• A post I’ll reference when Hall/MPS need new deals

    by Tyler Dellow • September 27, 2010 • Uncategorized • 70 Comments

    I will, in deference to the readers of this site, do my best not to harp on endlessly about this topic for the next three years. I’ve kind of made the point in passing though and I want to make it squarely before the season starts: neither Taylor Hall nor Magnus Pajaarvi should make the Oilers this year.

    I’ve made the argument about burning years off the entry level contracts of rookies before. It’s a simple enough proposition: you only get three years with these guys on entry level contracts and you might as well use them when the player in question is a stronger player. As I’ve pointed out before, on teams like Detroit and New Jersey, teenagers virtually never make the team. There was lots of talk, when the Oilers installed Tambellini as general manager, that they were moving towards more of a Detroit model. I made this point then, but there’s more to doing what Detroit does than having a lot of people in your management group. They do smart things, like not forcing teenagers into the lineup and wasting their cheap years on 45 point seasons.

    There seem to be basically two arguments against sending Hall down and delaying MPS for a year, although they probably apply more to Hall. The first is the development argument. In essence, the argument goes, if you send Hall down, his development might stall and he’ll stagnate. The second relates to their feelings towards the team and whether sending them down would effectively poison the wells. I don’t find either of these arguments compelling.

    The development argument seems to me to be without much in the way of supporting evidence. Of course, the contrary position isn’t well supported either. It’s an unknown. Nobody knows one way or the other. With that said, it strikes me that players who were better than Taylor Hall is now have played their age 17 seasons in major junior. Was Sidney Crosby’s development materially affected by playing his age 17 season in junior? I can’t prove that it wasn’t but he turned out alright. Eric Lindros spent his age 18 season wandering through the OHL and playing for Team Canada against god knows what level of competition. His development wasn’t undone by it. Prior to the NHL altering its draft policies in 1979, of course, no teenagers were playing in the NHL – they spent their age 18 and 19 seasons playing against other 18 and 19 year old players (with the exception of those who went to the WHA). You can’t really appeal to NHL history to support this practice because it wasn’t the practice until 1979. This argument is nothing more than more speculation either way and it’s a little mystifying that those who subscribe to it are permitted to do so without offering some evidence.

    I’ve suggested in the past that teams like the Oilers could use the threat of a non-return of Taylor Hall to junior as leverage to have his junior team renounce his rights in exchange for a fee. Even if they didn’t want to get that brass knuckled, they could surely negotiate all sorts of access to him by their development coach and training personnel. I would guess that a junior team would be willing to go a great distance to make the Oilers happy in terms of doing what they want for Hall’s development.

    As far as Hall’s feeling towards the team goes, three years is a long time when you’re dealing with an 18 or 19 year old. The fear, as I understand it, is that he’d become disenchanted with the Oilers and demand a trade at some point. I don’t particularly buy this. To start with, holding guys back for contractual reasons is common in baseball. It happened to Evan Longoria, for example. Longoria subsequently signed a long term contract with the Tampa Bay Rays. Jason Spezza had his own dispute with the Senators when he was sent down, first to the OHL and then the AHL at the start of his career, most likely for contractual reasons. He’s still in Ottawa.

    If Taylor Hall wants to play NHL hockey, he has no choice but to start his career in Edmonton, unless he’s willing to wait until he’s 27. When it comes time to get him signed to a new contract, he’ll be considering a variety of factors. One of those will, undoubtedly, be how he feels he’s been treated by the team. I would guess though that, as important as some squabble that’s three or four years in the past will be the hockey experience that he’s having in Edmonton and what he thinks of the prospects for the future. The teams that Longoria and Spezza signed long term with were teams that they could feel comfortable with, teams that they could reasonably believe were on the cusp of winning.

    Which leads to my final point. By delaying Hall and MPS for a year, the Oilers will be in a better position to be competitive during the third year of their contracts, creating a team that they want to be part of going forward. This season can be safely written off, I think. While anything can happen and the Oilers could make the playoffs, it seems exceedingly unlikely to me. What’s more they’ve got some bad contracts to deal with. Allah’s Beloved is in place until 2013. Souray has another two years to go. As it stands, that’s just over $9MM in contracts tied up in guys who aren’t really worth it. That money could be usefully spent on other players, players who might prove to be worth their price, creating a better team.

    Barring a trade or jail, the Khabibulin money will be on the cap for the life of the Hall/MPS ELC’s if they start this year. By delaying them a year, in the third year of their contracts, Khabibulin’s money is gone and the Oilers will have a starting goaltender who isn’t fragile and in his late thirties, which is something of a pre-condition of success. They would also be in a situation in which their ELC would expire in the same year that Horcoff’s NMC/NTC expires and he’s got a salary of $3MM on a $5.5MM cap hit, which should make him pretty tradeable.

    What’s more, the Oilers have a lot of other young players to still sort through on their roster, guys whose contracts are running. Amongst the forwards, Jordan Eberle, Linus Omark, Gilbert Brule and Andrew Cogliano will all be competing for minutes and opportunity with Hall and MPS. I suspect that Hall and MPS are better players than Eberle and Omark, at least, at this point and quite possibly better than Brule and Cogliano as well. I’m pretty convinced that Brule and Cogliano aren’t top two six fowards on good NHL teams but they’re assets, if ones of questionable value. If MPS and Hall are on the team, they’re probably going to be taking minutes from those four guys to a certain extent. Internal competition is all fine and well but, as I go on about, this is an efficiency contest. There’s a cost to giving opportunity to Hall and MPS in that it reduces opportunity for the other forwards on the team. Without that opportunity, it’s harder for the four guys I’ve named to prove themselves (if there’s anything to prove) and the return on a trade would be less. If, as seems possible, Brule and Cogliano posted 20 goal seasons, they’ll be more interesting to other teams than if they each put up ten goals.

    To the extent that those guys could use an opportunity this year to make themselves into more valuable commodities for trades, that costs the Oilers. Delaying Hall and MPS costs the Oilers nothing but gives them another year in which to make time available to Cogliano and Brule and to provide opportunity to Eberle and Omark to see what they can do. Maybe, ultimately, it provides them with some players who can be turned into defencemen or a goalie who isn’t either terrible or awaiting the outcome of his appeal. Hockey talent is a scarce resource. When the Oilers have an opportunity to groom some of it at the NHL level or enhance its value in a trade at a negligible cost, they should take it if they want to ultimately be an elite team.

