Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Is The loss Of Moreau An Oilers gain?

The biggest news today in Oilerland is that Ethan Moreau's shoulder is dislocated and requires surgery. Intially it appeared that a sound diagnosis on his status wouldn't be made until sometime this weekend but the speed of this decision tells us it's serious. No word yet on who'll get the call to be the 13th or 14th forward but chances are they won't make much of an impact. So to those who's nocturnal emissions owe themselves to a certain former member of the London Knights then I'd say keep buying new bed linens because the incumbants are the ones who'll take the minutes that were formerly Moreau's.

For Raffi Torres this means that his trip to the fourth line lasted about as long as Kevin James on a treadmill. It also means that his role with the Oilers has taken a drastic turn from the first game of the season. It looked like he'd reap the benefits of the soft mintues with Hemsky and Skyora but now he finds himself with Pisani and one of Stoll/Reasoner on a unit that will most likely see as many tough mintutes as the Smyth-Horcoff-Lupul troika.

On the other hand Patrick Thorsen is making a nice home for himself with Hemsky and Sykora but his cakewalk will be likely be interrupted by regular intervals on the PK. With Moreau in the lineup and assuming that a defenseman took a penalty you'd likely see pairs of 10/94, 18/34 and 16/19 killing penalties. I'd imagine the other five see an increase in their PK TOI and 28's broken in softly.

The first thing I thought of was how Moreau's longterm injury status throws more money back into the Oilers coffers and thus allows for the team to A: buy early on the "defenseman for a Cup run" market or B: wait until later on in the season but really swing for the fence and pick up a guy making some serious money. This won't be a real concern for the Oilers because they have cap room that will only be expanded by Moreau's injury. I'm not sure if there's a guy out there making say 4 million who could really help the push the Oilers D corps over the top but if there is then the savings on Moreau's contract means the Oilers could pick him up at Christmas and their finanical eyelashes need too batter too furiously.

Over the long haul I think the best plan would be to deal off one of Torres, Lupul or Pisani for a young D with a couple of years under his belt and who'll be effective and cheap for the next couple of years. It would seem like the Hawks have a couple of those and they have a need for forwards given that Handzus is gone for the season and Martin Havlat decided to get hurt early this season. Staios and Smyth are looking to get paid and salary will have to pared somewhere and the Oilers have enough young offensive potential whereas to afford to deal some of it away. Meanwhile on the backend it's just Tom Gilbert who's somewhat close and he's just entered his first year in the AHL.

But it might also be time for the Oilers to try and land a big fish being mindful that maybe Smyth walks after this season and though Roli looks great in his 37th season he is still 37 years old and time's running out for him and subsequently maybe the Oilers Cup hopes.

I'm not saying Moreau's easily replaceable, even though I think he's overpaid, but the Oilers look to be deep enough that his loss won't do more than just sting a little. But when it comes to defensemen the Oilers certainly need another capable guy and I believe there's much more benefit to using Moreau's saved salary in an increased financial effort to pick up a defenseman to replace Bergeron's mintues than than there's loss when it comes to replacing Moreau's minutes played.

Lowe struck early last year when he lifted Spacek out of Chicago and away from fellow playoff contenders and Moreau's absence means he has even more dollars in which to persue a similar move in the '07 season and it also means he can do it even earlier.

31 Comments:

Blogger speeds said...

AFAIK the Oilers will NOT get any cap credit, or relief, from Moreaus injury.

http://www.geocities.com/rmccleary97/cap_faq1.htm

Cap relief for an injured player only comes into effect if the team is at or near the cap, the Oilers aren't close enough to the cap and even if they were Moreau doesn't make much.

Also, they are still paying him real money, so nothing saved there.

10/24/2006 6:44 pm  
Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

That's strange - so if a team puts itself in a position where it is almost at the cap then they get a break? Why?

The other thing, Dennis, is that the Oilers get to see another young player or players get some icetime as do other teams. So if say Jacques comes in and does a good job then he may become an attractive chip or he can help the Oilers plan for next year, ie/ trade Torres.

