Friday, December 16, 2005

Something to be worried about?

Zdeno Chara's agent Matt Keator on October 11th

"We haven't had any talks with Ottawa lately and that's kind of been by design because we're not in any hurry," said Chara's agent Matt Keator.

"We've agreed we're going to talk at some point. (Chara) has made it pretty clear he wants to stay in Ottawa and we'll see what happens."

Today's Ottawa Citizen:

Keator said there were no immediate plans to talk to Senators general manager John Muckler about a new contract.

"Right now, Zdeno's focus is on the team, on winning the Stanley Cup," the agent said.

As recently as a few months ago, Muckler pointed to January as a date when he would start talking with the agents of Chara and Wade Redden about new deals, since apparently part of the CBA says that's the earliest a potential UFA can sign a contract with his club.

I would think "immediate plans" would be in the next month, right?

While everyone is gushing about the news of increased revenues, and thus, an inflated salary cap next year, and how it gives the Sens more room to sign Chara and Redden, many seem to be ignoring the fact it also gives every other team more room as well. More money to throw at guys like Chara.

Yes, Zdeno Chara says he wants to stay in Ottawa, but so did Marian Hossa. But then he added a little amendment: he wanted to stay in Ottawa and be paid "Jarome Iginla money", knowing full well the team could not give him that kind of cake and keep the rest of the core together. He's now in Atlanta doing very well individually but playing for a team that, if the playoffs started tomorrow, would be on the outside looking in.

Athletes always talk about wanting to stay here or there, but ultimately, it also always comes down to money. Hedging bets that Zdeno Chara and/or Wade Redden will be the exception to this rule is setting yourself up for disappointment.

And why do I imagine Keator saying "Right now, Zdeno's focus is on the team, on winning the Stanley Cup" with dollar signs in his eyes? Did he follow it up with "Cha-Ching!"?

Or am I just out of my mind?

9 Comments:

At 10:30 PM, Blogger aquietgirl said...

Have you declared your Chara or Redden leanings yet? I think this is the Next Big Issue forthcoming in SensLand.

 
At 10:54 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

As far as which to keep? I'm inclined to say Chara right now, but it depends on what they are asking for.

If they both ask for, say, $5, then of course Chara, but if Chara is looking for $7 million and Redden less, then I'd say go with Redden and spend the Chara money elsewhere.

 
At 11:20 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

The problem for the Senators is that while other teams (i.e. Toronto, Detroit, Rangers etc.) will have more to spend, Ottawa won't. They already have a self-imposed budget (they aren't even spending at this years cap level) and I can't see them spending dramatically more next year, even if the cap is raised $3-4 million. Maybe they will consider it if they win the Stanley Cup and get a windfall of playoff and merchandise revenue but if they get ousted in the first couple rounds I am not sure if the purse strings will open up. I can see several teams willing to pay Chara $6-7 million since Chara is arguably the best defenseman in the league and at age 28 is just entering the prime of his career. Although Slovakian, I can definitely see the Rangers going hard after Chara to get him to join their band of Czech players. The Leafs and several other teams will also have ample money to spend.

I think 2 things need to happen to see Chara remain in Ottawa:

1. Chara will need to give a bit of a loyalty discount as I don't see the Senators being willing to (or able to) pay him $6.5 million per year which he will certainly be able to get elsewhere.

2. The Senators need to be willing to break the Alfredsson cap as I don't think Chara will go for a $2 million loyalty discount.

Will both of those happen? I'm not sure. You've also got to remember that Spezza is going to want to be paid something similar to Dany Heatley (i.e. $4.5 million, up from $1 million this year) and several other players will need new contracts too. It's not impossible but it is going to be tough for Ottawa to keep both Chara and Redden.

 
At 11:33 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

The self imposed cap you speak of will be exceeded, I think.

Melnyk has talked in the past about spending whatever to keep the team together, and so I imagine they'll spend right to the limit next season.

This year they likely curbed their spending because they weren't sure of how the market would be.

It'll be tough for them to keep both, but if they want to stay in Ottawa as much as they say, then they'll take less money. Because I've seen no asterix beside any of there "this is where I want to play" comments.

We'll see how it goes. If they leave, that will suck, but the Senators can use that money elsewhere and make a go of it that way.

 
At 1:00 AM, Anonymous Tom Benjamin said...

