Did you know that $24 Million dollars can buy you a gently used 2007 Gulfstream G450 private jet, or Katherine Hepburn’s oceanfront estate in Connecticut (if you were willing to negotiate a bit), or even the Archduke Joseph 76 carat, D color, flawless diamond (Sotheby’s estimate $15 - $25 Million $U.S.)?
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And $24 Million can also buy Charles Wang his freedom from noted fiscal anchor: Rick DiPietro.
Rick DiPietro’s buyout would be $24 Million dollars spread out over 16 years, at 1.5 Million per year. If the Islanders were to buy out DiPietro, that $24 Million would have to come directly out of Charles Wang’s pocket (and/or the pockets of any future owner(s) of the team). They would not be able to write off the 1.5 Million per year as an operating expense, because the team has no profits to write it off against. The New York Islanders operate on a $16 Million annual loss (Forbes Magazine).
The Vancouver Canucks, however, make approximately $30 Million per year profit, and would be able to achieve a tax benefit from writing off the annual $1.5 Million buyout payment. Furthermore, a Compliance Buyout would not affect the Vancouver Canucks Salary Cap at all, allowing the team to add players as required up to the cap max.
I am truly hopeful that Mike Gillis will be able to convince Mr. Aquilini to allow the team to spend a huge chunk of the 30 Million dollar profit the Canucks bring in annually, to bring skill to the mediocrity that is the Vancouver Canucks depth chart.
The kind of skill I want – first line skill, 90 point skill, top 5 NHL draft skill – is an unreachable dream for a team like the Canucks, who have not had a top 9 draft pick since 1999 (14 years).
The Canucks have size, speed, and a decent amount of (2nd and 3rd line) talent in their system, but not one player in the organization has the skill to maybe take over from Henrik Sedin going forward.
What I really want is for Mr. Aquilini, to call Charles Wang personally, and discuss this deal. Leave Gillis and Snow out, because this would not be a hockey trade. It would essentially be a business deal. Leave it to the money men to get an agreement in principal, then bring in the GMs and hope they don’t screw things up.
I know, of course, that we ,the fans of this Shakespearian drama that is the Vancouver Canucks, will never know what exactly would be said in that phone call, but I imagine it might go something like this……………………………
“Hello Chuck. This is Francesco. It’s your lucky day, Chuck.
“Yeah right! Are you going to set fire to my shoe again in the Board of Governors meeting? I must warn you that my lawyers are still working on a strongly worded complaint about that incident.”
“Uh, oh yeah, sorry about that Charles. Look, what I meant was; I want to trade for Rick DiPietro.”
“What? Oh funny! Ha, Ha! Alright Frankie, if you are finished making fun of my negotiating skills, I have A LOT OF WORK TO DO!!!”
“Whoa, big guy, ease off on them hammers. I’m not joking. I really want to trade for Rick DiPietro. I intend to trade for him then buy him out using one of our Compliance Buyouts. That’s right, Charles, I am going to essentially give you 24 Million dollars (the CapGeek value assigned to a Rick DiPietro buyout).
“Oh man! Thanks buddy. I love you, man!”
“Not so fast, buddy. Did you think I was just going to give you 24 Million dollars in cold, hard cash for free? I’m afraid I’m going to need a little quid pro quo bro.”
“I shoulda known. You want players, huh?”
“You got that right. I figure 24 shmil should be worth a couple of prospects - a couple of very good prospects. Yeah… very good prospects.”
“You bloodsucker! You can’t buy my players. And you can’t buy me!”
“Twenty four million.”
“TWENTY FOUR MILLION… TWENTY FOUR MILLION… TWENTY FOUR MILLION… TWENTY. FOUR. MILLON. DOLLARS!!!!!”
“Okay, okay, stop yelling at me. What exactly do you want?”
“That’s more like it Charles. Look, we can’t just make this a ‘cash for players’ transaction. The League won’t go for it. They’ll just veto the deal. We have to make this look like a real hockey trade.”
“So how do we do that?”
“Here’s the way it will go down:
- The Vancouver Canucks trade Roberto Luongo to the New York Islanders for
a second round draft pick (2013).
- The New York Islanders trade Rick DiPietro and two high end prospects to the Vancouver Canucks for absolutely nothing.
- We tell the NHL that the trade is Roberto Luongo for Rick DiPietro, Ryan Strome, Nino Niederreiter, and a second round draft pick.
“Strome and Niederreiter, are you nuts? The fans will lynch me!”
“So what, you’re moving the team soon anyway. Just stay out of the limelight for awhile, and you’re home free.”
“No way! No one will buy this scenario – it’s too nuts even for me.”
“Okay, okay, we’ll throw in a warm body off our roster, and a prospect if it makes you feel better - Weise or somebody, and maybe Joseph Labate, whatever. Remember, Chuck: 24 Million dollars. In your pocket, Chuck - all yours, to do with what you want. No more Rick DiPietro on your AHL roster to make you a laughing stock. No more 4.5 million dollars per year for a guy with two wooden hips. No more balance sheet deficit staring potential buyers in the face when they look at your team’s financial statement.”
“Twenty four million dollars, you say. And a bona fide, gold medal winning, starting goalie. Hmmmm. But, come on, Ryan Strome? They tell me he’s our top prospect.”
“He is a highly skilled center prospect. However, Strome is more suited to (potentially) be a 1st line center than a 2nd line center, and you already have one of the best 1st line centers in the world in John Tavares. Actually, Brock Nelson has the ideal size, skill package, and two-way acumen to be your 2nd line center of the future. Ryan Strome would also likely be a disaster if asked to play the gritty 3rd line center role – a role which the bigger, faster Nelson would probably flourish in.”
“And you want Niederreiter too. It figures.”
“Well, he did already ask for a trade. It seems a natural fit.”
“Hey, my GM tells me he wasn’t serious – just blowing off some steam.”
“Be that as it may, the Islanders still have Griffin Reinhart, Brock Nelson, and a mid-
first round pick in the 2013 draft, as well as a bunch of terrific young players already on
your NHL roster. You can afford this. Remember the 24 Million dollars, my friend.
Remember the Jennings Trophy winning goalie - next year you could go deep into the playoffs. Think about all that extra playoff revenue that Luongo is going to bring you. And most of all, think about the fact that this trade will completely erase the mistake that has haunted you personally for years.”
I fully understand that fans of the New York Islanders will hate this deal. I am sympathetic, but I ask them to step outside the hockey envelope for a minute.
This is not a hockey trade. This is a scuzzy, straight up `cash for players` deal, and it almost makes me sick to my stomach to suggest it. Almost.
Anyway, Islanders fans, no offence …. it`s just business.
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