    The Oilers have talked a lot this summer about doing things the right way and changing how they approach the business of running a hockey team. Quite frankly, I don’t believe they’re all of the way there yet. I haven’t heard any discussion anywhere about the costs of MPS and Hall being on the team this year, only about the positives. Installing Hall and MPS on this team now will come with all sorts of costs to the team and result in all sorts of invisible limitations being placed on the heights that this team can reach in four or five years. If, after serious thought about those costs, a team decides to bear them, that’s one thing, but I’ve got a hard time believing that the Oilers have seriously considered this, if only because the two big reasons to have them on the team this year seem so vague and ill-defined and the costs of doing so are so clear cut.

    As MPS has already spent one year outside of the NHL since being drafted and because Hall is a late birthday in the same year – he’s only seven months younger – it realistically only makes sense to hold them back one more year. If Hall was held back another year, his entry level contract wouldn’t slide, although the Oilers would still be entitled to seven years from him. This is the last I’ll say about this at any length until the Oilers have to pay Hall and MPS in three years but I’m reasonably certain that they’re making a mistake here (assuming, as I am, that they both ultimately make the team.) They’re giving away an edge and they’re limiting the prospective return on guys like Cogliano. This can’t be how Detroit would do it.

    About Tyler Dellow

    70 Responses to A post I’ll reference when Hall/MPS need new deals

    1. Hawerchuk
      September 27, 2010 at

      I think we could easily go through the top 3 picks over the last 30 years and easily show that there’s no negative impact to spending age 18 in a league other than the NHL.

      Some egs:
      Lafontaine, Lindros, Heatley, Spezza, Modano, Niedermayer, Jovanovski, Berard, Sundin, Yashin, Redden, Phillips, Jokinen…many more, my eyes are tired

    2. Tach
      September 27, 2010 at

      All very well and logical Tyler. But however will Mr. Katz convince the City to fund a new arena when he doesn’t bring out his new young stars to draw the spotlight 41 nights a year?

      Want to bet on whether Hall and MPS burn a contract year this year? Even odds they each play north of 40 NHL games to make it even more generous than Hall’s 9 game tryout limit. If one or the other is under we’ll call it a tie. Both over, you owe me a Flames jersey. Both under, I’ll send you an Oilers one.

    3. September 27, 2010 at

      I’m 110% in agreement. If I were king for a day, Hall and MPS would both spend the year in junior/OKC to continue developing and for the contractual issues you’ve brought up.

      However, since the Oilers are clearly more preoccupied with fanbase optics and building an arena than they are about icing a competitive team in 2014, the chances of both of those guys not being in the lineup opening night are zero.

    4. Julian
      September 27, 2010 at

      Not much to add, but at least Gagner’s new contact isn’t that much higher than his entry level deal was for. 1.6M entry level hit and 2.2M current hit.

      Of course, he’ll be hitting UFA two years earlier than if they’d kept him down.

      I’ve said a few times that the Oilers have done the easy part of the Pitts/Chicago model. They’ve sucked and gotten some good draft picks and some quality that way. That’s the easy part, now comes the difficult part, the putting together a quality team that over performs it’s cap hit. Thus far, it doesn’t look like they’re on the right track.

    5. September 27, 2010 at

      Tyler, I mostly agree.

      But poisoning the well could be a problem with a high profile kid like Hall. What if Hall publically demanded a trade before we even signed him? (Pulling a Lindros.) He says he doesn’t want to play in a crap place like Edmonton. He’d rather play for the Leafs. If I were the kid, and the Oil wouldn’t play me, I’d do it.

      Certainly, we could’ve waited on MPS. Ideally, he should play the whole year in the AHL, or back in the SEL, but c’est la vie.

    6. Quain
      September 27, 2010 at

      Yeah, I agree. I think there’s always going to be non-hockey concerns that end up trumping this kind of thought (poisoning the well, pissing off the fanbase, no free arena, etc.) when it probably shouldn’t, but oh well. I think you could write a script that cushions a lot of the negativity when you inevitably move Hall back to junior, but given the Souray fiasco I have no confidence that Tambellini could pull it off.

      My issue, once you take Hall/MPS being sure things for this roster as gospel, is that Tambellini made zero moves to cushion their ascent or put us in the best possible position to win if the kids roll sevens. Add a guy like Moore on a one year deal, add a Frolov, bring Souary back in, pickup a real goaltender. Easy things to do that raise the average level of this team and make it so that, a) the kids are less exposed and b) make it so that the playoffs are a possibility if they aren’t complete sieves.

      Even if the plan is to tank, there were no moves made to help with that. Khabibulin is mediocre, but he’s not JDD or DD-level horrendous. The forward talent is high enough, assuming a more normal level of injury. The back-end isn’t even a complete disaster. I can’t see this team being as bad as last year unless Renney plays JDD 60 games and a couple of the top guys get hurt early.

      So now we’re just blowing ELC years on another lost year. I’m so excited!

    7. Tyler Dellow
      September 27, 2010 at

      What if Hall publically demanded a trade before we even signed him?

      As long as we can get control of the time machine technology that he uses to do this, I’m willing to run this risk.

    8. Triumph
      September 27, 2010 at

      I do wonder if you can save more money on the 2nd contract by doing things this way. I happen to think you can, though there’s really no way to prove it. If Hall doesn’t have a super breakout year by the end of his first contract (super-breakout here being something like 35 G, 80 P), the Oilers could get him on a much cheaper 4 year deal than if he does have a Stamkos sort of season. Look what happened to e.g. Marc Staal. Staal’s a great defenseman without great boxcars and no arbitration rights. Clearly, given how the Oilers are run, this would be accidental.

      Also, your post sets up a rather false dichotomy, given that Detroit and New Jersey never draft high enough to have the sort of players on which to burn EL years. The Devils are about to do it this year with Jacob Josefson, however.

    9. September 27, 2010 at

      did he really say that he didn’t want to play in crap place like edmonton?

    10. dawgbone
      September 27, 2010 at

      Whether you save on the 2nd contract or not isn’t the point. I’d argue you probably don’t save any money on the 2nd contract. Chances are he’ll have more leverage playing from 20-22 than he would playing from 18-20. He’d be more ready in the former, and probably have better counting numbers.

      I think the point is when you have to start paying that 2nd contract out, as well as whether you want 2 shit years out of a kid starting at 18 or 2 prime years from 25 to 27 at about the same amount of money.

