Wednesday, February 28, 2007

In Garth Snow's Shoes

An interesting position for the poorer teams this year, meaning the teams that qualify for revenue sharing. The terminology used in the new CBA is Player Compensation Cost Redistribution, to me it seems easier to just call it what it is, revenue sharing.

In any case this is a big spring season for teams that rely on this income while they try to grow their businesses. As a condition of the CBA this money will be reduced by 25% next season unless the recipients increase their revenues by more than the league average (roughly 6% this year) and have solid attendance next year (the lesser of league average or 13,125 per game in paid attendance).

Then it steps up again the next year, with more cuts in funds and slightly higher standards to meet.

How many teams have seen a significant increase in revenues and attendance after a failed season? I dunno, but I would guess that unless there was a new building or some other peculiar event, the answer is zero.

So, this tells us that the Phoenix and Florida franchises are seven kinds of screwed. And it also tells us that for NYI, PIT, NSH, ATL ... the time to act is now. The value of a player like Forsberg to a team like Nashville has never been higher.

Poile really set the market with his bold move for Forsberg. I suppose he was less scared of Forsberg's ankle problems given that Legwand went through the same surgery after last season. Plus Forsberg started out just terrible (and usually Peter plays some of the toughest minutes in the league, but Nedved really was doing most of that work for Hitchcock early on ... sounds like madness I know, Forsberg must have been damn near dead). At any rate if the numbers are to be believed, then Forsberg is back on form. Playing against quality and putting up the kind of Wilson number since Xmas that only he could possibly sustain.

Then Atlanta makes the bold move for Tkachuk. He's a tremendous player IMO and as high as the price seems, Poile has set the market and Waddell surely realizes that Snow will be just as motivated to buy and is in on the bidding, and maybe even Shero in Pittsburgh (who also had just a terrific day I thought, is this guy any relation to Freddy?).

Now if you're Doug Wilson, Brian Burke or Ken Holland ... then you're probably going to sit pat at this sandwich auction until the starving guys with lots have cash have spent their money. It just doesn't make any sense to get into a bidding war with them.

If you're Garth Snow, why in god's name don't you get into the bidding for Guerin? He ends up going for less than Tkachuk, and he is a lesser player ... but in terms of value, and given the situation that NYI find themselves in with the CBA revenue sharing rules ... why in God's name do opt out of the Guerin bidding with just an hour or two to go before the deadline?

The correct answer is probably the simple one. That being that he already had a conditional deal with Lowe in place, and it was better than the Guerin deal at the price that Wilson had bid it to.

Lowe may possibly have been negotiating in good faith with Meehan until the last 20 minutes (all negotiations with Meehan were over the phone) but if he was then all that tells us is that guaranteed 'option 2' to Snow was something similar. Maybe Tjarnqvist and Sykora for a slightly different return. I suspect that Lowe needed to shed some salary yesterday to stay
on budget, so those numbers would add up about the same.

In any case a very good day for Garth Snow. Let's be frank, if the Oilers had been in playoff contention and Lowe had traded Niinimaki and Rita and 17ish overall pick (in a weak draft year) for Sundin ... we'd be building Kevin a statue and mocking John Ferguson Jr.

He wasn't a very good goalie, but it looks like he's a damn good GM, this Garth Snow.

8 Comments:

Blogger Rand said...

Sometimes emotions play a greater role in what fans desire then does what's good for the team.
As a Leafs fan trading Sundin would be one of those times, I would be absolutely heartbroken if he were to ever leave regardless of the return, even if I genuinely believe it's in the Leafs best interests to have explored the market for him.

Not so much the case with Smyth in Edmonton I suspect, as I don't believe that Edmonton was necessarily all that far from being cup contenders with an added veteran D-Man or preferably 2.

If their dealing Smyth I'm baffled as to the logic behind retaining Sykora.

2/28/2007 6:41 pm  
Blogger choppystride said...

Great article, Vic. The revenue sharing angle on the deadline deals is something that I haven't read anywhere yet. Very interesting.

if the Oilers had been in playoff contention and Lowe had traded Niinimaki and Rita and 17ish overall pick (in a weak draft year) for Sundin

Hmmm...I dunno. That might be a bit harsh methinks. Personally, I think what we got back might not be too far off the Forsberg deal.

