Jul 14, 2010, 12:00 PM EDT
In this free agent frenzy filled July, we often look at team building through a sober lens of numbers or – as fans – like we’re filling our plates at some hockey buffet table.
The “human element” is often lost in this process, especially for the far-from-superstar players. While it’s quite reasonable to imagine that the Ilya Kovalchuk situation comes down to money, market, team quality or a picky combination of all those factors, it’s a little different for the average NHL player.
One former hockey player turned scribe named Justin Bourne has become one of the best sources of insight for what a skater goes through. He shared some of his experiences as a far-from-sought-after free agent for USA Today.
It’s an odd feeling when your agent calls with options. What do you value the most this year? The city? Its location? The money? The opportunity? Any of the other 52,006 variables?
What matters most to each player is nowhere near the same. Maybe a single guy wants to live in a bigger city to have a social life. Maybe a family man wants to live closer to his hometown. Some guys want money, and some just want to get noticed. And while GMs don’t know exactly what will pique the interest of each player, sometimes that player won’t even be sure where his priorities are.
If you’ve ever read a “choose your own adventure” book, I’m sure you remember frequently making the wrong choice. It happens in reality, too. I chose to make a couple hundred bucks less a week in the ECHL to sign with a team that I thought provided a better path to the NHL. Lesson: Active players make lousy GMs.
There certainly are a lot of factors that play into a decision that could drastically alter the lives of these players. Perhaps that’s why the Patrick Marleaus of the world decide that there’s no place like home.
- Leafs sign Matthias — one year, $2.3 million 5
- Report: Kopitar, Kings in ‘early stages of negotiations’ for extension 5
- Arbitration filed: Holtby, Nyquist & Stepan highlight list released by NHLPA 12
- Report: Plotnikov paid $500K to get out of KHL contract 13
- Philadelphia signs ’15 first rounder Provorov 11
- Brandon Saad brings championship experience to Blue Jackets 22
- Sharks sign Joel Ward to three-year deal 25
- Sabres lock up O’Reilly through 2022-23 74
- Locked in: Columbus signs Saad to six-year, $36M deal 28
- Oilers sign McDavid to entry-level contract 29
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins (131)
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad; Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (93)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Sabres lock up O’Reilly through 2022-23 (74)