Friday, July 6, 2007

Vanek Wins Lottery!

1) That's what it has to feel to be Mr. Vanek this afternoon after receiving the first real high profile offer sheet seen in the NHL since the Sakic/Federov attempts back in the late 90's. Not a huge surprise either. We at FAUXRUMORS, and to be fair, several other sites, have postulated just such a offer was likely in the current market. First we will deal with the item immediately at hand, then will go deeper into the more important aspects; What this will mean for the rest of the league now and the next few years.

2) To review the Edmonton Oilers made second year pro Thomas Vanek a 7 year 50 million dollar offer. Vanek had a very good offensive season with Buffalo, BUT he was but one part of a very deep offense. He was not the 'go to guy' on a team filled with offensive talent. Also he was a virtual no-show in the playoffs. Now at that salary he will be forced in essence to become a top line man and have the pressure to produce.

3) Did Buffalo make the right move to match?

  • Well, they had no choice really. From a marketing perspective they already lost 2 of their marquis guys in Briere and Drury. To lose Vanek now would be a huge hit at a bad time. We believe that if they had retained Drury as they wanted, Vanek would have been considered expendable.
  • We also wonder why the rush to announce that they will match. We would have let Lowe swing in the wind a few days and announce the decision at the very last possible moment. It would prevent Edmonton from doing anything free agent wise for a full week!
  • Strictly speaking we believe it was NOT a good move for Buffalo to match the offer. For the reason already outlined, we do NOT believe Vanek will live up to the salary/increased expectations. His contract will make it impossible to trade Vanek if he should fall flat. We feel Edmonton would NOT be a playoff team even with Vanek, and as such Buffalo may have received one or more 'Lottery picks' in the deal.

4) So what are the other ramifications?

  • First, the 'genie is out of the bottle' in a way. As alluded to earlier GM's have held back from making such offers to RFA's for almost 8+ years. We fully expect this will embolden other GM's to use this option both as a way to get talent, but as important, as a weapon against rival clubs. Don't be surprised to see Parise in NJ, Lundqvist in NY, etc get offers in the next few days/weeks.
  • The GM's of Pittsburgh and DC for example can NOT be happy this evening. Early this spring there were reports that Ross/Pearson/Hart Trophy winner Sid Crosby would sign an extension with the Pens for about 6 mil. There can be no way that his agent would allow that with the market as it is now. By next summer when Sid the Kid is a RFA, it is conceivable that he could easily get a 9-10 mil/year deal if the Pens don't step up first with a much larger offer than 6 mil. The same can be said of the Caps with their resident superstar Alex Ovechkin. Both may take a small 'home town discount' but no way will they settle for less than what Vanek is set to receive!

5) No matter, we are very happy here at FAUXRUMORS! The major UFAs may have signed, but there is no telling how many or who will be the next RFA to get an offer. Its staying quite interesting! We're just happy we're NOT an NHL GM. Things just got a bit more complicated this afternoon. As always, stay tuned for the latest!


Shuck-A-Luck said...

Wow, overall I think I agree with most of what you said.

I do think the Sabres did have a choice. They could have walked away from Vanek, grabbed the 4 draft picks and picked up something else on the Free Agency market. There isn't much out there that would have competed with Vanek, but it was still something I thought the Sabres would take some time to explore.

This deal scares me as a hockey fan. We now have a RFA who played 2 years in the league, had 1 very good year and now commands a salary that puts him in the top echelon of the league?

The problem for the Sabres is they need somet help now, not in 5 years when they get the final 1st rounder. You speculate the picks could be a lottery pick, but simply missing the playoffs does not guarantee a lottery pick. 14/30 teams miss the playoffs. Just because the Oilers miss the playoffs doesn't mean they will have a top 3 or top 5 pick, it means they would have a top 14 pick. It also opens the door for the Oilers to pick up some talent i n the next UFA season and make the playoffs and further devalue the picks.

Bottom line is the Sabres had no choice because they position they put themselves in (losing Drury and Briere already). The safer deal for them was to sign Vanek. The fans of Buffalo wanted it. People must remember that Vanek didn't just come out of nowhere, he was drafted 5th overall in 2003.

The Dark Ranger said...

There is so much discussion about how and what teams took advantage of the last couple of free-agency weeks -- because of big dollars and big city influence.

Sportsline did a piece outlining how the League screwed up and this new system was to protect the little guy-team, the Buffalo, the Nashville. I guess there always has to be a story and something to write about -- but perhaps the real and more telling story lies with the much pressured GENERAL MANAGER.

I've read Briere quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer outlining how excited he is to be in Philly, but extremely disappointed in that his employer - the Buffalo Sabres organization - never suggested his importance on the team and how they wanted him back. Never. He read about himself in the papers, and quotes from his coach, assistants, GM, owners, but never once did they actually approach the guy. Until two days before free agency..., by that time he had decided to hit free agency and shop himself a bit.. when in reality all he really wanted was (yes, a big paycheck) to STAY IN BUFFALO AND WIN THE CUP. He said it. And when the time came to negotiate, they low-balled him. What the frack?