    11. September 27, 2010 at

      Interesting argument, at least on paper (or whatever you call this hopeless little screen). However … there are also certain economic realities that prevail on the income side of the balance sheet. The Oilers are banking on the youngsters to fill the building and keep the fan base interested. You may not feel it way down there in Toronto, but there’s an enthusiasm in this city right now which is wholly incommensurate with a 30th place club, and it surrounds the incoming talent. Somehow I don’t think a season ticket campaign based on “Embrace the Suck” would resonate.

    12. Vic Ferrari
      September 27, 2010 at

      Jonathon Willis forwarded similar thinking on the Oilers Nation message board the other day. I had a quick scan through the responses, and aside from speeds and one other, they were fervently opposed to the idea. Robin Brownlee even set down his herbal magic cigarette long enough to cluck his tongue via his keypad.

      Oiler fans need something to cheer about. The new kids are that something. Especially now that the shine has worn off of Gagner, Cogliano, Smid and Nilsson. There is genuine giddiness amongst the fanbase right now.

    13. Triumph
      September 27, 2010 at

      Whether you save on the 2nd contract or not isn’t the point. I’d argue you probably don’t save any money on the 2nd contract. Chances are he’ll have more leverage playing from 20-22 than he would playing from 18-20. He’d be more ready in the former, and probably have better counting numbers.

      Let’s suspend the fiction that Taylor Hall is going to spend 2 more years not in the NHL. That’s not happening. One of the reasons why it won’t happen is because Tambellini is not going to be the general manager of this team in 8 years, and he knows that – planning for 8 years down the road is a good way to get yourself fired 8 months down the road. Keeping a player who will likely be a 25-25-50 sort of player in 2011-12 away from a struggling Oilers team would almost certainly be a disaster.

      What we’re left with is a Hall ending his EL contract at 20 or 21, and being a UFA either in 2017 or 2018. I think that if things break right for the Oilers, by burning an EL year this year, they could save between $5M and $10M on a 4 year contract for Hall. This is especially more likely in light of the talent he’ll be surrounded with.

    14. Tyler Dellow
      September 27, 2010 at

      If Hall doesn’t have a super breakout year by the end of his first contract (super-breakout here being something like 35 G, 80 P), the Oilers could get him on a much cheaper 4 year deal than if he does have a Stamkos sort of season.

      I’m by no means an expert on negotiation but if I was advising Hall and he kind of had a meh first three years, my advice would be to not sign the four year deal.

    15. Vic Ferrari
      September 27, 2010 at

      Eric said:

      did he really say that he didn’t want to play in crap place like edmonton?

      Eric, I just did a quick google search and found this quote from respected internet commenter kris:

      Hall publically demanded a trade before we even signed him … He says he doesn’t want to play in a crap place like Edmonton. He’d rather play for the Leafs.

      Holy crap, we’ve got a story breaking here. Hold my calls and get Strachan on the red phone, pronto!

    16. Tyler Dellow
      September 27, 2010 at

      The Oilers are banking on the youngsters to fill the building and keep the fan base interested. You may not feel it way down there in Toronto, but there’s an enthusiasm in this city right now which is wholly incommensurate with a 30th place club, and it surrounds the incoming talent. Somehow I don’t think a season ticket campaign based on “Embrace the Suck” would resonate.

      Oh I can tell that there’s an enthusiasm. With that said, Eberle looks like he’ll put some asses in the seats and there’s no reason to hold him back. Linus is intriguing. You don’t need to burn all of your guys at once. Hell, they might be better off holding back Hall and MPS to ensure that there’s some more hope to sell next year.

    17. Triumph
      September 27, 2010 at

      I’m by no means an expert on negotiation but if I was advising Hall and he kind of had a meh first three years, my advice would be to not sign the four year deal.

      tough to do that when the other options are a QO or hope for an offer sheet.

    18. Vic Ferrari
      September 27, 2010 at

      I realize that the main purpose of this post is just to consolidate your thoughts on the issue. Ideas that you’ve already expressed many times.

      The tenth paragraph is a terrific point though, and one I’ve not read before. This is the bit about Brule, Cogliano et al suffering in counting numbers due to opportunity lost to the new kids.

      That’s a really valid point, I think. I’m sure most fans want to see the new rookies put in a position to have scoring success. The problem is that it’s a zero sum game. For every extra bit of favourable icetime (combinations of O-zone faceoffs, good linemates, weaker opposition,of course PP time and esp 5v3 PP time) … every instance that you give that to one player you are giving equally tough icetime to someone else.

      Some poor buggers are going to get buried here.

    19. Gerry
      September 27, 2010 at

      Disagree, these guys are ready to play now! MPS has played 3 years in SEL! Hall is ready for the next level, period & Eberle has proven at the worlds & AHL level he’s ready. Will there be bumps in the road, of course there will but these guys look more & more like Toews & Kane then anybody else in my opinion & in two years could be challenging.

    20. Gerald
      September 27, 2010 at

      I’m by no means an expert on negotiation but if I was advising Hall and he kind of had a meh first three years, my advice would be to not sign the four year deal.

      Such advice would tend to run contrary to the advice of most agents these days, at least as reflected by the practice of many high-profile NHLers. There is a pronounced tendency to mitigate risk (and leave many potential dollars on the table) by negotiating longer-term contracts. Something to do with the overall economic certainty, I am wagering, but the reasons are irrelevant for this purpose.

      If faced with a QO or a longer-term contract, no agent worth his salt will dismiss the longer-term option as out-of-hand as you appear. What a team is doing at that point (prior to UFA) is buying out the risk inherent in arbitration. That uncertainty is higher – for both parties – when a player is not as far along the development path.

      I have long thought that the usual focus of the media and others on the two issues that you outline is ill-placed. for the former, there will never be any way to know, and for the second that is nothing that money and a decent team cannot cure, in spades.

    21. September 27, 2010 at

      herbal magic cigarette

      Vic plays word association football. :D

    22. Tyler Dellow
      September 27, 2010 at

      Such advice would tend to run contrary to the advice of most agents these days, at least as reflected by the practice of many high-profile NHLers.

      I think you’d have a hard time convincing me that that’s the case with high draft picks who don’t really wow people in their first few years. I’m not talking about Ovechkin or Kane or Toews type guys. I’m talking about Cogliano type players, Gagner type guys.

      The tenth paragraph is a terrific point though, and one I’ve not read before. This is the bit about Brule, Cogliano et al suffering in counting numbers due to opportunity lost to the new kids.

      Yeah, that was the one bit I thought was somewhat original. It won’t apply in all cases but the Oilers have a pile of somewhat interesting young guys even before we get to Hall/MPS. If they’ve decided there’s no chance of a return, fine but I’m not so sure that they have.

