Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/15/13 at 01:32 PM ET
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL is littered with examples of players who are considered underachievers, not because of the way they’re playing necessarily, but in terms of how what they’re delivering compared to their compensation levels. In Calgary, fans have never really taken to Jay Bouwmeester because, at $6.68-million per season, they want to see more than just a player who eats up minutes (24 per game), and plays a steady brand of defence. They want to see offence (improving this year) and physical play (probably never happen).
In Edmonton, the Oilers are on the hook to Shawn Horcoff for six years, a contract that started at $7-million per season, pays him $6-million this year and comes in at an annual cap charge of $5.5-million - all this to be their third-line centre between Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner. Horcoff’s value to the team is indisputable. Without him in the lineup, they seemed adrift. He is a key leader, good in the face-off circle and the glue that keeps a young team together. But $5.5-million is too much to pay for a 34-point scorer – and the expectation is he’ll receive a compliance buyout next year, so the Oilers can free up some salary-cap space to get their young core signed.
Danny Briere talked about this matter a few years back when the Philadelphia Flyers advanced to the Stanley Cup final against the Chicago Blackhawks. In the summer of 2007, coming off a 95-point season with the Buffalo Sabres, Briere had his choice of free-agent destinations and picked Philadelphia. His contract, that year, was staggering - $56-million in all, with $10-million allocated to the first year, $8-million to the next two. Overnight, Briere was no longer this great against-all-odds story anymore – the player who went unclaimed on NHL waivers, and then turned himself into a top-three forward on a Cup-contending team.
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