Welcome once again to another THN mailbag. Here, a selection of your submissions is answered on a weekly basis. This concludes the latest introductory paragraph for the THN mailbag.
I think most people were surprised when Mikhail Grabovski was among the players who received compliance buyouts during the last off-season. Do you think there are any NHL players who might receive a similarly surprising pink slip this summer? Are there any teams facing particularly acute salary pressures who might be tempted to go the buyout route?
Daniel Greyson, Montreal
I don’t think there are any darkhorse buyout candidates, but there are some frontrunners: Buffalo’s Ville Leino (who has three years remaining on his contract at an annual salary cap hit of $4.5 million), San Jose’s Martin Havlat (one year left at a $5 million hit) and the Rangers’ Brad Richards (six years left at $6.7 million per year) all fit the bill.
As for teams under the gun, Chicago has less than $4 million in available cap space; the Flyers have less than $7 million to spend; and the Bruins have less than $8 million. And all those totals are only if the cap rises to $71.1 million. If the Canadian dollar continues falling, the cap ceiling will as well – leaving those franchises in even worse cap shape.
However, seeing as Philly and the Hawks have used their two amnesty buyouts, only the Bruins (who haven’t used either) have the ability to do so this summer. Read more
Yes, THN’s mailbag is back. What, you were expecting something different, maybe? It’s Friday. This is what happens on Fridays. Prepare yourself accordingly.
Adam, what are the possibilities of the Oilers acquiring Tyler Myers?? I realize you are going to give up a lot to get him, but could a trade similar to the Phil Kessel trade be a good deal?? I know Buffalo is loaded in terms of picks (this year and next), but could they go for a first-round pick in 2015 and a 1st round pick in 2016? I only say this because I would love to see the Oilers’ future with Tyler Myers and (possibly) Aaron Ekblad together, and a supporting cast of Justin Schultz, Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse and Martin Marancin. I would also love to see the top six forwards not change. If you were Tim Murray, would you accept my proposal and trade Tyler Myers?
T.J. Zielman, Exeter, Ont.
Not only would I accept your proposal, I’d also jump into your arms and hug you for a long time, because two first-rounders for a blueliner whose stock has fallen as much as Myers’ has since he won the Calder Trophy in 2010 is a major overpayment. First round picks are far too valuable to expend on a player who has regressed and who also comes with a bulky contract that has five years left with an annual salary cap hit of $5.5 million.
Now, Edmonton may have more interest in a Myers deal centered around Sam Gagner, but that’s another story altogether. Murray and coach Ted Nolan might look at Myers – who still is just 24 years old – and decide they’d rather not give up on him just yet, especially if it means taking on Gagner’s $4.8-million salary for the next two seasons when Buffalo is on a long-term rebuild. Further complicating matters is Myers’ limited no-trade clause. So I wouldn’t get overly excited about him joining the Oilers just yet. Read more
I hope you know how the mailbag operates by now, because I’ve explained it more than enough over the years. Thanks to all who submitted a question.
Adam, in terms of player compensation, how do the NHL playoffs work? Clearly the venues and owners benefit from the extra games, but are players just playing out of the goodness of their hearts? Do they make the same in a four-game sweep as a seventh game double-overtime nail-biter? Thanks for answering my question.
Ken Jewett, Nashville, Tenn.
The 16 playoff teams receive varying degrees of bulk payouts from the league that are dependent on where they finish. Last season – the first under the new collective bargaining agreement that doubled the amount of total playoff monies available – the eight teams that lost in the opening round were given a quarter-million dollars to split amongst their players. If a team divvied up its money between 25 players, that works out to $10,000 per roster member.
The payout rises with every playoff round victory. The 2012-13 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks received $3.75 million total (which would reward each member with $150,000) and the Cup finalist Boston Bruins received $2.25 million (or $90,00 per player)
As the league’s revenue projections climb, so too will the playoff payouts. So to answer your question: no, they don’t play simply for the love of the game, but they’re also not going to retire based on the cash they earn in the post-season.
Another week, another bag o’ mail to sort through. If you don’t see your question here, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate you taking the time to submit it. But this isn’t a perfect world. I mean, if it were, we’d have Christmas at least – at least – twice a year. Anyhow, thanks again.
Greetings, Mr. Proteau:
If the Red Wings make the playoffs, does Gustav Nyquist get any love in the Hart Trophy voting? His run over the last 25 games has been incredible, especially given the lack of supporting cast due to injuries.
Andrew Lee, Kingman, Ariz.
Greetings, Mr. Lee:
Nyquist has been a much-needed revelation for Detroit, but no, I’d say his reward for helping the Red Wings to a playoff berth would be playing in the post-season. A player would have to play multiple positions – goalie, first-line center, assistant to the GM – at an astonishing level to get the Hart Trophy nod simply because of a tremendous 25-game run. Voters have to take the entire regular season into account, which is why Sidney Crosby is the frontrunner in the minds of many.
Besides, I think you could make the argument the Red Wings’ MVP this season is not a P(layer), but head coach Mike Babcock. He’s taken a roster often indistinguishable from Detroit’s American League affiliate and kept it in playoff contention throughout the year. With due respect to Nyquist, that’s more important than any goal he’s scored.
At the beginning of the season, you wrote enthusiastically on the Oilers’ hiring of Dallas Eakins. Have you revised your opinion – not on the man – but his readiness and/or ability to be an effective NHL coach in 2013/14 or in the next year or two? Or is this one of those prognostications you wish you could have over?