    23. Tyler Dellow
      September 27, 2010 at

      If faced with a QO or a longer-term contract, no agent worth his salt will dismiss the longer-term option as out-of-hand as you appear. What a team is doing at that point (prior to UFA) is buying out the risk inherent in arbitration. That uncertainty is higher – for both parties – when a player is not as far along the development path.

      The problem, when it comes to the guys a step down the ladder, I think, is that the price the teams would be willing to gamble and the price that the player would be willing to sell his future for is just too far apart. Five to ten years of top of the RFA market money is one thing; something less is quite another.

      Take Gagner. If he turned into an 80 point guy or ended up a 50 point guy, I wouldn’t be stunned. The pay levels for those guys are oceans apart though. I suggested a contract structure earlier this year for him on a long term deal that I think would make sense for the Oilers…who knows whether he’d be willing to sign it though.

    24. freeze
      September 27, 2010 at

      It wouldn’t surprise me if Tambo was banking on a new CBA to offer some sort of protection or loophole that will allow the team to keep all these kids at a reasonable rate.

    25. Triumph
      September 27, 2010 at

      Take Gagner. If he turned into an 80 point guy or ended up a 50 point guy, I wouldn’t be stunned. The pay levels for those guys are oceans apart though. I suggested a contract structure earlier this year for him on a long term deal that I think would make sense for the Oilers…who knows whether he’d be willing to sign it though.

      I doubt it. Still, if Gagner does become a 65 point player this year, he’s a bargain for this year and next. If he doesn’t, he’s still probably a bargain. Under this short-contract scenario, there’s still a high possibility of getting a bargain player.

    26. September 27, 2010 at

      It’s hard to argue your overall point, but the ‘decreased opportunity for other forwards’ argument is only valid from an asset management standpoint if we assume that those players’ value will increase with more opportunity.

      Isn’t it also possible that some of those players have perceived values on the market that are higher than their actual values? GMs overvalue potential all the time. Maybe more opportunity for Cogliano diminishes his value instead of increasing it.

    27. godot10
      September 27, 2010 at

      Hockey players are human beings, not robots. In general, your argument is correct, but there are extenuating circumstances.

      First, I believe that players should play if they are ready. In general, you make everyone take all the steps, like Tambellini did with Eberle, but he got Eberle some extra “summer school” advanced training i.e. 20 games in the AHL, and a WC invitation. Most every prospects will likely have to take all the steps, except for the exceptions (probably Hall and Paajarvi).

      With Hall, the situation in Windsor has dramatically changed, and there is really nothing left for him to prove in junior. Progress requires new challenges. Hall is a human being, not a robot. It is unfortunate the AHL is not available, but it just means Renney has to bring the player along slowly, like MacT did with Gagner.

      I think the Paajarvi decision will be based on whether he is ready or not
      Paarjavi has been playing with men and living on his own for two years. He is not a guy coming out of junior living with a billet.

      The other extenuating factor in favor of playing Hall and Paajarvi this year is that Hemsky and Penner are here for the full season to take the harderst minutes and the focus of the opposition. If you delay, they might not be around. And both Hemsky and Penner will be more inclined to re-sign if they “bond” with the young guys, and get a stronger sense of the future potential of the team.

    28. spOILer
      September 27, 2010 at

      Great post, Tyler.

      Unfortunately we do not have the info the Oilers have w.r.t. the reKhab and Souray contracts (will reKhab be unable to play in Canada; is Souray deal-able, will he consider retirement if not), although we will know a lot more with hindsight once the ELCs expire.

      Nor do we know the present value of Cogs or Brule.

      But as a general point, I have no problem with sending Hall back to Jrs. or, if possible, to Europe to play a year in the SEL. And I definitely agree that playing the kids will work against the value of Cogs and Brule going forward.

    29. doritogrande
      September 27, 2010 at

      There was lots of talk, when the Oilers installed Tambellini as general manager, that they were moving towards more of a Detroit model. I made this point then, but there’s more to doing what Detroit does than having a lot of people in your management group. They do smart things, like not forcing teenagers into the lineup

      I get what you’re saying, but the Detroit model began by playing youngsters once upon a time. Steve Yzerman was in the NHL by age 18, and I think it’s fair to say that both team and player came out of that decision happy.

      We can reference the current Detroit model and so forth as much as we want, but said model is alive today because their kids twenty years ago became team veterans, forcing today’s kids down the depth chart.

    30. Daniel
      September 27, 2010 at

      1. In general, I believe that you should put out the best team possible regardless of the players’ ages. From a developmental standpoint, I don’t particularly think another year of junior will benefit Hall as he has nothing left to accomplish in junior and MPS has played against men for a few seasons now, so he should be ready to handle an NHL season as well. The Oilers need to make them earn it though. If Hall and MPS both play well enough to earn spots on the team, I say let them play.

      2. You do have a point that other Oilers players like Cogliano or Brule could use a year to increase their value. However, increased value by playing more without Hall and Paajarvi on the roster is not a guarantee. They could have a bad season, get injured, etc. You could also argue that their production and trade values would actually increase by getting to play with more talented players like Hall and Paajarvi.

      3. In the end though, the Oilers should do what is best for each player’s development, regardless of financial decisions. You’re looking at it from a financial perspective, but it should be looked at from a developmental perspective. This team has sold out its regular season tickets already and only has $54M on the cap (less if they can deal Souray), so finances shouldn’t be a huge issue for this year. Perhaps the Oilers could save a few million (whether now or on their RFA contracts) by cutting MPS and Hall this year, but isn’t it worth paying a little more for a better player?

      You point to guys like Lindros and Spezza to show how an extra year in junior or the minors didn’t hurt either player’s development, but how do you know? Sure, they turned out great, but who is to say Lindros wouldn’t have been an even BETTER player had he spent that season in the NHL? There’s no way of knowing, but it’s arrogant to just assume that both players fulfilled their potential just as much as if they had made the NHL sooner.

      The bottom line is the Oilers should only cut these guys if they think it will make them better hockey players and not just to save a few bucks.

    31. Schitzo
      September 27, 2010 at

      The bottom line is the Oilers should only cut these guys if they think it will make them better hockey players and not just to save a few bucks.

      The goal isn’t to make Hall or MPS the best hockey players that they can be. The goal is to assemble the team with the best chance of winning a cup.

      Most of the time those two interests will be aligned pretty closely. But when it comes to salary cap issues, what’s best for the rookies might not be best for our chances of assembling a roster capable of challenging for a cup.

