Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I like Brad Richards. A lot. He's a terrific hockey player.
And now his new contract has effectively killed his team's chances at winning the Cup for the next few years unless Jay Feaster can work a miracle.
Richards, Lecavalier and St.Louis take up almost 20M in cap room for the Bolts now and even if the cap bumps up to 46M, likely more like 43M apparently, they are top heavy in salary now. If Feaster plays it like Kevin Lowe did this year and leaves himself some room under the cap at the beginning of the season then he has @ 18-20 M left to spend. If he gets right against the cap then he has another 3 M to spend and better pray then everybody stays healthy and plays up to snuff.
Maybe he looks at the Oil and sees that after Pronger, Peca and Smyth (13.5 total) Lowe spent @ 23 M and look where they are.
Me, I look at the fact that Tampa is paying Richards what the Oil paid Smyth, Horcoff, Hemsky, Torres, Stoll and Pisani this year.
Who got the better value?
Look, I love Richards but has Feaster not looked around the league and seen who will be available next year. The year after?
Some guys are going to cash in big because of this contract. Let other teams give guys huge long term contracts. Hopefully Lowe will pick up the pieces.
Lowe played it the way it has to be played this year.
Leave yourself room under the cap, plenty of it, so you can augment your lineup cheaply as the year progresses. The Bolts could have used a goalie, defensive depth and secondary scoring but they had no money to go out and get the reinforcements Lowe did.
Leave yourself flexibility with contracts from year to year. Do you think Bob Clarke is happy to have Hatcher and Rathje signed for the longterm after seeing them get burned time and time again by les Sabres? Do you think that if the Leafs give Bryan McCabe 5M to go along with Kaberle's 4.5M that in 5 years they will be happy with those investments? Is McCabe worth 1M less a year then Chris Pronger? Is he worth more then Smith, Staios, Greene and Bergeron combined? Especially considering Smith and Staios' contracts expire soon?
Guys are still going to get their big contracts. The Oil are going to lose guys from this terrific team this summer. But you know what? If Lowe knows what he's doing then he will get the right guys under contract and if their agents ask for the moon he will drive them to the airport and say good luck and move on. And he will find guys to replace them.
Because Tampa and a lot of other teams won't have the room to sign a lot of useful players.
Posted by Black Dog at 9:14 PM