So the free agent class kind of sucks this year. All the more reason for some enterprising GM who has a bucket of cap space and desperately needs a star for his team to offer a one year $12MM contract to Drew Doughty, consisting of $6MM in salary and $6MM in signing bonus, plus you only need to qualify him at $6MM for next year. Regrettably, this won’t happen but it’s nuts that it won’t – if you’re a mid-level team without much fear of retribution because you don’t have any elite young talent, as well as some cap space, it’s a great move.
The Maple Leafs, by the way, have a ton of cap room and a desperate need for stars, of which there are none available as UFA. It’s a shame for their fans that Brian Burke has some sort of bizarre moral objection to offer sheets.
There’s a sort of running joke in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back about Ben Affleck’s habit of killing prostitutes. It’s widely known amongst the movie set people in the flick and, whenever a dead prostitute turns up, people react with disgust. There’s an important lesson there: if you make a habit of doing something, people will suspect the worst when that situation arises.
In a completely unrelated story, the LA Kings say that Colin Fraser had an injury that the Oilers failed to disclose. This may sound familiar to people who can remember last week, when the Kings scotched the Brule and a pick trade after it appeared to have been reported to the NHL because it turns out that Brule has some health problems that prevented the Kings from buying out that the Oilers had failed to disclose.
Those with even longer memories will recall that diagnosing injuries seems to be a real weak spot for the Oilers’ diagnostic staff. It’s as if the policy is “Don’t ask, don’t tell” when it comes to this stuff. Jarret Stoll played with a concussion. Souray complained that they were pressuring him to play. There are a lot of suspicions about Ales Hemsky having played with a concussion. Khabibulin’s medical problems stunned them. They thought Brule was healthy and apparently had to be told otherwise.
Tambo’s response to all of this was to whine about the Kings releasing personal information. That’s entirely beside the point. Whether the Kings are right or wrong in doing so, here’s another case of an Oiler about whom there are contentious issues in respect of his health. There’s enough of a pattern here that I’m not sure why you’d extend Tambellini and the Oilers the benefit of the doubt. We know that they’ve missed injuries in the past and that players have felt pressured to return before they were medically cleared to do so. Why is that not the case this time?
Just on the legal point – I understand a lot of people are hanging their hat on the supposed “as is, where is” terms of the deal. I don’t see how you can do that. If the terms of the deal required the Oilers to disclose what’s wrong with him and the Kings then agreed “as is, where is” and the Oilers then failed to make full disclosure, whether through ineptitude (most likely) or malfeasance…well, in a real court, the Kings might have an argument. Nobody knows what the NHL rules are but Lombardi’s complaints don’t seem so outlandish to me. Tambellini’s confident assertion that the Kings will not receive additional compensation does not fill me with confidence, as he’s a Neville Chamberlain class leader.
I held off on writing something about the Oilers buying out Sheldon Souray until it actually happened but now that it seems that it’s about too, I’ll make my comment. If you think back to last summer and assume that Souray was never going to wear the Oilers’ jersey again, they had XX ways to get rid of him. They could send him to the minors or otherwise tell him not to come, which would have cost them $9MM over two years. They could have bought him out at the time, which would cost them about $6.03MM over four years. They could have sent him down and then put him on recall waivers and, if someone had taken him, it would have cost them $4.5MM.
In what looked like a poor bet at the time, they elected to send him down, knowing that they couldn’t bring him up without exposing to recall waivers. This only made sense if they intended to try and move him again in the summer. I tried to give Tambo the benefit of the doubt there, even though I thought the risk was poor, and made the generous assumption that he was hoping to try and move Souray this summer, in the hopes of getting something for the $4.5MM that it would cost to keep him in the minors all year. When Tambo called Souray up late last season and exposed him to recall waivers, I became convinced that I was probably too generous in assuming that there might have been a plan, stupid as it seemed to me.
If you assume that Souray would have been claimed on recall waivers last fall – and I suspect that the chances would have been good at the time, given that he only would have cost $4.5MM over two years to the team acquiring him, which is cheap for a guy who they would have assumed could play on the number one PP, do some penalty killing and take a top four shift – the cost to the Oilers of Tambo’s indecision/dumb bet is $3.015MM – by keeping him all year, they paid him $4.5MM in salary and then another $3.015MM to buy out this year of his contract. If you figure he wouldn’t have been picked up at half price, the failure to buy him out last year cost them just under $1.5MM – they pay him $7.515MM instead of paying $6.03MM for a buyout.
Either way, when you factor in the cost of JDD, the cost to the Oilers of an indecisive GM who constantly appears to be over his head was somewhere between $2.5MM and $4.5MM last year. That’s a hell of a lot of dough for an organization that appears as if it could benefit from redeploying some of its resources to the medical front.