Monday, October 19, 2009

There are just some things you need to accept about the salary cap

I've been a little bit obsessive about the salary cap the last year or so and it means that certain flippant statements will bug me at times.

One thing that kind of irks me is the way people look at the offensive depth of last year's Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings compared to the current models. People linger on the fact that the Red Wings were unable to retain the services of Hossa, Hudler and Co. while the Bruins won't be able to throw as many waves of offensive talent at their opponents as last season.

There's a reason for that: those teams were a mirage; the Red Wings in particular were an unsustainable collection of top-end talent. When commentators made jokes about them having four lines of talent, they weren't far off-base. The Hudlers of the world are going to get paid and it's Ken Holland's job to be smart enough to let him go.

Going forward, any team that has an embarrassment of riches is going to get to that level by a perfect storm of entry draft steals/high pick home runs, well-timed contract extensions and short-term veteran pickups. (Also, cheap goaltending is probably wise unless you really love your goalie)

Teams like Vancouver worry me because there aren't many major players gunning for contracts in the near future ... the Sedins, Luongo and even role players like Alex Burrows don't have a big green carrot dangling in front of them.

Thing I learned today: the Internet provides many great results for "dangling carrot"

The crazy decade-plus contract trend is understandable for reasons of artificially diluting annual cap hits but I prefer the direction the Penguins (conscious or not) went with giving their young guns more reasonable (read: shorter) contracts. If Alex Ovechkin ruins his knees, the Caps aren't just fucked this year but for the next 10. If something happens to Evgeni Malkin, it would still be a catastrophe but not of the same degree.

This rant is going in a few directions, but if I were a GM, these would be some of my principles:
  • No one over the age of 30 gets more than 4 years
  • Really, on some crazy level I wouldn't want to give anyone more than 3 years
  • Extend players before you expect them to breakout, if at all possible
  • Fear the contract year anomaly
  • Sometimes, you have to let people go even if it hurts
Yeah, those are pretty simple rules but I think more GMs could use balls of steel and hearts of coal.

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