    32. Cervantes
      September 27, 2010 at

      No, no, and no. For so many reasons. But I’ll work on 2.

      You want to talk saving money? The kids have a 3 year ELC, for (not including bonuses) 3M total, roughly. Let’s say we play them starting this year, and for the next 3 years the point totals go 45, 55, 65. Steady improvement, no magic breakout, but really good. What kind of a contract do you hand out there? If you want to lock him up for a few years, lets say they get a Hemmer contract, 6 years at 4M a year.

      Now, take that same kid, keep him down for a year. Now he comes in to, lets say, his 55 point year. Then 65, then 75 or 80. Think you can pay a 40 goal scorer 4M a year? Even if you have to pay him 4.5 (not likely), you’ve still lost money over the term of his contract. If he gets Bobby Ryan money, 5M, then you’ve lost out even more.

      Which brings us to point 2. Players are people too. They remember when you treat them well, and when you don’t. They know when they’re better than their teammates and when they’re not. You can’t lie to Hall and MPS and say “it’s for your development”, and then send them to the O or A and watch them whip in 120 pts and expect them to believe it.

      Look at it this way: Your workplace has a job opening, high paying. Your employer keeps you out of it so you can “get seasoned”, but really because they don’t want to pay you. A few years later, your employer desperately needs you, and you have all the power. You’re darned right you’re going to remember that year they kept you locked in that low-paying, ride-a-bus job. And you’re going to squeeze them for every penny, just like they did it to you.

      “Burning a year” is an insult to the players that they will remember, won’t really save money in the long run, just makes it more likely that they’ll either squeeze us or walk come contract time, and at the level they’re playing at, doesn’t really seem to help their development. MPS has been playing against seasoned men for 3 years. Hall has ripped up Junior for 100+ points for 2 years. What are either of these guys going to learn, going back to do more of the same?

      If they merit a position on the team, if they’re better than the other people competing for their spots, you bring them up, play them, and they learn what it’s like to play at the highest level. Guys like Vande Velde, who’s only played College… yeah, you give him baby steps. But Hall/Eberle/MPS/Omark… they’ve had their baby steps. If you send them down, you’re just holding them back, and screwing yourself in the long run while you’re at it.

      No, you play them, take the lumps, and use it to try and get them in a Hemsky-like contract… 6 years at 4M is a win contract for everyone. You aren’t going to manage that with a guy who’s dropped 25-30 goals his whole professional career.

    33. September 27, 2010 at

      Oops, I mean before we even play him.

      Obviously.

    34. Skeptic
      September 27, 2010 at

      It is abhorrent that you use Mohammed’s name in vain!!! I idolize Horcoff.

    35. Matt
      September 27, 2010 at

      Detroit and New Jersey? Terrible comparison. When was the last top ten pick those teams have had? Teenagers haven’t played on those teams because their prospects needed work.

      The last thing the Oilers need is to poison the well with their future. If a player plays his way onto the team, it’s not fair to screw them out of cash. The team has had pr nightmares over the last few years. Nickle and diming star players isn’t a good idea.

    36. R O
      September 27, 2010 at

      Hall’s “ready” for the NHL, right now?

      And he’s already a star player to boot?

    37. PunjabiOil
      September 27, 2010 at

      While you may have a few points, I feel your assessment would be more apt for a guy like Gagner who was no where near ready back in 2007-2008.

      1. The Oilers have plenty of vacant cap space in 3 years. If they’re ready to contend by then, there are options available. Send Horcoff to the minors or trade him. Consider loaning Khabibulin to Russia. As far as I know, besides those two, only Gilbert is locked up that long.

      2. If you believe the Oilers can contend in 3-4 years, that extra year of experience may prove to be a difference.

      If Chicago sent Kane to London in his first year, maybe they don’t win the cup this year.

      3. More so relating to Hall, but his cap hit is 3.75M. That’s quite high for an entry level contract, and undermines the benefits of sending Hall to the OHL.

      4. The human element. As much as you might try to downplay it, it would be viewed an insult to send a number #1 overall pick who is by all accounts, ready to step in the NHL, for the sole purpose of extending the entry level contract.

      We have to remember the Edmonton Oilers, across the league, have a poor reputation surrounded with all the drama over recent years. For a team trying to re-establish goodwill around the league, sending down Hall and MPS could undermine those efforts.

      5. Hemsky and Penner. By all accounts, guys in the dressing room are excited about these young players. You finally got a top LW to play with Hemsky, whom is 2 years away from free agency and is excited about the possiblity of playing with Hall. While no guarantees Hemsky and Penner re-sign, do you increase the risk of losing them with yet another lottery season?
      ____________

      The Chicago’s and Pittsburgh’s of the world will continue contending for the cup, despite the fact entry level contracts of their key players have expired.

    38. Jason
      September 27, 2010 at

      My first impression of this article topic was to say “No, No, NO!”

      Tyler makes some good points and I would have a tough time conceding his sentiment is wrong.

      It’s tough for GM to do something that goes against the grain when job security is so short these days. You make some good moves for the franchise down the road and Brian Burke comes in and takes the credit. Not to mention, you’ve got those old crusty season ticket holders demanding you ice the best team in exchange for their hard earned dollars.

      However, Godot makes a good post that seemingly fell on deaf ears much the same way a Tyler Dellows post would fall on deaf ears on HFboards.

      Hall and MPS are human beings and it would sure suck to be denied entry into the NHL, not based on your efforts, but because it’s beneficial to the team contract-wise.

      Not that entry level deals are all that great a bargain when it comes to the cap.

      Sure a team like Detroit or Jersey might have the clout to pull something like this but not Edmonton. If this franchise tried something like that it wouldn’t surpise me to see Taylor Hall flip off the Oilers and sign a 20 million dollar deal to play with St. Petersburg, or Ak Bars Kazan or whatever. I think I would die if Edmonton became the butt of another horrible trend.

    39. Gerald
      September 27, 2010 at

      I think you’d have a hard time convincing me that that’s the case with high draft picks who don’t really wow people in their first few years. I’m not talking about Ovechkin or Kane or Toews type guys. I’m talking about Cogliano type players, Gagner type guys.

      Actually, we were talking about Hall (as you said, “if I was advising Hall …”).

      In your reference about Gagner, you seem to be observing that there is risk to signing guys to contract X when they might turn out to be worth X minus something. That risk always exists, though, whether you sign someone after putting them in junior for a year or not. They may be one calendar year older when their contract comes due, but is that really the determinative factor? Which is better to allow one to accurately judge a player – age or amount of NHL experience? Whether one believes one or the other, though, there is always going to be that risk.

