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
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:
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
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…