Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Reality Check

After my post yesterday, I took a long hard look at the Sharks salary cap situation and tried to put myself in Doug Wilson's shoes. Here is a list of the players who are either restricted or unrestricted free agents next season and my guess and what salary they will command. The Sharks currently have 25 million committed in salary for next season.

Steve Bernier - 1.5 million
Christian Ehrhoff - 3.0 million
Marcel Goc - 1.5 million
Joe Pavelski - 1.5 million
Patrick Marleau - 6.5 million
Milan Michalek - 3.5 million
Patrick Rismiller 1.5 million
Ryan Clowe - 2.0 million

This is 21-22 million in salary - assuming Wilson keeps all these core players. This also doesn't include Setoguchi and Wishart, who I think will be on the big club by 2008-09. I would assume Curtiss Brown will not be back. This makes for a 47 million dollar roster in 2008-09 - so Wilson not making a pitch for a big ticket free agent does make sense - he wants to keep his core intact. You figure the cap will be 53-54 million, so he would have 7 million of wiggle room - so adding a Souray type salary could work but it would push the Sharks to the cap limit and force Wilson to make some tough choices next year and part with some young talent.. I still think Redden might be the perfect fit for this season. Wilson loves the Sens blueprint and Redden can run the point on the power play. As I stated before, the Sens have a similar situation to the Sharks next year - they have major core players up for contract - Spezza, Heatley, Fisher, Vermette, Schubert, Mezaros, Emery and Redden. They will have around 30 million in cap room, but you have to figure Spezza and Heatley will fetch around 8-9 million on the market. There is no way they can resign all these players, and the one that makes sense to part with is Redden, With Corvo, Volchenkov and Phillips under contract, Redden is the odd man out. He is making 6.5 this season and if he likes it here, he could resign during the season. It would probably cost us a young forward (Bernier) and a pick - worth the risk.

So - the reality check is the Sharks may have 15 million to spend in 2007-08, but they have so many players up for new contracts that they can perhaps only afford a player like Redden - a rental that could help us win now and perhaps take the road of Big Joe and stay for less money if he likes it here.

Taking a moment to sit in Doug Wilson's shoes has made me feel better about him not overspending on the UFA market. I still think he will make a move to improve the roster for now while keeping an eye on resigning our core. What do you think??


Mike said...

Good post, and I agree with your reasoning, but not your numbers. Michalek had more points last season than both Shanahan and Gomez. A $3.5M estimate is too low. When a player like Hartnell get $4M+, there's no question that somebody will throw 4 or 4.5 at Michalek, AND be willing to part with draft picks.

Similarly, I think the numbers for Bernier, Pavelski, and Clowe are too low as well.

Also, you forgot that Carle is an RFA after next season as well. He puts up 40-50 points again, he'll get at least $3-4M. Look at the company he's in, in terms of points - Zubov, Schneider, Boucher, Timmonen, Rafalski, McCabe.

This will put the Sharks in a situation where they can't afford Souray and expect to re-sign the young'uns.

Can'tStoptheGrier said...

I show Carle under contract until 2009, according to my source.


Looking at Wilson's history, he likes to get his players signed before they have a chance to hit the open market - example Cheechoo. I don't think Michalek will even sniff free agency, so there won't be an opportunity for him to cash in. A team would have to sign him to an offer sheet and the Sharks can match. Four years, sixteen million should get it done.

Same goes for Bernier, Pavelski, Goc, Clowe and Ehrhoff - they are all restricted and could sign one year deals through arbitration and then hit the market. Reality says we can't keep them all.

Needless to say, the big picture is evident and Wilson is obviously aware. This is why I think parting with a young forward who maybe isn't in the long term plans with the addition of Setoguchi to the big club this year and adding a player with a big cap hit this season (Redden and Boyle come to mind) makes the most sense.

Jeremy said...

Did the experience with Guerrin sour Doug Wilson on veterans? Is he really ready to stand pat with the team he has?
It seems like you're suggesting that fans wait for this core of players to get better. Sure it's good to have a long-term plan, but are you ready to NOT win the Cup this coming season? And NOT realistically contend? It's the same team that didn't win this year. And every other teams' young stars are getting better, too. Kopitar will be better in LA; Getzlaf will be better in Anaheim; Stasny will be better in Colorado; etc.
The number of players you have listed is too big for a "core". Wilson's job is to decide on the handful of guys to build the team around - everyone else is replaceable. 6Million may be too much to pay for Souray, but the team must improve itselt.
I'd expect that Marleau will not be back, and there's the cap room for you.

Mike said...

It's the same team that didn't win this year. And every other teams' young stars are getting better, too.

I would say that SJ has more young stars, and thus more room to grow. Carle and Vlasic were All-Rookie starters. Clowe, Pavelski, Michalek, and (Lord hopes) Bernier should be better as well. All those guys improve even a little, and the Sharks are a lot better.

Assuming (and it's a big *if*) Niedermayer and Selanne retire, there's no way the Ducks are as good, even if Getzlaf improves. Bertuzzi and Schneider, while good players, are a downgrade from those two.

No question the Avs improved, but I think they still have goalie troubles. The Kings added a bunch of pieces to make them respectable, but I think they'll be scrabbling for a playoff spot.

The number of players you have listed is too big for a "core". Wilson's job is to decide on the handful of guys to build the team around - everyone else is replaceable.

This is a good point... I'll think about this, and hopefully post soon on who exactly is the core of the team.

Ian said...

re: Guerin
I don't think the Sharks had necessarily planned on keeping him unless he really clicked with Marleau. Since he didn't even justify the price of renting him, it makes perfect sense for the Isles to sign him for $4 milly a year and give him the C, in July. Hey Billy, how does it feel to be Ryan Smythe's surrogate? That franchise's management is an absolute mess.