Tuesday, September 12, 2006
You Can't Legislate Stupidity (part 2)
The Philadelphia Flyers have signed Vancouver Canucks restricted free agent forward Ryan Kesler to an offer sheet. Sources tell TSN the deal is worth $1.9 million for one season.In fairness to everyone involved:
The Vancouver Canucks have seven days to match this offer, but sources have told TSN it is absolutely certain the Vancouver Canucks will match the offer sheet.
I don't know what's sillier. That Bobby Clarke thinks Kesler is worth $1.9 million per season or that Dave Nonis, after an offseason of posturing, is actually matching the offer.
- Bobby Clarke was well within the rules to send the offer sheet. (Though this doesn't make him less of an ass for doing so. See Jes Gőlbez for a more colorful way of saying this.)
- It would have been silly for Ryan Kesler not to sign it. (I know if someone offered to double my current salary, I'd sign in a second.)
- Even if it pushes the Canucks closer to the cap, Dave Nonis can't let one of the team's few NHL-ready prospects walk away over a relatively-small $1 million.
Here's how the impact will be felt.A 10-goal scorer coming out of his rookie season and with absolutely no leverage.
In Vancouver, the Canucks presented Kesler with a qualifying offer of $564,000, which is what his base salary was for last season. Extending that offer to Kesler protected the Canucks' rights to the player. Kesler's agent Kurt Overhardt and Nonis have been negotiating a two-year that would pay Kesler $825,000 this season and $850,000 next season. By all accounts, that negotiation was close to being complete when the Flyer offer sheet materialized on Tuesday.
The Canucks have a seven-day period to match the offer or take the compensation in the form of the second-round draft pick. But if they match the offer, and there's seemingly no doubt that they will, they cannot trade Kesler for a period of one year and must pay him a salary of $1.9 million, which is more than double what they expected to.
But the impact league-wide could be significant.
If the Canucks want to hold onto Kesler at the end of this season, they must extend him a qualifying offer of $1.9 million. That qualifying offer can be used as a comparable by other Group 2 players who file for salary arbitration.
''So the going rate for a young 10-goal scorer in this league is going to $1.9 million,'' an NHL GM said. ''We're starting a whole new inflation spiral. It's going to cost every team in this league. It's bad for all us. It's really bad business.''
Somewhere in Edmonton, Lupul is probably wishing he waited an extra day to sign his contract; somewhere in Russia, Zherdev is telling Doug McLean to shove his latest offer up you-know-where.
Earl Sleek of The Battle of California puts it nicely:
... I don’t particularly care about the specific player or the teams, it certainly is a disturbing omen of things to come. This ability for RFAs to gain leverage in holding out will certainly make it more expensive to hold young talent.Cue Tom Benjamin. (Hello Tom. Waiting for you to weigh in on this issue. Thanks.)
Where does that leave the Canucks?
Assuming Nonis indeed matches the offer and doesn't trade anyone from the roster, the team will begin the season in the same salary cap situation as last year - very close to it. If the Canucks choose to carry 21 players, they'll start the season with approximately $42.9 million commited to the cap; if the Canucks choose to carry 22 players, their amount commited to the cap will be closer to $43.5 million - so much for that $2 million cushion Nonis wanted.
Or should Nonis simply take the 2nd round draft pick and let Kesler go?
For at least the next couple of seasons, Brendan Morrison and Henrik Sedin will occupy the top two center spots on the team; unless Kesler's game dramatically improves in that time, he will most likely spend most of his time on the third line. And if there's anything the Canucks have an abundance of, it's third and fourth line forwards.
For now, Rick Rypien may be capable of filling that role; in a couple of seasons, Michael Grabner may be ready for full-time NHL duty. If Nonis is vindictive enough, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and RJ Umberger are free agents in a couple of seasons. I'm a big Kesler fan, but it's not like he's irreplacable.
Should he stay or should he go?
Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.
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