pro sports these days) is money...

Want to get rich? Forget Powerball, be a Sabre. This summer, four Sabres signed contracts for a combined 26 years and $161.25 million. Daniel Briere, Thomas Vanek, Chris Drury, and Derek Roy . . . at those salaries, you’d think they were the Yankees' starting rotation.


Look up “futility” in the dictionary . . . no doubt you will see this picture:

Oilers’ GM Kevin Lowe has offered two players – the Sabres' Thomas Vanek and the Ducks' Dustin Penner -- offer sheets of a combined 12 years a $71.5 million. Neither will play a minute for the Oilers. The adjectives used by Ducks’ GM Brian Burke with respect to the behavior of Lowe – “gutless” (for Burke allegedly getting notice of the offer by fax from the player’s agent, not Lowe), “classless” (regarding the timing of the move, stepping on the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame ceremony, which included Burke’s induction) -- well, there won’t be any holiday greetings exchanged this December. And to think…it was Burke to whom Lowe turned to take the disgruntled-with-Edmonton Chris Pronger, not an inconsequential part of the Ducks Cup-winning squad. Well, guess we need a soap opera in these long, hot days of July.


Brooks Laich got a one-year, $725,000 deal via arbitration. Laich’s deal is interesting in juxtaposition with that given the departed Jiri Novotny ($750,000 cap hit in each of the next two years) by Columbus. If you look at their respective career statistics, they are virtually identical on a per-82 game basis:

Laich: 8-14-22, -7, 31 PIMS
Novotny: 8-14-22, -9, 28 PIMS

Laich is 50 days older, so that isn’t much of a difference, either. Novotny is (surprisingly, if you believe NHL stats) the bigger hitter – 72 to 56 – but that’s a subjective measure. Laich has the virtue of being more versatile and appears to be the better faceoff man. In this small comparison, Laich is a comparative bargain, even with the approximately 20 percent increase in salary, both in price and terms. And, it affords the player an opportunity for a bigger payday next year.


Milan Jurcina avoided arbitration by signing a two-year, $1,762,500 deal. Here is the defenseman neighborhood (plus or minus $25,000) he lives in with his $850,000 salary this year:

Chris Chelios
Jack Johnson
Lasse Kukkonen
Branislav Mezei
Christoph Schubert
Dennis Seidenberg
Brent Burns
Shane O’Brien

If you account for Chelios (a fossil veteran who is winding down his career) and Johnson (who is likely to see larger paydays down the road), Jurcina fits well in this neck of the salary woods. But it is who Jurcina left behind in Boston that serves as an interesting comparison. Compared to Andrew Ference ($1,235,000 salary this year) and Andrew Alberts ($1,100,000), Jurcina must be considered a bargain.

The thing is, though, with Laich and Jurcina looking like comparative bargains at the prices they will command this year, are the Caps going to assume additional payroll by trading lower priced assets for a higher priced veteran on defense?

The summer continues…


exwhaler said...

On Jurcina: There's another defenseman who has a extremely similar contract--Shaone Morrisonn. Last year, Morrisonn signed a 2-year deal for $900,000. That's not the only thing that's similar:

Morrisonn's NHL stats when he signed his 2-year deal: 124 games, 2 goals, 20 assists, +17, 101 PIMs

Jurcina's stats: 121 games, 10 goals, 13 assists, +23, 98 PIMs

knicksgrl0917 said...

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FS said...

would you care to reprise your prediction that Penner will not play a minute for the Oilers?

The Peerless said...

Ah, but peerless only sounds like perfect... ;)