Nov 23, 2012, 5:36 PM EST
Forget the players, what about the poor general managers? If the owners get their way, the NHL’s new CBA – complete with maximum contract lengths and front-loading restrictions – will only serve to handcuff teams with a creative front office.
At least, that’s what Ray Whitney thinks.
“There are some incredibly smart GMs out there, guys like Ken Holland and Lou Lamoriello,” Whitney told ESPN.com on Friday. “They’re not allowed to say anything but what the league is trying to do now is say, ‘We don’t trust you GMs, we want to put in a system that tells you how to run your teams now. We’re going to cut your legs out. Kenny, I know you’ve got a genius mind when it comes to contracts and maneuvering things, but we’re not going to allow that anymore. We’re going to make it so the worst GM in the league can compete with you because your hands are tied.’”
The truth is, big-market teams love being able to throw their wallets around. Case in point, does anyone think the Flyers would’ve bothered trying to pry Shea Weber out of a place like Detroit? Of course not. The Red Wings would’ve matched a $110 million offer sheet without blinking. But Philadelphia knew the Predators would have to think about it. Deep pockets are a huge competitive advantage in pro sports.
Where Whitney’s argument could be challenged is the assumption that Holland is a genius when it comes to “contracts and maneuvering things.”
First off, we probably shouldn’t throw the word “genius” around when it comes to structuring NHL contracts. Offering money up front isn’t something that’s never been done in the history of business. That the league failed to anticipate back-diving contracts when it crafted the last CBA is, in retrospect, astonishing.
Secondly, let’s consider some of the contracts that Holland has handed out. Are the Red Wings really going to be better off in the long run with Henrik Zetterberg (32 years old), Johan Franzen (32), and Niklas Kronwall (31) signed until 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively? That’s one of those “guess we’ll have to wait and see” things. In that way, it’s sort of like buying a company with a pile of debt. Might work out great. Might be a disaster. The actual taking on debt part is easy though, especially if it’s not your money.
Of course, it’s not the Red Wings the NHL is worried about. If those contracts go south, Detroit will survive. The teams the NHL is worried about are the ones that can’t afford to operate in a market where players demand long-term, front-loaded contracts because teams like the Red Wings give them out.
At any rate, if Holland has been a “genius” at anything, it’s drafting and developing players. And regardless of what’s in the new CBA, that will remain a vital skill for GMs. As will hiring the right coach, selling free agents on the opportunity to win (not just make a lot of money), making trades, and creating the right mix of players.
Nov 26, 2014, 2:00 AM EST
Colorado has now won four of five.
Nov 26, 2014, 12:45 AM EST
Jackets and Oilers talking trade.
Nov 26, 2014, 12:05 AM EST
The Avs’ defenseman left the game and did not return.
Nov 25, 2014, 11:25 PM EST
The Oilers’ forward has had his share of knee injuries.
Nov 25, 2014, 10:29 PM EST
Spent time in Vancouver as a player and a coach.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:54 PM EST
Will not return due to a lower body injury.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:18 PM EST
Extends point streak to five games.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:11 PM EST
Remains in the game.
Nov 25, 2014, 8:45 PM EST
After 18 seasons, he’s done.
Nov 25, 2014, 8:00 PM EST
The 19-year-old rookie will be sticking in the NHL this season.
Nov 25, 2014, 7:45 PM EST
Chris Thorburn dropped the gloves with the Jackets tough guy.
Nov 25, 2014, 7:15 PM EST
He’s been a healthy scratch in three straight games.
Nov 25, 2014, 5:48 PM EST
Sharks forward has undergone months of rehab on his surgically-repaired knee.
Nov 25, 2014, 5:04 PM EST
“Let’s get real. Finding top-four defensemen, they’re not available,” says GM Dean Lombardi.
Nov 25, 2014, 4:35 PM EST
And rightly so.
Nov 25, 2014, 4:27 PM EST
Alex Mallet for Andrey Pedan, specifically.
Nov 25, 2014, 4:15 PM EST
Bojangles. That’s a funny name.
Nov 25, 2014, 3:31 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Nov 25, 2014, 3:31 PM EST
“I would rather fight than turtle or anything like that.”
Nov 25, 2014, 2:36 PM EST
This is… surprising.
- Video: Canucks honor Quinn with “O Danny Boy” 6
- Video: Stars’ Klingberg scores from center ice 4
- Report: Alfredsson retirement to be announced Dec. 4 5
- On the odds of fighting back after Thanksgiving 7
- Why are the Oilers still bad? Look at their drafting 21
- The Leafs are worth almost seven times the Panthers, says Forbes 20
- Isles make some history; Are the Flyers headed for trouble? 43
- Crosby, Malkin power Penguins, help Fleury grab 300th win 7
- Sooner than later? Bruins GM hopes Chara can return in 10-14 days 1
- With worst save percentage in NHL, Oilers fire goalie coach 22
- Video: Milan Lucic calls Dalton Prout one-punch ‘gutless’ (99)
- Prout drops Lucic: ‘As far as I was concerned we were engaged in a fight’ (88)
- The Leafs didn’t salute their fans last night, so that’s a thing now (79)
- Jack Johnson filed for bankruptcy, parents allegedly took advantage of him (58)
- Bruins’ Lucic expected to play against Habs after getting one-punched (Updated) (47)