Injuries are never good obviously but the Oilers have a lot of depth at forward and it will be good for them to get an idea of where guys are at - maybe MAP gets a shot as a part of the PK as well.

10/24/2006 6:58 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Vic, are you posting under Dennis' name? ;)

Cap relief through injuries is absouletly ridiculous.

Sigh.

Is the Oilers cap space now technically $45,000,000 though?

ie: They can add as much salary as they want, just once they get to $44,000,000 they could then put Moreau on LTIR?

The injury bites (both the severity and the fact it's one of our best 5 on 5 players), but what makes it worse is it's directly after the massive overpaying contract. Gotta imagine he doesn't get 8/4 years if he comes in with the same tactics this morning.

Oh well.

- PDO

10/24/2006 7:21 pm  
Anonymous momentai said...

PDO:

That's how I understand it. When people say that the Oilers have capspace now... it's true in a sense. We just have to reach the high end of the cap to benefit from the exemption caused by Moreau's injury. This will probably be late in the season anyways because Lowe's not going to want to pay a majority of a large contract anyway.

10/24/2006 8:42 pm  
Blogger namflashback said...

if i understand correctly, Moreau was still to complete this year under the terms of the existing deal and the big $$ extension wouldn't come into play until next season. I could be wrong, but that's how I thought it was.

10/24/2006 9:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are contracts generally/ever insured by the team?

10/24/2006 9:49 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

BK said:

Vic, are you posting under Dennis' name? ;)

Cap relief through injuries is absouletly ridiculous.

Sigh.


Enlighten us, O Wise One.

Dummy up, PDO. I doubt that you're really this stupid.

10/24/2006 10:44 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Dennis:

The bigger issue for the Oilers is budget space, and with Moreau's contract I doubt that it is insured (just a hunch mind). I mean you can find some fucker to underwrite anything, but at some point it becomes cost prohibitive. The insurers will use Lowetide-style comparables, and with a guy like Moreau (previous shoulder and ankle problems and an aggressive style of play)... I suspect that even the best quote is still a whack of change.

Also, any contract insurance costs that list The Team as the beneficiary are surely counted against the player payroll budget, and bear in mind that Lowe was a hockey player, and therefore a risk taker by nature ... so it just seems unlikely to me that Moreau's deal is insured against injury.

On the larger contracts I could see it. I mean there is a line in the sand where Lowe needs board approval to write a player contract(be it annual compensation, term, or come combination of both) this is beyond standard in any industry that I know of. Though of course it is dependent upon the terms of his own contract with EIG. So for a deal like Hemsky's as an example, it strikes me as extremly unlikely that Lowe would have had the signing authority to ink that deal without EIG approval. And the ownership may well have insisted on some sort of insurance to cover the risk of the lengthy term. Or maybe just the first part of it ... I mean I'm not inside their heads, and I don't know the values in play here, so it's all just guesswork. But it's a reasonable guess.

I'm thinking that this has a negative impact on Lowe's spending power ... because he's probably going to have to pay Chopper's ticket PLUS the guy who is brought in to flesh out the 23 man roster.

Will be a good chance for Torres to step up and play a simpler game though. And a chance for a guy like Winchester to get more minutes as the ripples work their way up from the bottom. (good take on Raffi's circumstance btw, it looked like it could be a gravy year for him a couple of weeks ago ... now he'll probably be asked to do some heavy lifting. Personally, I think that suits him better anyways, based on the playoff run).

10/24/2006 11:04 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Anonymous said...

Are contracts generally/ever insured by the team?


Ther are lots of references to insured contracts in press releases. I had always assumed that this was at the pleasure of the team that held the contract, though I think mudcrutch has said that the all teams were required to insure certain contracts (I doubt this would be a CBA requirement, perhaps a league bylaw? I dunno. Hopefully MC will jump in here)

10/24/2006 11:14 pm  
Anonymous dynastydays said...

