Thursday, August 18, 2005

Curtis Joseph: The Less-Than-A-Million Dollar Man

While Marian Hossa is demanding $7 million a year and Vincent Lecavalier is mysteriously getting close to that from Tampa Bay (see Jes Golbez, as he basically echoed by thoughts completely), one player has taken significantly less money than he's earned in years.

The Phoenix Coyotes signed Curtis Joseph for $900,000. His previous contract with the Detroit Red Wings paid him $8 million. Quite the paycut. Quite the bargain?

At 38-years-old, it wouldn't be out of line to wonder how much gas is left in his tank.

Phoenix has made numerous bold dips into the free agent market, signing Brett Hull, Mike Ricci, and Petr Nedved, as well as adding the greatest hockey player of all-time as their head coach. Throw one of the best goaltenders of the last 10 years between their pipes, and you have a team that might actually be able to make some noise.

For CuJo, signing for so little makes little sense to me. Unlike Anson Carter in Vancouver, it's hard to argue he's willing to take less money in hopes that he'll be able to get a richer contract next year after some success. In all likelyhood, there won't be a next year for Joseph. This may be it.

For teams like the Canucks and Lightning, who had goaltending issues, you have to wonder why they didn't throw their hat in the CuJo sweepstakes, as certainly, on paper, he's a better alternative than the goalies they have.

Though it's not the most high profile signing, I'll be watching this one closer than most, eager to see how it plays out.


At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Dominic Plouffe said...


Maybe it's because everyones starting to realize that Cujo is "over rated". He's by far a better goalie than Ottawa ever had, but he's never won anything, and as far as I know (correct me if I'm wrong), he's never made it to the Stanley Cup Finals. He might be worth more than 900k, but nowhere close to 8mil in my books.

At 9:31 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

Overrated in what sense?

He hasn't gone to the finals, true, but (at least as far back as I can remember) it's not once been because he played poorly.

The two years in Detroit weren't especially memorable for him, I'm sure, but I hardly think it's fair to point the finger at him. The first year, the two ran into a red hot goalie in Giguere. It happens.

Last year, even in spite of the team basically blaming him for the lose against Anaheim and throwing him to the side, he showed what a professional he is by existing in an otherwise ridiculous situation. And when they called on him when Hasek got hurt, he rose the occasion. He was excellent in the series against Calgary. Unfortunately, the team in front of him wasn't, and seemed resigned to their fate long before it came to fruition.

His years in Edmonton and St. Louis showed that he's the type of goalie who can make an average team competitive every night regardless of who their opponents are, and is especially good in games where he faces a ton of rubber - which may be why it didn't work out in Detroit. He excels with a lot of shots, their system is about minimizing them.

Whether or not he still has "it" remains unknown (as it does for the 50 other 35+ NHLers who won't have played for almost 18 months), but for the handful of teams with goaltending questions, it's a risk I'd take. Certainly over Dan Cloutier (who's proven he doesn't have it) and Sean Burke (who may be even more overrated and washed up than CuJo).

At 2:31 AM, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I think that, with Cujo, the Coyotes can make some noise.

I'm not entirely sure what you're asking in this post, but I do know that a) Gretzky called him, and b) Cujo wants to redeem himself.

Worst case scenario? Phoenix is out of the playoff picture in March, and Gretzky deals him to a contender looking for a goalie. What's to lose?


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