      What does matter, though, is the amount of leverage that the team has after the entry-level contract and before arbitration. Teams have to make their call at that point as to the future trajectory of that player, no matter what has happened before. Accordingly, the real questions are:

      1. What is more useful to make that decision – the player being one calendar year older because of having been sent down, or having a maimum amount of NHL exposure?

      2. Regardless of the decision on #1, what is better in the scenario as accurately laid out by Cervantes in post #32 above? THe answer to that seems to be self-evident? If a GM is making his call that the player will improve, then he is in a far better negotiating position negotiating with a player without high counting numbers.

      your point about younger players not getting the REALLY long contracts is well made, but that is only because NHL GMs are engaging in typical groupthink and are missing the boat completely in following the “send him down and save eligibility” meme. One can be quite successful by looking at how most GMs conduct their business and doing the exact opposite.

      Since elite hockey players seem to hit their peak earlier than some other sports (they are more like basketball players than MLB players, for example), it seems to make sense to tap one`s elite players (or the ones you expect to be elite) as soon as possible and get them signed for what will likely be their peak years sooner rather than later.

    40. R O
      September 28, 2010 at

      A really good recent example of a malcontent young high draft pick who was held back a year or two and went on to bolt from his team after his ELC expired is Bobby Ryan.

      Also, I wish Go.10 and PJOil would share their HDTV-into-the-future. They’ve clearly seen Hall in NHL action, in a way that none of the smart Oilers bloggers have.

      Bulletproof.

    41. Woodguy
      September 28, 2010 at

      I think PJO hit on the best reason to keep them all here.

      PJO said:

      “5. Hemsky and Penner. By all accounts, guys in the dressing room are excited about these young players. You finally got a top LW to play with Hemsky, whom is 2 years away from free agency and is excited about the possiblity of playing with Hall. While no guarantees Hemsky and Penner re-sign, do you increase the risk of losing them with yet another lottery season?”

      Tyler said:

      “Hockey talent is a scarce resource.”

      I think 27 and 83 play on the top line on over 1/2 the teams in the league and are, by far, the most talented players playing for the Oilers right now.

      Keeping at least one of those players with the Oilers long term in key if the Oilers are to “compete in 3 years”.

      Even assuming all the kids come along like most expect if you lose both 83 and 27 the Oilers are probably scraping for a playoff spot at best in 3 years. Keep 1 and you have much better team, keep both and they would really have something here.

      Burning 1 year of EL on these kids is worth it if the result is 3 or more years of Penner and Hemsky.

      I think the hope of signing those two significantly diminishes if they cannot see a brighter future this year. They each only have two years left and those decisions are generally made by the end of next summer.

    42. PunjabiOil
      September 28, 2010 at

      They’ve clearly seen Hall in NHL action, in a way that none of the smart Oilers bloggers have.

      Take it easy, sonny.

      If anything, Hall gets at least 9 games to prove himself.

      Keep in mind he turns 19 in November.

    43. Vince
      September 28, 2010 at

      Ridiculous….”hey kid, you played well enough to make the team congratulations you’re good enough to play in the NHL but since we own you for certain amount of years we’re going have you play in a league where your contract won’t take effect so we can own you longer….what’s that you could have been in the draft again next summer?…oh well thanks for signing that ELC…now get off to sweden slave!

    44. Tyler Dellow
      September 28, 2010 at

      Vince, as a bare minimum, if you’re going to comment here, know the rules.

    45. Julian
      September 28, 2010 at

      Hey Vince, did you actually read the post? Or R O’s point about Bobby Ryan?

      You don’t tell the kid “hey, your’e going down because we wanna screw you salary wise”. You tell them “Our organizational policy is not to play players unless we think they are ready to contribute to the team at the level we demand. If you make the team out of camp, congrats, but be aware that we have high standards for complete players and being sure that everyone fits properly in the slot we have for them”.

      And then if they are ready to contribute at that level, you play them. If you can honestly tell them “here are areas you need to improve on, we don’t think you’re NHL ready in this and this and this area, go get ready down in the AHL or OHL and focus on that”, then you’re doing what’s best for the team. If the player can’t handle it… is that Edmonton’s fault?

      It’s been shown in many places, ie copperandblue.com and behindthenet.ca that very, very few 18 year olds contribute positively to their team. I think the list begins and ends with Sidney Crosby. I don’t think the Oilers would be lying if they said they were sending MPS and Hall down because they weren’t ready to contribte positively to the team.

    46. R O
      September 28, 2010 at

      Julian:

      I remember RiversQ pointing out that Crosby in his 18-year-old season was a glaring minus in the first half playing beside Palffy. Presumably with a metric ton of PP time too. By the end of the year Crosby had gotten back to even.

      Plus-minus is a pretty flawed stat in the first place so it’s only an anecdote. Still, it’s a compelling one. Crosby’s probably the best 1st overall player since, what, Lindros? And he still had holes in his game at 18.

      It is more likely than not that Hall will be dominated at the NHL level this coming season, unless he is given soft icetime. And he will surely get that since A.) the franchise is selling hope and B.) there’s no point in intentionally putting him in that position until he’s ready for it.

      Why bother? I mean as an opposing fan I’m all for Hall on the Oilers roster this season, but if I were a rational Oilers fan I’d ask: what is the point of wasting one of the seven years you own this young talent on a season where he will probably suck and the team will probably suck?

    47. Jack
      September 28, 2010 at

      Comparing Detroit and NJ to the Oilers, Brilliant comparison. Considering you are a lawyer (thats what guys said at HF) I would have thought you could make a more accurate comparison.

      And you are saying having Paajarvi go all the camp, be one of the best players, and then send him to Sweden?? You didn’t actually say where you’d send him, but since you claim to know everything, I’d assume you know that if he was in the minors his entry level deal would still end after 2012/2013. So if he goes to the AHL they actually waste a year of him being down there. That doesn’t seem smart.

      Name the last 1st overall pick to go to back to junior? Didn’t seem to hurt Kane or Crosby, or Tavares or Stamkos. But you keep comparing them to Detroit and NJ. No wonder no one reads this site very often. For a guy who claims to know a lot, you come across rather dim.

    48. Jack
      September 28, 2010 at

      Julian,

      Patrick Kane had 72 points as an 18 year-old. Seemed to help him.

      What will Hall gain playing in the OHL? Dominating against kids, won’t help him prepare to play NHL D-men every night.

