During "Crazy-Time" last summer Flyers GM Bob Clarke approached Ryan Kesler and made an absurd off to the underachieving restricted free agent. The offer was for a one year deal at $1.9 million dollars, to a player that had far from met any expectations and seemingly could not put the puck in the Pacific Ocean if he were standing on Honolulu Island.
Don't get me wrong, Kesler is a talented hockey player with tons of potential but the fact of the matter is a few years of mis-management by Marc Crawford put Kesler in a situation were he would not develop into a fixutre on any NHL roster.
Kesler had just come off a season where the club had huge expectations which were grossly unacheived but the Canucks wanted to continue to develop their former 1st round selection but Nonis was not going to overpay for what seems to be a long-project.
So with that being said and Nonis and Kesler working on a deal in the $900,000 - $1.4 million range, Bobby Clarke steps in and offers Kesler the ridiculous sum of $1.9 million over one season!
Ruthless, certianly...you want to know the real reason for such a ridiculous move. This move is possibly one of the last straws that Bobby Clarke had in Philly and may have been part of the reason that he lost his job last season.
The reason for this move was because the Canucks and the Flyers were both in the hunt for UFA Anson Carter. Clarke, sensing the the Canucks may have had the lead hand in the Carter sweepstakes, notices that the Canucks are really close to the cap and by making an offer to Kesler he figured that he could win the Carter sweepstakes.
By going after the Canucks future (in Kesler), Clarke made it next to impossible for the Canucks not match the offer from the Flyers. This in theory, knocked the Canucks out of the Anson Carter race as it pushed the club so close to the salary cap that they could not afford the $2.5 million plus that Carter was looking for.
In the end it is Clarke that has the egg on his face because the Canucks have Kesler at a lower rate for the 2007-08 season; Carter went to Columbus then Carolina then the press box; and Clarke himself lost his job.
At last evenings "State of The Franchise" event, GM Dave Nonis commented on this situation and added that he expects this tactic to be used again in the future by several GM's. Is it a legal tactic? sure, Is it resposible business? not a chance.
This appears to be one area of the CBA that needs to be reviewed...