Being a General Manager of an NHL Hockey team is quite similar to sitting down at a high rollers table at the Bellagio in Las Vegas and having a marathon session of no-limit hold'em poker versus some of the biggest and meanest sharks in the ocean.
With a Leafs team stuck in the bottom 5 of the league from the first day of the season, and after public proclamations of being aggressive at the draft and public and vocal assurances that he has built one of the better defensive units in the East.Â Additional proclamations that it would be reasonable to expect the Leafs to compete for the playoffs this year, spending right up to the salary cap, trading away the clubs next 2 1st round picks and trading away some of the organizations mostly highly thought of prospects for practically zero return, it is safe to say at this point, that if being an NHL General Manager were a game of poker, Mr Burke is "All In" and has absolutely zero chance of winning this round.Â He has been effectively cleaned out.
There is a silver lining however, as Mr Burke is flush, sitting on a recently signed multi-year, multi-million dollar deal and has an opportunity to buy back into the game and try again.
A dreadful 3-11-5 start for the Maple Leafs has everyone asking the same two questions. What the heck happened? And what the heck is the solution?
Years ago, we were all stunned when Islander GM Garth Snow handed goaltender Rick DiPietro an astounding 15 year contract back in 2005. Fast forward to present day, and this recent fad of handing out double digit term into a player's forties is very quickly starting to get out of hand. Detroit GM Ken Holland gives out 12 and 11 year contracts to Zetterberg and Franzen respectively, Chicago joins the party with a 12 year contract for Hossa (which is now being investigated by the league), and Philly decides it would like to ink Pronger through age 42. Last but not least, news broke earlier today of a shiny new 12 year extension for 30 year old goaltender Roberto Luongo. Well enough is enough. [more…]
This article is cross-posted from my site: www.checkingfrombehind.com. I thought I'd share it with you to explain the circumstances on why the NHL feels it is not a "legal" contract.
Almost a month after the alleged "errors" in their qualifyings of RFA players, the Chicago Blackhawks are faced with another possible problem, only this time they won't be losing players, they'll be losing draft picks and up to a $5M fine by the NHL. It seems their contract for UFC Marian Hossa, a significantly front-loaded 12 year deal worth $62.8M, is not in compliance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). How is that you ask?
Official Deal: Kubina + Tim Stapleton for Garnet Exelby + Colin Stuart.
Turns out it's Garnet Exelby + a few other parts coming back. Looks [more…]
Maple Leafs' GM Brian Burke, per the Toronto Star:
"We intend to be pushing the cap every year. We want to spend the money intelligently. We're Big Blue, we're going to spend to the cap."
Now, your initial reaction to that is probably one of surprise, given Burke's previous statements about a potential cap decline. Â Â Does that mean his statement today runs counter to the theory of a rebuilding effort?Â Â Â Â Not at all.
This proposed offer to purchase the struggling Phoenix Coyotes by Jim Balsillie may be a better possibility this time around. It may seem impossible to fathom another NHL club so close to its flagship franchise, the Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres, but it's not jurisdiction that's at the heart of the issue here.
It's the salary cap, revenue and a return to the dead puck era.
Couple of quick notes:
The conditional pick received in the Nik Antropov trade is determinant upon the Rangers' playoff success. While I'm awaiting confirmation from a team official, the pick seems to be conditioned upon the the following: If the Rangers advance beyond the Eastern Conference semi-finals, the Leafs will receive the Rangers' 4th round pick in 2010. I'll be the first to call the likelihood of that "very slim." Go Rangers!
The ongoing contract negotiations taking place between Brian Burke and Larry Kelly, Dominic Moore's agent, are more meaningful than face value. On the surface, trying to re-sign a player that is for all intents and purposes a third line center (while a very good one at that) isn't going to make or break the franchise, unlike the contract situations currently unfolding with Jay Bouwmeester, Marian Gaborik and their respective general managers.
When it comes to trade rumours, generally the first thing we look at is the salary cap, and how much cap space the teams in question have available.Â But how important is the cap, in order for potential trades to become reality?
Just six months ago many a grapevine was carrying rumor of NHL expansion while I lamented the integrity of a revenue bound salary cap. Even into the new season few had foreseen the sheer gravity of the global economic downturn and its impact on jobs, housing, businesses and every facet of life down to sport. Now as international markets stutter into a depression that many an analyst believe could change the face of modern capitalism forever, the NHL seems to remain steadfast in addressing itâ€™s minor successes as opposed to itâ€™s crippling and potentially devastating financial model.
With an abundance of salary and injuries plaguing the league all at once, the Leafs have quickly become friendly territory for other franchises to seek out.