A remark in David Staples’ most recent post caught my eye. The whole post is worth reading – I never knew the story behind how the Canadiens ended up with the star crossed pick that they used on Doug Wickenheiser before – but there was one thing in particular that jumped out at me:
One final thought for now — when Lowe was considering signing a Restricted Free Agent last spring, he checked with the NHL to see if he could give up any first round draft pick in compensation, or if he had to give up the Oilers’ first pick. Of course, he found out he had to give up the Oilers’ pick (rather than, for instance, return the 2008 first round pick he had acquired from Anaheim in the Pronger trade.).
This ruling has tremendously negative consequences for weaker NHL teams. If a strong team like Detroit were to sign Dion Phaneuf this summer, it would have to give up its next four first round draft picks, which might not hurt so much, as Detroit tends to be a top team…
Staples is obviously right about this having tremendously negative consequences for weaker NHL teams but it’s the first bit, the bit about Lowe having checked with the NHL that disheartens me, because it’s evidence that tends to confirm something that I thought was right – these guys aren’t detail obsessed planning freaks. If they were, I’d think that they’d have known this since sometime in 2005.
As I assume is common knowledge amongst people who read this site (and I also assume it’s been common knowledge since shortly after the new CBA came out), you don’t need to get a ruling from the NHL on what draft picks you use – it says so right in the freaking CBA. It’s in Article 10.4; the relevant excerpt reads:
Clubs must use their own draft picks (being those awarded directly to the Club by the League for use by it in the Entry Draft, including such draft picks described in the first clause of this parenthetical that a Club has traded or encumbered, and subsequently reacquired or unencumbered.)
Clubs cannot acquire picks to use as compensation (with the exception being a Club’s own draft selections that are traded and then re-acquired).
I explained back when Lowe was extended how the Oilers hadn’t really played their cards properly when they signed Thomas Vanek to an offer sheet – they were “lucky” that Burke wasn’t astute enough to pick up on it and get Penner safely covered by team initiated arbitration prior to 5 p.m. that day.
Call me an idealist, but I’d like to think that Oilers management knows the CBA inside and out, that they’re looking for every single possible edge to get more value out of their players and to take advantage of other teams. You’re unlikely to ever get direct evidence for or against this propositon – it’s just a bunch of small pieces of evidence one way or the other. It’s tremendously depressing to cheer for a team with a marketing department that could convince the Pope that Caiaphas had the right idea and a hockey operations department that just doesn’t seem to be anywhere near cutting edge. This doesn’t need to be Lowe’s forte – you can structure your hockey operations departments in different ways, with GM’s having different skills – but you wonder why there isn’t someone in the organization who can recite the CBA backwards in the middle of the night when awoken from a drunken slumber.
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I’ve heard and seen some snarky media/blog exchanges in the hockey sites I pay attention to (in fairness, I’ve also had some very friendly email exchanges with media people.) Things seem a little rougher in the baseball world – according to Philadelphia Daily News writer Bill Conlin:
The only positive thing I can think of about Hitler’s time on earth–I’m sure he would have eliminated all bloggers.
The full story is here.