David, there isn't that much of a playoff windfall, given that playoff revenues deliver up to half of the revenue sharing money. If I recall correctly, they have to fork over a maximum of 95% of a sold out regular season gate for every home playoff game. It could turn out to be less than that depending on things like escrow (don't ask) and the number of teams who qualify to receive money. Anyway, playoff revenues aren't anything like they were for a winning team. They can't finance a heck of a lot more than the team can finance with regular season revenues.

If the cap goes up, so does the maximum and the amount guys like Chara will demand.

And Chris, Muckler was shoveling shit about the January deadline. That only applies to players who signed a one year contract or extension this summer. Players who are coming off multi-year deals can negotiate an extension any time.

 
At 1:10 AM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

And Chris, Muckler was shoveling shit about the January deadline. That only applies to players who signed a one year contract or extension this summer. Players who are coming off multi-year deals can negotiate an extension any time.

As I understood it, after January, it doesn't count against this year's cap.

 
At 3:27 AM, Anonymous Tom Benjamin said...

It doesn't count against this year's cap no matter what. They can sign an extension, but they can't renegotiate this year's salary. They are negotiating a contract for 2005-06 and beyond.

They signed Havlat and Spezza to one year contracts. They can't extend them until after January. The idea is to close a semi-loophole that isn't worth explaining. It only applies to players starting when they sign a one year contract to January. That is the only period of time anyone is barred from negotiating an extension.

Of course both guys - like Jovanovski - have to say they want to stay. They play in Ottawa now. They really can't say anything else. The Senators haven't decided what they are going to do next year. That's fine with Redden and Chara because they can't lose by waiting. Waiting makes sense for the Senators so that's what everyone has decided to do.

I just wish Muckler would be upfront about it. Nonis said he and Jovo's agent had discussed an extension, but Nonis had to wait to see where the salary cap was going. But yes, Nonis loved Jovo and Jovo loved Vancouver. Why not do that instead of hiding behind a misinterpretation of the CBA?

I think the Havlat injury messed up Mucklers Plan A, which was to deal Havlat at the end of the season and use the money to try to hold the defense together. The injury makes him worth less in a trade and probably makes him more difficult to sign. (By that I mean it is more difficult to get an agreement as to his value.)

 
At 3:50 AM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

It doesn't count against this year's cap no matter what. They can sign an extension, but they can't renegotiate this year's salary. They are negotiating a contract for 2005-06 and beyond.

So the local and national media who have perpetuated the January story are all wrong?

Of course both guys - like Jovanovski - have to say they want to stay. They play in Ottawa now. They really can't say anything else.

Sure they can. They can say "We'll see what happens. I hope to stay in Ottawa, but it's so far away and I'm worried about this season" (which is sort of what Chara's agent said in today's paper, troubling me dearly).

The injury makes him worth less in a trade and probably makes him more difficult to sign. (By that I mean it is more difficult to get an agreement as to his value.)

He's held out in the past so you could be right. Filing for arbitration would be somewhat silly because he wouldn't have the statistics to make any sort of favorable comparison, but that could happen.

But put it this way: I'm more optimistic about him coming back to Ottawa than I was two months ago.

Up to then, I had resigned myself to the fact he was likely going to have a lights out season, put up great numbers, and then get traded in the offseason. After all, before they moved Hossa, they were very close to trading Havlat to Carolina for Erik Cole. It was Jim Rutherford would put the brakes on that.

 
At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Tom Benjamin said...

So the local and national media who have perpetuated the January story are all wrong?


I guess. I know an agent who is negotiating a deal for a player in Redden's shoes basically as we speak. It came up on a discussion at my site and I specifically clarified it with him.

This does not surprise me. Revenue figures are going fuzzy again and CBA clauses are going the same route. How many different salary cap numbers have you seen for various revenue scenarios? Only one can be right and I know several have been wrong.

Up to then, I had resigned myself to the fact he was likely going to have a lights out season, put up great numbers, and then get traded in the offseason.

I understand what you are saying, but it cuts both ways. Havlat will want to be paid like he did have the lights out season and the Sens will want to pay him like he hadn't yet. A trading partner will want to give up less and Ottawa will want talent back that assumes a lights out season too.

A great season would have created one set of problems, a poor one (for Havlat) would create a different set. The injury results in neither.

 

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