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Sherwood Park, AB • Canada • 34 Years Old • Male

The Death of Depth...

Posted 1:00 PM ET | Comments 10
I've heard plenty of voices over the past few weeks say that the salaries are spiralling out of control again and that the salary-cap really doesn't mean anything anymore. Obviously, this isn't entirely false inspite of what many fans of my Edmonton Oilers will tell you. Obviously as a whole this won't affect the salary cap as the cap is tied to league revenues. What this will do though is help change the balance for RFA's vs. UFA's vs. Rookie contracts.

Raising the bar on RFAs like what has happened witht he Penner signing, coupled with the Roy signing and other similar high priced deals is going to shift the dynamic for better or worse where the share of the pie for UFAs will be smaller thereby shrinking the amount of money they will receive. I believe the money will always be there for the top tier free agents. The Daniel Briere's, Chris Drury's and Ryan Smyth's of the world will still get their big free agent contracts. What moves like this really do though is squeeze that second tier free agent.

The guys who play on the third line will get affected by these moves. What you will see is there will be the 4 million dollar plus players, and the players playing at or near the league minimum type players...the end of the 2.5 million dollar player "The Rob Niedermayer" type player will be hurt by this as they will be getting squeezed from the top by the high priced stars, and from the bottom by the players on Rookie contracts and guys who are willing to settle for the league minimum.

Far be it for me to say if this is wrong or not, but what this is showing is that there are consequences to raising the contracts for a certain segment of the players in the league, and its gonna be the players who play on your third line, your depth players, your Sami Kapanen's, Ethan Moreau's, Rob Niedermayer's who are going to be hurt by this.

Mark my words, you will see veteran players, who are good enough to play in the NHL leave to play in the RSL or the SEL just because the money for them in the NHL won't be there because of them getting squeezed from the top and the bottom. Would you rather have inferior talent playing for half the game or would you rather have all of the best player playing in the league? It may come down to this if the RFAs salaries keep moving higher like they have this summer.

If this trend continues, I guess we can all start saying good-bye to team depth.
Filed Under:   edmonton   ducks   RFA   UFA   flyers   hockey   salary cap   NHLPA  
August 3, 2007 3:36 PM ET | Delete
what your saying is an extreme worst case scenario. I don't see players in the future shoving off to foreign markets for more money. There are 30 teams to spread around the salaries, what I agree with is the team that spends $10m or more on one player will not have enough to put together a complete depth team, but this won't be the case for every team in the league. The NHL would step in before that happens and reduce the allowable per year salary. What I could see really happening, is that injury prone players are going to take the worst hit, not grinders like the ones you mentioned above.
August 3, 2007 3:56 PM ET | Delete
fair point as I did take a worst-case type scenario with this but then look at another player like Ric Jackman signing to play in Austria today. You can't tell me that he isn't good enough to still have a spot in the NHL even as a reserve like he was in Anaheim this year. The problem is that he will make more money playing in Europe then he would making the league minimum in the NHL. The main reason he'd be making the league minimum though is that there is less money to go around for players in the bottom 6 on your roster.
August 3, 2007 4:11 PM ET | Delete
That's very true, I feel his situation interesting as he's Canadian born, I wouldn't have expected that. My feeling is that he's the exception, I see more of a Owen Nolan case of 2 years ago happening, where he was considered too much of a head case to be picked up and instead co-hosted a fishing show. I would think there has got to be a league "salary adjustment" at some point. Fans, GMs and Coaches, wouldn't let depth go to other countries for very long without a fight.
August 3, 2007 4:12 PM ET | Delete
In all fairness, at least your team is paying too much for potential as opposed to my team paying too much for proven mediocre.
August 3, 2007 4:17 PM ET | Delete
Fair enough. Penner at 4.3 is a bargain compared to Kubina at 5 :)Lucky us!
August 3, 2007 6:41 PM ET | Delete
I can't help but think the big Euro hockey leagues - RSL, Swiss EL and Swedish EL - are quite happy with the NHL CBA. By lowering salaries for many good/decent players it will make Europe more attractive to some North Americans and should also result in more Euros choosing to play hockey in Europe. That in turn will strengthen the European leagues.
August 3, 2007 9:44 PM ET | Delete
More money, diehard fans, great countries, treated like kings instead of being bashed on hockey blogs, date some hot model that only know's basic command words like 'come here' and 'do this'...ok the last one was my imagination...but come on, what 18th - 22nd player on an NHL roster wouldnt want to play in Europe. Have a good year, then come back to the league for more money then your worth because the 'potential' player didn't workout. Or come back at the deadline for a Cup run...sounds good to me.
August 4, 2007 11:11 PM ET | Delete
You make some excellent points, and you also have the death of truly great top-to-bottom teams. For example, you'll never see teams as great as Pittsburgh (early 90s), Edmonton (late 80s), Islanders (early 80s). Sure there's been expansion, but the talent pool is much larger now too. The only way to get close is to have some cap space and load up as best you can at the deadline.
August 5, 2007 1:07 AM ET | Delete
The oilers might as well not even lace up the skates becasue its going to be the Wild and the Avalanche at the top of this division for the next couple of years.... Sorry Oiler fans
October 22, 2007 6:36 PM ET | Delete
Absolutely correct analysis in terms of how a hard salary cap is detrimental for middle-range players, as opposed to those at the top and the bottom of the pay scale. I don't even think it a worst-case scenario, but an obvious by-product of hard caps. Don't know where these middle range players will go, but continued competition for top of the line players means that owners can do a type of in-house out-sourcing by simply replacing quality middle salary players with those who will do it cheaper.
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