As far as cap relief goes, its pretty simple as far as I comprehend. Once a player is declared eligible for LTIR, his remaining salary to be paid is added to the $45,000,000 cap total.

For example, if Mogilny was due to make $3,000,000 this season... then his LTIR for the Devils means they are able to spend $48,000,000 before penalties are levied.

According to NHLPA.com, Ethan is at $1.03 million this season. So once we subtract what hes been paid thus far, that amount is added to the upper limit for the Oilers.

Its a pretty substantial amount as I believe Dennis meant when you consider at the trade deadline, with 1/4 of the season left on someones salary enables us a $4,000,000 calibre player should they desire to exhaust the limit... or a $4M player plus whatever space they have left of course.

10/25/2006 12:41 am  
Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

That's an intersting note Vic - I always presumed that all contracts were insured. Whenever a guy who is a free agent plays in an international tournament or comes into camp they always refer to him picking up his own insurance costs but I have never heard the reference to a guy under contract.

We need clarification here - maybe the insurance kicks in only if a guy is truly unable to fulfill the contract (ie/ forced into retirement/no longer able to ply his trade) - such as Rem Murray? Remember when Rem came back last season his salary was going against his insurance payout. Wonder if its the same now that he is playing in Finland?

10/25/2006 8:34 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seem to recall that when Doug Weight blew out his knee playing for the Oil several years ago there was much relief amongst the EIG because some significant percentage of the contract (60%?) was covered by insurance. This kind of insurance seems a reasonable compromise - you don't get full reimbursement for the contract's value, but you wouldn't also pay an astronomical premium for it either. I would be surprised if the team didn't have some sort of policy written on every player's contract for this eventuality. At the end of the day, the EIG appear to be more interested in what their out of pocket cash cost is. Having more cap space is moot if the owners only are willing to spend to a certain $ amount.

The Crow

10/25/2006 9:46 am  
Blogger PDO said...

Vic said:
Enlighten us, O Wise One.

Dummy up, PDO. I doubt that you're really this stupid.


Mostly because I'm not ;).

Obviously cap relief through injuries is necessary, however my beef is that it changes based on if the team is close the cap or not. I don't see why the Devils should be playing under different rules than the Oilers when Almo gets "injured" compared to when Moreau gets injured. Obviously if you're at $43,999,999 and have a $5,000,000 player get injured... well, it wouldn't be very fair to say that his $5,000,000 still counts against the cap and you're SOL, but I don't see why the same rules don't apply to a team that is at $40,000,000 or $35,000,000 etc. Fair enough? I'll admit it came out poorly, I basically meant that the way in which they're handed out is poorly, not the fact that they actually are.

Well,

That and I still want to strangle Lou.

- PDO

10/25/2006 10:30 am  
Blogger PDO said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/25/2006 10:30 am  
Blogger PDO said...

Vic said:

The bigger issue for the Oilers is budget space,


Shouldn't be.. the Oilers payroll is lower than it was in 03-04. This team could easily spend to the cap and make a profit.

Not to mention it looks blatamtly obvious that the GM's are all spending too much and there will be a massive escrow payment coming back anyway.

10/25/2006 10:35 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The CBA has provisions to cover this situation. If Laforge has not budgeted for lost time due to injury, he should be fired. Moreau's salary is low enough this year that he will be difficult to replace for the money. My concern is covering the minutes - not the money.

pdo - the rules are the same. If the Oil wanted to get into the margin provided by this situation, they would go to the league - why bother until you are there (signing Dennis's mythical $4M man).

mo

10/25/2006 11:07 am  
Anonymous dynastydays said...

PDO you're losing me on that... other than the Devils being at the cap limit and needing it significantly more than the Oilers, how is Mogilnys LTIR any different than what the Oilers would get for Moreau (ignoring the obvious cash amount)?

Is there some sort of angle or stipulation that im overlooking or something?

10/25/2006 11:13 am  
Blogger RiversQ said...

