Friday, July 27, 2007

K-Lo strikes again

Kevin Lowe, you are more desperate then a twice divorced 40-something on Rogaine.

EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Edmonton Oilers have signed Anaheim Ducks forward Dustin Penner to a five-year, $21.25 million offer sheet on Thursday.

The deal is for $4.25 million per season, a huge raise over the league minimum $450,000 Penner earned last season in the last year of his entry-level contract. The Ducks have seven days to match the offer. Should they decide not to match, the Ducks would receive one first-round draft pick, a second-round pick and a third-round pick from the Oilers.


Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe went after a team that doesn't have much room under the salary cap. The Stanley Cup champion Ducks are around $48 million. The Penner signing would push the Ducks over the $50.3 million maximum, but a team is allowed to be over the salary cap by 10 percent until Oct. 1.

Professional sports is a cut throat business. Unlike others in the hockey world, I'm not sticking pins in a voodoo doll of K-Lo because he went after other team's RFAs. He is the GM of a team, and as such, he has an obligation to get the job done. But do I think this mess was of his own creation? Absolutely. And do I think he is screwing other teams and the NHL in the long term? Hell yeah. So while I dont blame Lowe for going after RFAs, I do worry about the long term repercussions of that action.

As usual, Mike Vogel puts it better (and less crudely) then this blogger:
One or two renegade GMs can skew the league’s salary structure and impact contract negotiations around the league for years to come. It’s what led to the lockout of 1994-95 and the lockout of 2004-05. I hate to even bring it up, but some of the foolishness we’re seeing now could be responsible for the next NHL lockout.

It’s great for players to be able to make as much money as they can, while they can. The career shelf life of a pro athlete is a very finite thing. The problem is that once profits began turning into losses, owners are always asking the players to empty their pockets. The most recent lockout was all about owners telling the players: “We can’t stop ourselves from spending, we need your help.” That help of course, came in the form of a salary cap and a 24% rollback of existing contracts at the time. What’s next? We can only wonder.

I dont know what the solution is. Vogel throws out a proposal from former Oakland Athletics owner Charles O. Finley, who suggested that players and teams negotiate a new one year contract every year, "because it would much more accurately reflect a player’s actual “worth” at any given time." Since I cant see the NHLPA agreeing to that any time soon, I guess we are at an impasse.

(x-posted on Cap Addiction, but I am really curious to get everyone's take on this)


Marie said...

I'm also concerned how these offers and contracts will affect arbitration hearings. For example, if Penner can attract a +$4 mill offer, will that in turn lead to Cammalleri being awarded a similar amount or, *gasp, even higher?! If so, it's utter bullshit and KLowe needs to realize how his desperate, pathetic attempts to (practically) bribe players to Edmonton will affect the rest of the league.

Heather B. said...

I have mixed feelings. I don't want to go back to the days when players were forever enslaved to the teams that drafted them, but it kind of stinks that this forces teams into overpaying their young talent if they want to keep them. What's the point of taking the time to draft and develop well if other teams can come in and take talent off your hands, even in the restricted years?

I'm afraid it does set a terrible, terrible precedent. If we're going to start giving kids who are barely shaving that much money, what are established stars going to expect?

At the very least, the compensation packages definitely need to be increased. Right now they top out at 5 million but there's a hell of a difference between 5 million and 7 million. If desperate GMs are going to make ridiculous offers like that, their penalty should be higher - either more draft picks or more high draft picks.

Heather B. said...

I was thinking more on this and just to elaborate my first paragraph in the previous comment: The ability to draft and develop players and then keep them at an affordable price for a certain number of years is one thing that really helps smaller market teams with less revenue stay competitive with large market teams. Losing that does a lot of damage to some franchises and yes, the Sabres are one of them so it bugs me more than it probably would if I was say, a Rangers fan. I know that technically Kevin Lowe didn't do anything that the system doesn't allow and not going after RFAs was a gentlemen's agreement at best... but in this case, I think the system is broken.

Kirsten said...

I would probably be freaking out if I were k-Lowe too. He doesn't have a team to field, so to speak. I guess he has all of those unproven prospects scattered across this continent and the next but...
I had really hoped that Sheldon Souray signing in Edmonton would help alieviate the problem that Edmonton has with nobody wanting to sign there. The player that said he wanted to stay didn't get to cause Nylander's wife screwed them over. It's a perfectly nice city, and I happen to like winter.