Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Muckler might have his hands full

From the NHLPA, the following Sens filed for salary arbitration today:

Martin Havlat

Chris Kelly

Chris Neil

Peter Schaefer

Antoine Vermette

I can see Schaefer, Neil, and Vermette getting very good deals. All three had career seasons and in the case of Schaefer is a year away from UFA status, so perhaps he's hoping to go, get a one-year deal, and then test the open market next July. They need to lock him up long-term.

How much it'll cost, I don't know, but unless it's something ridiculously extravagent, Muckler better do it. A few months ago I would've thought a deal close to Mike Fisher's ($4.5 million over three years) would suffice but it might take $2 million now.

With Vermette, an interesting stat that will play a big part in what he gets, since stats are all this nonsense is based on, is that he had the highest goal-per-minute average of all NHLers, racking up 21 goals. Perhaps his new contract will force the Sens to make him more than a fourth-liner.

And why is Chris Kelly able to file for arbitration? He's had one season in the league. Is it because of his age (25)? This new CBA continues to amaze me.

As for Havlat, who probably has his bags packed and house up for sale, I can't see how he could get a lot in this process. I mean, yeah, he's talented, but that doesn't mean anything in arbitration. He missed almost the whole season. How can he make a case for a big payday? I suppose they might point to his 30 goals in 2003-04 but that was so long ago, and in such a different climate, I fail to see how it's revelant. I thought Havlat blew his chance for a big contract when he got hurt but apparently he and his agent feel otherwise.

It's worth noting that rarely do all the players who file for arbitration actually . Most of the time it's a formality and a deal is worked out before hand, often right to the deadline (remember Marian Hossa signing his ticket out of town a mere hours before his hearing last season?)

And boy do I not envy Darcy Reiger. Looking at the list of RFAs the Sabres have makes me feel bad for them.


At 12:40 AM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

This new CBA continues to amaze me.

Actually, the new CBA is doing exactly what it was designed to do. That is, not allow any single team to stockpile tons of talent and do a better job of spreading the talent around a little. That means if you have Alfredsson, Spezza, Heatley and Redden you can't also have Havlat and Chara. And if you are going to have 4 or 5 stars on your team you won't be able to fill out your roster with a bunch of established players either.

I think for me the question every one needs to ask is whether you are better off with a handful of star players along with a bunch of young guys (like the Senators) or a more balanced lineup with one or two stars and a bunch of solid experienced players filling out the rest of the lineup (like Carolina, Edmonton, and Buffalo).

At 11:13 AM, Anonymous Anshu said...

I could be completely wrong, but it seems to me that the CBA is driving up average salaries. Has anyone got data on salary history pre-lockout (with average annual increases) and compared that to what we're seeing post-lockout?

It appears that there's a general willingness to spend up to the cap by the majority of teams. So, instead of a handful of players picking up $10M deals from the few teams who used to break the bank, it now seems like you get 3 or 4 times as many players picking up $5M-$7M deals spread across more teams, including those teams that used to be much more frugal.

In terms of total dollars spent (adjusted for inflation), is the NHL collectively now spending more on player salaries than they did pre-lockout?

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Steve said...

I wonder how much effort has been allocated by team's to studying the NFL experience and looking at their 'Salary Cap' success stories - the Patriots and the Steelers, and the Broncos immediately leap to mind, but you could also toss in the Colts, the Panthers, and the Rams.

The Patriots and the Steelers, in particular, draft well, develop that talent, and don't overpay for free agents. That philosophy has kept both teams consistently competitive in an era where the trajectories of most other teams are far more cyclical.

At 11:54 AM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

You have to remember that it is quite likely that a players take home pay will be less than what they actually sign for. The cumulative players take is 54% (that number rises in future years) of revenues so if the cumulative payrolls of all the teams is greater than 54% of revenues, players will get pay docked from their salary.

I think there is a bit of a drag on salaries. Pre-lockout Chara would probably have gotten 8-9 million and Elias would have gotten much more than $6 million per year. Where salaries have risen is the younger players. With the slightly less restrictive restricted free agency rules as well as the earlier age of unrestricted free agency players are getting bigger bucks earlier. I don't think 23 year old Spezza could have got a $4.5 million per year contract under the old system.


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