      The argument of not wasting one out of seven years, is a loser mentality. There is no guarantee that if you wait a year, that Hall is any better. It is just as risky as keeping him. Show me the proof that putting the 1st pick in junior helps him? Oh right, there isn’t any in the last 20 years, just speculation that it might help.

    49. R O
      September 28, 2010 at

      Kane is a really poor example for an HF-lite to hang his or her hat on, given that the dude is still giving it up going the other way like, well, you come with an appropriately nasty analogy.

    50. Tyler Dellow
      September 28, 2010 at

      Jack -

      Read the CBA, learn how entry level contracts slide and then come back and tell me all the things that I don’t know.

    51. Vince
      September 28, 2010 at

      Tyler,
      I assume you’re talking about my using the word “ridiculous”….please accept my apologies, It won’t happen again.

    52. Tyler Dellow
      September 28, 2010 at

      Vince –

      I’m fine with my ideas getting called ridiculous. If you’re going to do it though, you should be certain to have your facts straight. You wrote:

      ”hey kid, you played well enough to make the team congratulations you’re good enough to play in the NHL but since we own you for certain amount of years we’re going have you play in a league where your contract won’t take effect so we can own you longer….what’s that you could have been in the draft again next summer?…oh well thanks for signing that ELC…now get off to sweden slave!”

      Hall couldn’t have gone back in the draft next year. He can’t go to Sweden now. The NHL has negotiated a deal with the NHLPA that gives players certain rights and teams certain rights. Nowhere does it say that a team has to play a guy just because he’s “good enough.”

    53. Julian
      September 28, 2010 at

      [i]Julian,

      Patrick Kane had 72 points as an 18 year-old. Seemed to help him.[/i]

      Help them, you mean, right? Helped his team? Finish with 88 points and out of the playoffs?

      Leaving aside the question of whether he actually did help them or gave up just as much the other way, which I’m not sure about, but I have my guesses….

      I don’t think Patrick Kane is a good example for you, given that he signed and started his ELC in 2007. Three years later, it’s 2010 and Kane needs a new contract. If the Hawks had brought him up at age 19 instead of 18, he’d have one more year left on his ELC and his cap hit would be 3.7M this coming year, instead of 6.5M.

      Anyone here think the Hawks could have used an extra almost 3M in cap space this summer?

      And has that 18 year old season in the NHL really been crucial to making Kane the player he was this season in helping the Hawks to the Cup? We’ll never know for sure really, but I don’t see how he would be a vastly inferior player had he spent one more year in London and then come to the NHL at 19. He’d still be the same age, and he still wouldn’t be an NHL rookie.

    54. dawgbone
      September 28, 2010 at

      1. The Oilers have plenty of vacant cap space in 3 years. If they’re ready to contend by then, there are options available. Send Horcoff to the minors or trade him. Consider loaning Khabibulin to Russia. As far as I know, besides those two, only Gilbert is locked up that long.

      And does it make sense to lock it all up on the 4 guys who will be coming off their ELC’s if all goes well? That’s going to be a lot of money being dished out.

      We’ve already seen good teams taken apart because they had to spend money to keep their good players.

      The Oilers are going to be no different.

      It would be one thing if they were in a position to compete in the next 2 years. I don’t think they are. I don’t think anyone thinks they are.

      The Oilers need to step back and look at where they are and where they want to be in x number of years.

      If winning a Stanley cup isn’t listed for 3+ years, it makes no sense to bring in all the kids at once.

    55. Jack
      September 28, 2010 at

      Tyler,

      So you are saying if MPS went to the minors that wouldn’t count as the first of his three year deal? Is that what you are saying? Answer the question rather than be vague. Thanks.

      And I noticed you had no retort to the ridiculous claim comparing NJ and Det. I see your lawyer coming out in you. Only debate what you think is a good point. Nice work.

    56. September 28, 2010 at

      I’m definitely for leaving Paajarvi down one more year. (This also would help the tank job, and we have Eberle and Hall on the club to sell tickets already.) My guess is, you could have even got Paajarvi to be okay with it: he gets another year to be with his family, to improve his game, etc., etc.

      I really think Hall is an exception to rule “leaving down is better”, though. For one thing, Hall could start making trade requests while in junior if we sent him back. In fact he really should. His agent might start thinking, quite rightly if we’re doing this for future cap savings, that we would then play him in the minor leagues again the following year. So the agent has to find a way to get his client his money. So Hall’s agent would try to instigate a media campaign against the Oilers. (I would) Imagine a TSN story every month about how Hall wants to be traded to the Leafs because Edmonton is a crap hockey market and no one wants to play there. The Oilers could hold firm against his trade request -which we’ve never done and usually isn’t done with star players- but that’s a terrible way to start with your franchise player one way or another. And Hall would have every incentive to demand a trade if we sent him down and if we appeared ready to send him down again.

      Moreover, and more importantly, Hall is fairly likely to be the sort of player who gets a massive deal, even as an RFA, no? It’s not clear what an extra year of RFA status even gets with a player like Hall.

    57. September 28, 2010 at

      Oh, one more point, which is perhaps more interesting.

      Many Euros don’t want to come to play if they know they’re only going to play in the AHL and get paid AHL money.

      So, you cannot let it be known to agents and players that you follow a strategy whereby all players are kept in the AHL as long as possible, regardless of whether they can play reasonably well at the AHL level. If you do, the European kids we draft will be more likely to avoid coming over at all.

      I’d say the same is probably true of the college kids too.

      That’s not to say you shouldn’t often follow the strategy you’re recommending, but you have to occasionally admit some exceptions just so players think they have a chance of making the big club early in their ELC.

    58. September 28, 2010 at

      Go away jack. Please.

    59. speeds
      September 28, 2010 at

      Jack:

      As has been written numerous times on various sites, Paajarvi’s contract slides if he plays 9 or less NHL games this season.

      So, if the Oilers send him to the AHL for the year, his ELC “slides” a year and would irrevocably start next season, just as Smid’s ELC ended up lasting 4 years (1 year with Portland in the AHL followed by 3 years in EDM).

    60. Julian
      September 28, 2010 at

      Jack, if you’re not aware of pretty basic things like ELC’s and how they work, perhaps this discussion isn’t for you.

    61. Traktor
      September 28, 2010 at

      If Edmonton is paying MPS, Hall and Eberle 5M+ on their next deal it’s probably a good thing.

    62. dawgbone
      September 28, 2010 at

      If Edmonton is paying MPS, Hall and Eberle 5M+ on their next deal it’s probably a good thing

      Sure, for them at least.

