Monday, July 23, 2007

Worst Signings

Now that Grier is off on a much-deserved vacation for the next week or two, it's time for me to pick up some slack. And because there is so little Sharks news happening, I'll have to turn to league-wide news and controversy. This is something I've been thinking about for a while, and I finally have a little bit of time to write about it.

So Rudy Kelly at BoC wrote a post called "Anger... Rising" (great title, by the way) about Adam Proteau's article naming Lubomir Vishnovsky as one of the offseason's 5 worst signings. First of all, I agree with Kelly that Vish shouldn't be on the list. He's an oft-overlooked defensemen, mostly because he plays for the Kings, who aren't any good.

Actually, I think I agree with Proteau on only one of his 5 'worst' signings, and that is Todd Bertuzzi. $4M per year is a nice lottery win for Bert, who's managed to do just about nothing good in the league since the Steve Moore incident. He was part of a huge trade that brought Roberto Luongo to Vancouver, hurt his back, then was quickly run out of town in Florida. He landed in Detroit, where he played uninspiring minutes the entire postseason. Maybe he's worth throwing a couple mil at, in hopes he can return to his dominating style when he had Brendan Morrison and Markus Naslund at his side. Doubling that number is nothing more than wishful thinking, idiocy, or both.

Here's four others, in no particular order

  • Chris Drury - 5 years, $35.25M ($7.1M per year). I think I've made my thoughts on Drury fairly clear before. I like him. I think he's a fine player, and a leader. He's a good faceoff man. But he's never scored 70 points in any one of his 8 full NHL seasons. Spending that kind of money on a second line center is stupid. Ranger stupid.
  • Scott Hartnell - 6 years $25.2 million ($4.2M per year). Hartnell's had 6 years in the bigs, and hasn't even topped 50 points. He's only 25, so I can imagine future upside, but we'd have to see a major rebirth to explain that kind of money.
  • Cory Sarich - 5 years, $18M ($3.6M per year). Played less than 20 minutes per game his entire career, only been a plus player once, never scored more than 20 points in a season. If you said "who the hell is Cory Sarich?" I would understand. Only my obsession with hockey and my brain's freaky ability to retain names kept me from saying the same thing.
  • Bill Guerin - 2 years, $9M ($4.5M per year). This makes Keith Tkachuk (2 years, $8M) seem like a bargain. Guerin is 38 years old. Why the Isles didn't throw this money at Jason Blake is beyond me. Guerin will help a struggling team win nothing. You want a better leader for less money, go get Mike Keane.
One thing I've thought about is in these long term contracts the team might be hoping that the player 'grows into' it, and the last couple of years in the contract they are a bargain. First of all, this might very well be offset by overpaying the first few years of the contract. Secondly, that's assuming that these players will still be that good in a few years. I don't know of many players you can be that sure about.

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