Friday, July 06, 2007

Let Him Go Loserville...er... Buffalo

"Desperate times call for desperate measures" and the Edmonton Oilers are desperately attempting to save face with their fans by signing Thomas Vanek.

The Oilers would have to give up four first round draft picks should the Buffaslugs balk and not match the offer. And should the CBA says what it means and means what it says, the Oilers will have to wait another four years before offering another offer sheet to any RFA for more than $2 million per season because they will not have the compensation picks to offer in exchange should the original team decide not to match the offer sheet.

By all accounts the Buffaslugs have been devastated by the departures of Chris Drury and that Scumbag Danielle Briere. CW says that losing Vanek too could very well knock them out of the playoffs. But considering that the Buffaslugs have weathered personnel storms before and by all accounts have a system capable of replacing players in surprisingly quick fashion, I would let Vanek walk if I were Loserville...er... Buffalo.

Why? Well as stated above, the system has proven capable of replacing lost talent own it's own in the first place. Adding in four additional first round draft picks will make it even easier to return again to the lofty heights the Buffaslugs have been disappointing their fans from. If you have a good amateur scouting and player development system (and let's face it, the Buffaslugs do) then you can afford to make these kinds of trades.

Secondly, that kind of deal is not likely to place the Oilers into cap jail (they have plenty of room under the cap), but it will make it hard the Oilers to replace other players who demand to be traded out of there through their own development system. The CBA clearly states that a team cannot acquire draft picks for the purposes of compensation and that compensation picks must the original picks of that team. The Oilers would almost be forced to improve the team through the Free Agent market which has not worked out very well for them considering that nobody wants to go to play there, except of course for Vanek who could very well be attempting to negotiate his contract with the Buffaslugs through the Oilers.

The bad news about this is that this is a contract that will skew the whole system of salary for players in the NHL. A guy who puts up 43 goals and 84 total points in the NHL's #1 overall offense isn't worth $7 million+ per season heading into just his third NHL season. This is simply a desperation maneuver and I guarantee you that other players are going to end up paying the price for this because of the salary cap system will force a market correction.

In case you haven't noticed, Jason Allison is still waiting for a contract...

Finally it was a different time and a much different era when the Washington Capitals threw an absurd offer sheet at then Edmonton Oilers defenseman Dave Manson in 1992. The Caps of course had been stung two years ago by the offer sheet that St. Louis had given Scott Stevens and were in reputation rehab mode after trading Dino Ciccarelli to Detroit for Kevin Miller earlier that summer. The Caps were being branded by their own fans as cheap and that's why they made the move to get Manson from Edmonton. The Oilers were openly angry at the Caps for what they did with then Edmonton GM Glenn Sather blasting the Caps for raising players salaries.

Funny isn't how this all seems to come around eventually?

UPDATE: Gee, that was fast... While I was typing up that post, the Buffaslugs wasted no time in matching the offer to Vanek. While I'm sure it doesn't help matter very much, the $7 million+ hit doesn't seem to place the Buffaslugs in to cap jail as the Buffaslugs should be able to get everybody else comfortably under the cap for this season. They could be in trouble again next offseason but we'll have to see how the rest plays out.

Once again Kevin Lowe swings and misses.

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