The fact that my Blueshirt Rangers got two of the top guys has to do with exposure and an Original Six big city team with a newly found heart. (and 50 million), and even our dear stubborn overbloated GM now has to convince our star and unsigned players to make less than the new star strangers in Blue. Bad management on Glen's part.

Buffalo had a better shot at maintaining, not Drury (he was gone from the start), but Briere and now the stretch....Gomez wanted to stay a DEVIL....he said it too. Lucky Lou believed in his system more than the individual and this is what happens.

This argument that the cap system doesn't work is horseshit -- someone should just do a story on a case of bad management and the coach that 'pats you on the back and tells you how important you are to the team'.


Jibblescribbits said...

Yeah As I mentioned in my own blog, I'ts a coincidence that the big market teams had money to spend. It's also a coincidence that these two smaller market teams have incompetent GM's who play the "we're small market WAAAAHHHHH!!!!!" card a lot

Antzmarching said...

Jibble writes: these two smaller market teams have incompetent GM's who play the "we're small market WAAAAHHHHH!!!!!" card a lot

1. Okay, good point here - The incompetent, Georgie McFly, will NOT be able to feed the 12 loyal Crap fans that his team should be given a break because they "gave a good effort..." All that "effort" talk will not hold any water this year... The Craps now have TWO legitimate NHL caliber lines, a decent D, and an aging but still effective Kolzig... Fighting for that 8th spot is not out of the question...

2. And how bout that Vanek guy... Sophomore year - great regular campaign, invisible in the postseason, GM gets rid of two of its stars, and now Tommy is in the driver's seat thanks to the Oiler brass... Wow!!! Its frightening, as Faux said, how much the Ovechkins and Crosbys of the world will be worth when their time comes... Syd could get 10-12 mil a year over an extended time...

3. And finally, as much as I do not like the Rag$, they did a great job in both the draft and in the free agent market... Despite their sub-par defense, I still consider them a serious threat in the Eastern Conference... King Hank can and will offset their blue line liabilities...

Antzmarching said...

Antz errs: Syd could get 10-12 mil a year over an extended time...

Hey dummy, his name is spelled SIDNEY... Been hanging out with Stacy too much lately???

Dear Lord Stanley said...

How about a cap for individual player salaries? I have no idea what it would be based on or what the limitations would be, of course.

Shuck-A-Luck said...

There is a cap on individual player salaries. I don't remember the actual amount, but there is a maximum %age of the cap that can be spent on one player.

Shuck-A-Luck said...

Ok. 20% of the cap can to any one player. 20% of 50 Million is $10 Million!

Sauce said...

Lundqvist will not see an offer sheet. He's going to arbitration.

The offer sheet is over-rated. Edmonton never expected to sign Vanek. But by getting the sheet signed and having him inked with Buffalo for all that dough, Lowe did a good job of boosting the arb awards to be handed out later this month. So when Henrik gets an arb award that the Rangers can't fit under their cap, the blueshirts will have to say good-bye to Mr. Avery. And Mr. Prucha. And Mr. Shanahan.

Shuck-A-Luck said...

It will be interesting to see if the Arbitrator uses the Vanek signing or ignores it as an anomaly.

As for Prucha, he is already signed for 07/08 (1.6 Mil).


1) A necessary move by the Rangers to elect to send Hank to arbitration. Unlike when a player chooses arbitration, the team is BOUND by the decision and can not walk away(Not that the Rangers would)
2) Its still possible they won't get that far and a long term deal will be ironed out before the arbitartion. Else both sides will be back to this point next summer
3) In the mean time it does kinda put their other FA's in limbo. Might not be a bad time for a GM to send Mr. Avery an offer sheet?

Sauce said...

Faux - Avery can't sign an offer sheet. Sather is taking him to arbitration, which precludes all offer sheets. It's likely why Avery and Lundqvist were put on the arb list to begin with... to protect them. But I don't think the arbitrator will view the Vanek deal as an anomaly. The terms were essentially agreed to by TWO different GMs. I expect the arb awards to be pretty big, and I expect that the Rangers will be at least bumping up against the cap, if not breaking thru. Expect them to make some moves to dump salary. Sure looks like Shanahan's status is "iffy". Maybe it's time for the Rangers and their fans to put the cup down for the time being.


1) hadn't heard about Avery going to arbitration. Arbitration is a doubled edged sword:
a) It does prevent any offer sheets
b) The team risks a very big award(Avery had a break out season last year) The Rangers can NOT 'walk away' from what the arbitor 'gives' Avery or Lundqvist. He concievably could get 3+ mil if they look at like-players. (Toronto's Darcy Fucker for example)
c) We're told the process many times creates bad feelings. As an Isles follower you might recall how then GM Mike Milbury made his top goalie at the time, Tommy Salo cry!

Sauce said...

Ah yes!... I recall the Salo's tears with sad humor.

The Rangers can't "walk away" from Avery's salary after arbitration, but they might be "forced" to trade him if htey can't fit him under the cap. Of course, any cap overage gets subtracted from next year's cap, but that would make the Gomez/Drury contract handcuffs even tighter!!!

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