    63. Oilers4ever
      September 28, 2010 at

      Dellow did someone hit you in the head with a dummy stick or what? MPS and Hall are the top talent on this team now along with Eberle… You don’t send these guys down because you want them getting 70-80 points in their first year.. tell me how many rookies do that? You talk about Detroit’s model and such but as someone on the Oilers website mentioned already.. Datsyuk had 35 and 51 points in his first two years… Zetterberg had 44 and 43 point seasons..so much for not wasting right? I think you better know your stuff a bit better before flapping your lips.. I guarantee you that MPS, Hall and Eberle will all have over 50 points this season… you will be eating your words and showing your ignorance as well when it comes to hockey…

    64. dawgbone
      September 28, 2010 at

      I guarantee you that MPS, Hall and Eberle will all have over 50 points this season…

      What place will the Oilers finish?

    65. PaperDesigner
      September 28, 2010 at

      You know what? You’re right. It’s the most prudent thing to do for the long-term stability of the franchise. The longer we delay the big pay-off for these players, the more likely a contract like the Horcoff one can be off the books before Hall or Paajarvi has to be paid. But I think there are concerns that have nothing to do with what’s most prudent.

      One is that if the kids feel they’re good enough to play in the NHL, and the team sends them away, they start on the wrong foot with the organization. Do I want to potentially sign for, say, 500,000-1,000,000 less than I’m worth to afford my team cap space if I am generally suspicious of the organization? Maybe not. Or maybe I just sign a contract that’s long enough to get me to free agency, ala Jason Bouwmeester. Inspiring warm fuzzy feelings about the Oilers organization is critical, especially for a franchise that has earned a reputation around the league as rather Mickey Mouse. Is sending back a player who you think is NHL ready going to create a rift? I don’t know, that demands more knowledge of the personal disposition of Hall and Paajarvi than I possess. But it does seem like a risk.

      Secondly, what are you going to sell to your fans? The whole marketing campaign is built on these hot-shot prospects. Do you come off a thirtieth place finish and not promise exciting hockey at least? Paajarvi, Hall and Eberle are all fun players to watch, even if they’re not ready to carry a team. I doubt many fans would like the explanation that the team would rather control the salary cap than provide them with entertaining hockey. Some would understand, but most wouldn’t.

      Third, there’s less pressure on them collectively if they break in at the same time. It will be harder to focus on Eberle’s five game pointless drought if Paajarvi has scored five points in his last three games. There’s a psychological advantage for these young men that they are all being hyped for different reasons; Hall because he’s first overall, Eberle because of his infamous clutchness and Paajarvi for being the most exciting and possibly NHL ready of the bunch. Part of the reason I think Gagner and Cogliano had success early is that they broke in as part of a group of young skill players.

      Finally, what if the alternative for young, mistake prone players is solid, workmanlike veterans that could potentially get us into (gasp!) the playoffs? I mean, isn’t the whole idea to tank it for at least one more year? Isn’t the fastest way to do that to give an endless supply of minutes to rookies? Learn on the job, and get us a lottery pick in the basement?

    66. dawgbone
      September 28, 2010 at

      There’s potential for that to happen. That being said there are examples of it not happening.

      Tyler already pointed out Bobby Ryan and Jason Spezza (both have signed long term deals with the clubs who did the same to them). Can you find a player who has done the opposite?

      Winning solves a lot of problems, this being one of them.

    67. Daniel
      September 29, 2010 at

      @dawgbone: “Tyler already pointed out Bobby Ryan and Jason Spezza (both have signed long term deals with the clubs who did the same to them). Can you find a player who has done the opposite?”

      The situation has never arisen (at least as far as I can remember) for 2 reasons:

      1. The CBA makes it easy for teams to retain youngsters for 7 seasons, and the salary cap hasn’t been in effect long enough for players to hit their UFA years. Prior to the lockout, this tactic of sliding entry level contracts to save money didn’t really happen. Any player who spent 05-06 (the first post-lockout season) and played his rookie season in 06-07 in the AHL would only be entering 5th NHL season. As has been noted several times, teams can typically get 7 years out of the youngsters before they jump ship as UFAs. Thus, no player entering the league post-lockout has even had the opportunity yet.

      Therefore, the closest examples would be guys accepting RFA offer sheets from other teams. Thomas Vanek and Dustin Penner are probably the most prominent examples.

      2. This situation never really arises because as a general rule, you know what happens to players who a) ready to play in the NHL; and b) play well enough in camp and pre-season to earn a roster spot? They make the team!

      In my opinion, player development is way more important than the salary cap/finances. The youngsters should play wherever they will improve and develop the most, regardless of money. This may raise a player’s price tag in the future, but it helps the team by developing better players. So if the Oilers think the kids will develop best in the NHL and the youngsters play well enough to earn a spot, they should play in the NHL.

    68. dawgbone
      September 30, 2010 at

      Daniel, the argument is that Hall would leave the first chance he got. Spezza signed several contracts with Ottawa, Bobby Ryan just signed a deal with Anaheim, both of them taking up UFA years. Both players were highly touted picks who ended up playing their 18 year old seasons in the OHL (btw, we can include Perry and Getzlaf in this conversation as well).

      Both players also fell into the 7 year restriction.

      I don’t think guys signing an RFA offer sheet count either. For instance Ryan Kesler played in the NHL right after he was drafted and he signed an offer sheet.

      Dustin Penner was an undrafted player who was signed as a free agent, so he doesn’t fit the argument.

      Vanek accepted the offersheet because it was a crap load of money, not because he had any problems with how he was handled in Buffalo.

      As for your 2nd point, I think the past has shown us that a lot of these guys weren’t ready to play in the NHL at 18 years old. Most of these guys make the NHL because their team is selling hope (which is exactly the same reason Sam Gagner ended up in the NHL at 18 years old).

      Player development is important… but that doesn’t mean it has to happen at the NHL level. As for it being more important than the salary cap/finances, I disagree. If you can’t keep a player you developed because of the salary cap/finances, what did you gain out of it? You spent a lot of money (and probably lost some games while doing it) only to get a player to his prime only to lose him.

      The NHL is not a developmental league. The goal of NHL teams should not be to develop players, it should be to win the Stanely Cup. If putting a player in the NHL at 18 hurts your chances of winning a cup in 3-4 years, you shouldn’t be putting him in the NHL at 18.

    69. March 3, 2011 at

      i am under huge impression. gratzzz

    70. Pingback: Should the Oilers demote Magnus Paajarvi and Taylor Hall? | Edmonton Journal

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