Claire Ponsford, Surrey B.C.
This is THN’s online mailbag. I trust you’re familiar with how these things work, so let’s get right to it. Thanks to all who submitted a question.
Regarding home and away jerseys; who’s supposed to wear white/color and when? I was under the impression home teams wore colored jerseys, and the visiting teams wore white. This was reversed however in Thursday’s game between the Penguins and the Red Wings: the Pens wore black and the Wings wore white. I asked the Twitterverse and the majority response was that Detroit asked to wear white. Is there a rule? What is it?
Rachel Katherine, Boston, Mass.
You’re right, NHL teams by-and-large are supposed to wear their dark jersey at home and their white jersey on the road. But the league does allow for the situation to be reversed on a few occasions each year – if the team wants it. That was the case last night. A Red Wings spokesman confirmed Friday that the team usually chooses a few home dates every season to wear their road colors, simply to give fans a different look. Read more
It’s Friday. It’s mailbag. Thanks to all who submitted a question.
Just a quick question. I was thinking about the Sabres recent trade with Washington (Jaroslav Halak for Michal Neuvirth and Rostislav Klesla). I know the Sabres were more after Neuvirth, but then just looking at a trade of Halak for Neuvirth seems a bit off. My question is, shouldn’t the Sabres have the right to nix the trade since Klesla won’t play for them? Or even get like a compensation pick based off of salary. What if a high-end player refused to report to a team? That could really mess a team up if they gave up a lot to acquire them. Thanks!
Justin Compo, Buffalo, N.Y.
As you note, the Sabres made that deal primarily for Neuvirth. Klesla was essentially salary cap ballast that had to be included in the trade to make it work for Washington’s financial bottom line. So, when Klesla refused to report and said he’d be focusing on playing next season, it really wasn’t an issue.
Now, if a player didn’t want to go to a team and attempted to have the trade voided, he’s got the right to try. That’s what Lubomir Visnovsky did before an arbitrator rejected his request. But, far more often than not, a team that acquires any player makes inquiries as to the player’s willingness to play for them before the deal is consummated. In Klesla’s case, Sabres management simply didn’t care if he ever played a game for them. No harm, no foul. Read more
More mail? More mail. It’s Friday, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Thanks as always to those who sent in a question or two.
Hello there Adam!
In the early days of his WWE career, Randy Orton was doing the “Legend Killer” gimmick and cut a promo against a tired and haggard looking Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Orton said when you wake up in the morning and no longer have the drive to be the No. 1 guy in the company, the guy who wears the belt, well that’s the day you need to hang them up.
Well, I compare old Hacksaw to Roberto Luongo. Bobby Lou will never, and I mean ever, win a Stanley Cup in Florida. And he knows that. So my question is, why do so many players say it’s not about money when they talk to the media? Of course it is! If you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that you’re just playing a game and collecting a paycheck, why jerk around the fans? Nathan Horton will play out his career in relative obscurity in Columbus, but at least he has his Cup ring. Same can’t be said for Luongo or his teammate Ed Jovanovski.
So why not just state the obvious and say “I’m in it for the money”? You’re not insulting anybody. I’d take Captain Obvious over Captain Hypocrite any day. I mean, really, if you’ve been in the game as long as Luongo and you’re NOT in it to win the Stanley Cup, just what are you doing there anyways?
Steve Dicker, Paradise, Newfoundland
Hello there Steve!
While I’m sure there are NHLers who do what they do more for the love of the money than the pursuit of a championship, Luongo isn’t an example of one. When he signed his 12-year contract with the Canucks, they weren’t a sad-sack team with no chance of winning a Stanley Cup. To the contrary: they’d just won their division and a playoff round. It’s not his fault GM Mike Gillis horribly mismanaged Vancouver’s goaltending situation to the point he had no choice but to move him for a relative pittance.
But no matter which player you point to as signing somewhere for monetary reasons, you can’t expect them to be candid about that. People like you and I might appreciate the honesty, but imagine the team marketing campaign: “Come See Us Play! Not Everybody Wants To Be Here, But Everybody’s Getting Paid!” Not the best optics, I’m sure you’d agree. Read more
The NHL is back in full swing after the Olympic break, but THN’s online mailbag never stops swinging. Thanks for all the submissions.
After watching another round of Olympic hockey, once again I really enjoyed watching the game being played on a larger ice surface. Any chance of the NHL going to a larger surface anytime soon? I’m guessing it’s a million-to-one shot, but I can’t be alone here.
Ed Beckmann, Livermore, Col.
In this case, I’d say that’s a generous set of odds. I’d also say it was even less likely than that. For one thing, there are many NHL people who will tell you the style of game that’s played on the bigger ice isn’t their idea of entertaining hockey. And to be fair to them, there were certainly some excitement-challenged games in Sochi.
But beyond the change to the on-ice product, the financial costs associated with removing rows of seats would be another obstacle in the way of making the ice dimensions larger. Now, just because teams remove x number of rows, that doesn’t mean they can’t transfer the higher ticket prices to fans in what would be their new front row seats. But there would be fewer people in the arena, which means fewer people at the concession stands.
Former NHLer Bobby Holik has said a number of times that bigger ice would also give players more room to avoid collisions (and by extension, concussions), but I don’t think anybody, Holik included, is expecting the league to make that change. So don’t hold your breath. Read more