Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

Friday, June 27, 2008

I Predict Sticker Shock

Don Waddell once bragged after signing Byron Dafoe in mid-season that he likes to shop discount or something to that effect. Well, those days are over. If the Thrashers are going to land any of the top end UFA this summer such as Brian Campbell they will likely have to pay a forture.

Two factors are at work here. First there is the perception that Atlanta is not a winning franchise. OK, it is more than a perception it is a fact, thus far. Kevin Allen mentioned this on NHL Live this week. The Thrashers will likely have to pay MORE than a franchise that has been competitive in recent years. Call it the "losers premium"--it the price you pay for screwing up over and over again.

The second factor is that the NHL revenues were unexpectedly robust this last season and the cap rose even faster than most outsiders anticipated. With the cap sitting at $57.7, teams like the Flyers, Rangers, Bruins, and Avalanche will probably spend almost every dime. That means that there is more money chasing a small class of free agents--which in Econ 101 we learned means inflationary pressures on prices.

I expect that the top end free agents are going to sign for amounts that will shock the senses. There will likely be a bidding war that results in Hossa making close to $9 million per season or Campbell getting $8 per season.

Many GMs, columnists and fans will express shock and amazement but it is very simple--hockey revenues are up sharply and that means the players get more money under the CBA. But one thing we have learned is that the new money will go to star level guys. There are many checkers out there and thus little pressure on their salaries (i.e. price) while there is only one Mats Sundin and only one Marian Hossa.


  • I don't understand all the talk about Brian Campbell. Why would he even consider signing with Atlanta? Even with Atlanta paying a premium, there's nothing to indicate it's even a possibility. The guy is going to end up in Philly, NY or other big market, competitive franchise.

    Atlanta needs to win with less, before they can even hope to sign a top flight UFA. I think they've hired the coach to do that, but the franchise is a year or two away from putting that to use.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:24 PM  

  • No way, I don't agree. Money talks, and BS walks. If we need to spend the money, fine. Let us get the high end UFA. Maybe if we get the right guys, we can start winning. I agree about the perception of us being a losing franchise.
    The Thrashers have always spent well under the salary cap; they need to step it up, and go for the players we need. We missed getting Pronger when he was available from Edmonton before going to Anaheim. Can you imagine how improved we would have been if we got him? It is never going to change in Atlanta if the owners and management don't change their attitude and approach toward getting the players we need so we can win more.

    By Anonymous Steve, at 3:36 PM  

  • Why would Campbell sign here? Well if the Thrashers offer him more money it might be hard to leave a couple of million on the table.

    By Blogger The Falconer, at 5:05 PM  

  • What is the deal with Steve Rucchin? Why is he on the roster, but he is not playing? Should we buy him out? Is he worth keeping? Can you shed some light on this? Nobody has answered this yet.

    By Anonymous Steve, at 6:18 PM  

  • And here we have the added perk of lack of big namers. He'd be THE guy (after Kovy), wheras on another team he'd be just another big guy.

    And the rep of being one of the saviors of the franchise... and the fact that we have a coach with a style that he'd fit into perfectly...

    Situations like this are tailor made for teams like us. It, along with the draft, gives us a chance to compete.

    By Blogger Laura, at 8:10 PM  

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