PDO: The Oilers' payroll is not lower than it was in 05/06. Right now the cap number is $40.03MM. Last year's team finished the season at $37.45MM and obviously was a few million under that for the bulk of the year.

Vic: The insurance stuff is in Article 23 of the CBA and there's nothing in there even for certain contract values/situations. It's all life, health, disability and career ending stuff.

10/25/2006 11:47 am  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Just to add - the actual salary is what matters and that's still $39.3MM.

10/25/2006 12:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PDO was probably talking real money, i.e., after the conversion of $ CAN revenue to $ US payroll.

That said, EIG will use the appearance of a larger payroll to their public relations advantage, so I don't see them spending to the cap unless they think they can go all the way.

10/25/2006 12:35 pm  
Blogger Bank Shot said...

PDO said:"Obviously cap relief through injuries is necessary, however my beef is that it changes based on if the team is close the cap or not."

It makes perfect sense. Moreau's injury will only not count against the cap when the Oilers need it to. It actually helps small market teams in that way. If a player's salary is not insured and it automatically comes off the cap then a team may be forced to pay extra to go out and sign another player just to reach the cap floor.

The way it works now is best for teams at both ends of the payroll spectrum. The cap hit is in place when you want it to count, and it also can be negated when you need it to be.

10/25/2006 2:10 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

anonymous: The Canadian dollar has barely changed value relative to the US dollar in the last ten months. That can't be PDO's excuse.

http://www.x-rates.com/d/USD/CAD/hist2006.html

10/25/2006 2:44 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Rivers:

I'm talking real dollars, check the CDN $ in 03-04 and check what it is now. Went from roughly $0.65 to roughly $0.85.. that's massive.

Real dollars spent is what we should be talking when we're talking budget, should it not? The Oilers spending in Canadian dollars is lower than it was before the lockout. Budget simply isn't an excuse for this team right now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_dollar#Value

Early 2002 it was in the low 60's.

Bankshot:

Interesting take. I'd never really thought of it a lot, beyond the fact that it seemed really odd to me that the only time you could be granted space was if you needed it.

Is the understanding that the Oilers have Moreau counting against the cap, but if they added enough players and reached $44,000,000, they could put Moreau on LTIR and gain an additional $1,000,000? And more importantly is it retro-active?

- PDO

10/25/2006 5:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PDO - I do not understand how "retroactive" matters. It seems clear that the cap is computed daily wrt transactions and that subtractions take place before additions. i.e. They would have to clear Moreau's LTIR exemption up before acquiring the player that put them into the potential margin.

mo

10/25/2006 5:15 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Mo:

If it's retroactive, then in March we could put him on it and gain the cap space back, having his salary subtracted from each day it counted against us, thus giving us more space at the trade deadline.

Unless I'm completely missing something here?

- PDO

10/25/2006 5:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I get what you are describing, it would be possible to run a very small payroll until the deadline to acquire a bunch of high-priced talent at the deadline and run the table. I do not think that dollar-days under the cap accumulate like rollover cell-phone minutes so retroactive does not matter. I think the cap number is a hard ceiling checked prior to additions to a team's payroll. In this case, prior to bringing in the new player in March, the $1.026M LTIR exemption would have to be obtained, allowing the Oil to use a $45.026M cap number to add someone.

My simplistic model does not explain some of the antics that went on with the Canucks and Josh Green last season though.

Anyone else shed any light here?

mo

10/25/2006 5:45 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Mo:

Nope, they roll over. You can go over the cap, all that matter is what you spend over the course of the season. Having $2,000,000 at the deadline is really $8,000,000... hence why his salary being retroactive is really important.

- PDO

10/25/2006 5:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pdo - if you're correct, that explains Lowe's patience/reluctance to add salary. Every day the team successfully copes with its imbalances increases the funds available to fix them later. The balancing act is not saving money until after all of the options have been dealt away from their current teams.

10/25/2006 6:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

previous post was me.

mo

10/25/2006 6:55 pm  
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