Nilsson as 20 yr old hit 1 PPG in the AHL right off the bat. Spent most of last season with NYI and had a pretty nice run at the end of the year (close to 1 PPG for the last month). From what I gathered the kid was overconfident coming into this year's camp. That's never a good thing when your new coach is a hardass like Ted Nolan, who's just returning The Show after years of being shunned. I don't think he signed up for the gig to babysit, esp a finesse kid like Nilsson. This year he's had some back troubles (hope it's not recurring thing, touch wood) but still managed close to 1 PPG in the AHL. So with what we know now, I would say that he's accomplished more than Niinimaki & Rita ever did - combined.

O'Marra is an interesting case. I liked him a lot in his draft year. His numbers has unfortunately not progressed as much as one would like. But in his defense he's played on Erie teams that ranged from medicore to piss poor. He broke his ankle last summer and was sidelined from late Aug til the season's start. And he began the year with an Erie team that was absolutely brutal before being traded to a better one in Saginaw. But somewhere along the line he hurt himself in a car accident. I don't think he's played at 100% the whole season. He'll be a project but a safer pick than Nilsson to have a long NHL career. And the guy did make the last two Cdn WJC teams. I don't think you can be a total chump to accomplish that.

I wish we could have gotten a Perry or a Radulov, or perhaps one of those premium D prospects (Coburn, Parent). But I think Lowe might have been somewhat hamstrung by our playoff drive. After all, playoff$ == ca$h. By the time our fate was officially sealed with that loss to Minny, a lot of deals have already been struck. Which is too bad b/c those D prospects in Nashville would definitely have been a nicer fit.

3/01/2007 10:18 am  
Blogger Julian said...

Thank god this blog still lets me post, the word verification doesn't show up on blogspot for me anymore, so i'm locked out.


Anyway, great analysis Vic, this is some really indepth/behind the scenes stuff.

Nilsson just had 3pts last night in his first game for WBS. The season's shot, we might as well bring him and a few other prospects up already.

3/01/2007 12:05 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

choppystride said... I wish we could have gotten a Perry or a Radulov, or perhaps one of those premium D prospects (Coburn, Parent). But I think Lowe might have been somewhat hamstrung by our playoff drive. After all, playoff$ == ca$h. By the time our fate was officially sealed with that loss to Minny, a lot of deals have already been struck. Which is too bad b/c those D prospects in Nashville would definitely have been a nicer fit.

Do you really think this management showed much committment to making the playoffs this year? I think that's a straw man and as such I'm not convinced that held up a Ryan Smyth deal.

3/01/2007 12:32 pm  
Blogger Rob, Lana and their Girls said...

I'm convinced that the reasont Smyth wasn't signed with Moreau et al was because Lowe wanted to see what we had as a team. Could we contend as is or did we need to reload.

If we were a contender he would be willing to pay what Smyth wanted. If we couldn't contend then it pointed to the fact that we needed someone of a higher calbier then Smyth could offer at 5.7 (or whatever). I believe that we will be trading for that player in the summer. This year was a test year to see what we had.

3/01/2007 12:50 pm  
Blogger Earl Sleek said...

I'm not sure whether the Islanders qualify for revenue sharing, given their market size. I know that market size is the reason why Anaheim cannot qualify for revenue sharing, regardless of gate attendance.

3/01/2007 1:21 pm  
Blogger choppystride said...

riversq: .... Do you really think this management showed much committment to making the playoffs this year? I think that's a straw man and as such I'm not convinced that held up a Ryan Smyth deal.

A very half-ass committment indeed, but an attempt nonetheless. The fact is that until the loss in Minny there was still a small but reasonable chance of a playoff spot. If you stumble all season and still end up with a possibility of playoff cash, why not see you can bag it, especially if the EIG's goal for the season is nothing but a pure cash grab.

If the goal was to shed salary to meet budget, there are other ways to accomplish that (Sykora + whomever as Vic mentioned) that minimizes the inevitable PR backlash. Also, we saved around 700k by trading Smyth. If all along we were watching our bottom line that gingerly without any regard for a playoff spot, we wouldn't have acquired Nedved and his 600K salary, no matter how desperately pathetic a pickup that was.

3/01/2007 2:11 pm  
Blogger Chris said...

Oh come on Vic you can't possibly be comparing Nilson and O'Marra to Bustimaki and Rita. Nilson's already scored 40 points in the NHL and has been point per game in the AHL - Jani Rita only dreamed of being that effective. While O'Marra has been point per game in the OHL while being plagued by injuries and on a lousy team. He might take a while to get to the show but he seems like a pretty good prospect.

Yea, neither of them are Ryan Smyth but that doesn't mean we should degrade them or make deliberately demeaning comparisons of their value.

3/02/2007 3:43 pm  

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