I don’t understand how people make the argument that Lowe was trying to make “his” team better. How can any GM make a team better by over paying a player that isn’t worth the money, offering a long term contract with a lot of money tied up in one player. Most will say Penner is worth probably around the same as Ouellet, which turns out to be $1.25-million. That’s $3.05-million more. You could have signed 3 players at one and a quarter million for the same point production, plus a player at league minimum. Ya huh… “better” .. right. That could be an additional 70 goals. But that’s just speculation.
Burke is totally right about Lowe doing this out of desperation for his job. Lowe can’t sign an unrestricted player. Most of that, really couldn’t be blamed on him, however. It seems rich players’ families don’t like the fact that they would be living in a smaller, much smaller city than that of most other NHL cities. The cold whether, lack of activities, long travel distance to a larger destinations. It can all come into play.
Lowe’s team went from squeeking into the playoffs to making the finals. All in the same year. Obviously no one saw that coming. However, if that hadn’t of happened, I don’t think Lowe would have an issue with his job at this point. Nylander chose a team in the Capitals, that doesn’t have much expectation. They have potential to be a great team, and he has the chance to become a star without heavy burden in a hockey market where everyone is on your case, if you don’t play well, or even live up to expectation. I really doubt he cares if the local papers and websites piss on his corn flakes here in Canada or in D.C., he probably doesn’t read them anyway. He put himself in a great situation. Not the greatest city though, but a great situation. Plus, he’s still rich.
Now, think of this – had Lowe gotten Vanek. What would he build the team around? Smyth wanted more money, and Lowe said no. Smyth was traded, and the Oilers got some good return. We all know where Smyth went after that. Now he throws that money into a player who couldn’t give too poops about the city. Then he basically gave up on Lupul after one year. Right, you traded one of the best defensemen in the league, and got an excellent young player back who is actually from the city you are in. Lupul wanted to play there. He had a poor season on a poor team. Now you trade him, plus your captain for a younger, bigger dman. And you only sign him for one year. You traded your leadership and soul for a player who might not even return to the city, ala Pronger (but obviously, not exactly the same situation, Pitkanen is a RFA). Now, how did that improve your team?
He doesn’t have Vanek. And there is a strong possibility that he WILL have Penner. Is Penner honestly the type of player Lowe wants to build his team around? Lets look at Hemsky. In 05-06, he scored 19 goals and 77 points. He’s now making $4.1-million per. The next season, he scores 13 goals and 53 points. Although he did miss 17 games from the year before, he IS the type of player you’d want to build around. Penner was a rookie, and now will be making more money. How does Hemsky feel? Lowe’s answer is probably clear: no one wants to play with you (obviously, “you” isn’t a personal answer), so I’ll have to over pay a bit to find those who will.
Is Lowe thinking in the long run? Should he? That meaning, for his job sake and for the team sake, seeing as many younger players are going to be coming up. If he ends up with Penner, he wont get Perry or Getzlaf. And now, with this, are players going to allow their agents to negotiate with GM’s about their contracts before they become RFA’s or allow them to sign offer sheets and become well rich enough to not even care if their point production is terrible on a non-contending team. Or, get greedy, sign the offer and let their own team match it. Just cause you know you’re that good.
Lowe hasn’t made his team any better. He can’t attract players with soul to play there. He has to go out and throw money at players for them to play there. All that reminds me of is “gangsta” rappers flashing cash in their music videos.
But with that said, I don’t know who is worse – the GM for offering it, or fans accepting a player who signs the offer sheet for that money. Why would Vanek want to play on a non-contending team when he has strong possibility of winning a cup in Buffalo? Surely he couldn’t be thinking Edmonton would end up with another Cinderella story. Or was it that he knew the Sabres would match and he just got greedy? Or did he think he was really THAT good, to get Edmonton far enough as the conference finals?
Personally, I’m waiting for a player with class to tell one of these GM’s to bite the wiener, and that he’s playing for the cup (even if it means, again and again) instead of a bunch of cash thrown at you, and play with a mediocre team in an old building. Just plain out reject the offer sheet.
I just laugh at Edmonton fans that back their GM for presenting offer sheets to these players. He’s looking for a quick fix to a team who needs immediate help and who has no patience for the players coming up through the farm. Edmonton isn’t Toronto. They can, no doubt “rebuild”, even if it’s for a couple years so that their own young stars can establish them selves.
Sure the NHL is a business, not only for teams but for players making an earning. But it’s also for the fans. And if it wasn’t for the fans, you wouldn’t have the money to splash at these players. Anaheim, Tampa, Carolina, Nashville.. all these teams went through terrible seasons to draft the players they did to have a team that wins. Players, young enough to earn the money they deserve to have the chance to win the cup.
The salary cap was put into place to help such teams. And now, it’s coming to bite them in the ass. They draft and win. They pay what they can afford, AND what they deserve in this stage in their career. Tampa and Nashville had [have] excellent teams, but don’t dare spend to the cap, because their owners are not making money. Now, they risk loosing their players that they spent millions on scouting to underachieving teams looking for a quick fix so that they can still earn money in their own building.
Not stealing? Sure Edmonton isn’t taking to feed the poor, but they’re surly taking to please their own. And that’s conniving.