Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

More Details On The NHL Proposal

from Chris Johnston of the CP at the Winnipeg Free Press, 

Details of the proposal were provided to The Canadian Press by a source. The NHL has drawn up a six-year deal that includes three years at a fixed salary cap — similar to the NHLPA's proposal two weeks ago — before returning to a system where the cap is based on overall league revenues with a 50-50 split.

According to the source, the offer doesn't include rollbacks for current contracts, meaning Sidney Crosby would earn all $104.4 million of the 12-year extension he signed with Pittsburgh earlier this summer and Zach Parise and Ryan Suter could each collect the $98 million they were promised by the Minnesota Wild....

The NHL's latest proposal would call for a dramatic change next season. According to the source, players are being asked to give back 11 per cent in 2012-13, which would set the salary cap at $58 million — more than $12 million less than where it would have been under the expiring CBA.

While current contracts wouldn't be rolled back like they were in 2005, players would have to pay more in escrow to accommodate for the lowered cap. Modified rules on contracts would also be introduced.

more

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

Avatar

I’ve suspected that 50-50 was where the league was trying to get, the question is whether the NHL can get through various shenanigans to exclude this and that from what is considered revenue in order to get where they really want to be.

Were I Fehr, I would think long and hard about trying to shift the NHL too much off a 50-50 revenue split.  That split seems inherently ‘fair’ to most, and to the degree public perception even matters in this impasse trying to hold out for 52-54% might tip it against the PA, at least somewhat.

As an aside, does a rapidly-decreasing cap after this year cut Holland any slack from the people who were (and still are) howling about how absentee of a GM he’s been to date?  I don’t know how much of this he could have possibly foreseen, but if the cap really will drop by a substantive amount without ‘automatic’ salary rollbacks to accommodate it… holy hell.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/29/12 at 12:25 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

As an aside, does a rapidly-decreasing cap after this year cut Holland any slack from the people who were (and still are) howling about how absentee of a GM he’s been to date?  I don’t know how much of this he could have possibly foreseen, but if the cap really will drop by a substantive amount without ‘automatic’ salary rollbacks to accommodate it… holy hell.

It shouldn’t. He got lucky, that’s all.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/29/12 at 12:44 PM ET

Heaton's avatar

It shouldn’t. He got lucky, that’s all.

Lucky?  This team has gotten significantly weaker from year to year since 2009-2010 season.  Holland hasn’t made any moves to really improve the team and we’re looking at being the weakest in a long, long time wasting the final years of Z and Datsyuk. 

On top of that, Holland’s motto for all trades has been ‘the price is too high’.  Too high for what?  We have a stable of decent prospects who will probably not ever see the ice for the Wings, why not use the stable he’s built up to improve the team when it’s needed it the most?

Posted by Heaton on 08/29/12 at 12:59 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

to the degree public perception even matters in this impasse

That degree is insultingly small.

Since nobody who has a source has discussed how the cap relates to the midpoint, which relates directly to the players’ share of expected revenues, I’m going to assume that they’re going to keep the same -8/Midpoint/+8 relation of floor-to-midpoint-to-cap.

In doing that, it reveals what the league is trying to get the players to swallow in terms of reduced HRR considerations.

Figure that a $70.2M cap is built on a $62.2M midpoint, which assumes all 30 teams have space to pay players a grand total of $1.866 billion, which at a 57% players share makes the grand total of expected HRR in the league $3.27B.

Now, if you assume that nothing has changed and that a $58M cap means a $50M midpoint, that means the players are owed a total of $1.5B from all 30 teams. If the 51.6% of HRR remains the same (as reported by Darren Dreger last night), that means the league is trying to change the $3.27B figure that they used to figure out the current cap to $2.9B*.

Essentially, the league is trying to get the players to take a $370 million pay-cut because they want to redefine what counts as money they’ve actually made as part of running their league to assume that $370 million of the dollars they earn simply don’t count.

What’s better is that they’re saying “you don’t have to get paid anything less. Instead of taking $370 million less, you’ll simply just owe us back $370 million at the end of the season.”

(* if you keep the same $3.27B revenue figure and change the relationship between the salary cap and the midpoint, that dollar figure means the midpoint would be $56.3 million and the salary cap would be just $1.7M above that.)

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/29/12 at 01:02 PM ET

Avatar

As an aside, does a rapidly-decreasing cap after this year cut Holland any slack from the people who were (and still are) howling about how absentee of a GM he’s been to date?

I don’t know, do you really think that when/if the cap drops without a salary rollback, the Wings are going be sitting pretty, having to make the difficult choice between getting Ryan Suter, Zdeno Chara, Duncan Keith or Drew Doughty for under market value?

No, he doesn’t get credit for hoping that players fall into his lap after failing on all of the attempts he made to sign scoring wingers of top four defensemen this off-season.

Posted by Garth on 08/29/12 at 01:09 PM ET

Avatar

Lucky?  This team has gotten significantly weaker from year to year since 2009-2010 season.  Holland hasn’t made any moves to really improve the team and we’re looking at being the weakest in a long, long time wasting the final years of Z and Datsyuk. 

On top of that, Holland’s motto for all trades has been ‘the price is too high’.  Too high for what?  We have a stable of decent prospects who will probably not ever see the ice for the Wings, why not use the stable he’s built up to improve the team when it’s needed it the most?

The problem is, a whole lot of that has been cap-related.  As a roster, Detroit peaked in 2008-9 when they were able to have Hossa around for a year because of contract spacing.  From then on they’ve had to shed salary every year just to stay under the cap after re-signing Franzen and Zetterberg… and even if you’re a pro-Hossa anti-Franzen guy the situation would have been exactly the same, if not worse, had the team retained Hossa over Fraznzen.

This past year was really the first one where Detroit had space ‘to burn’ as it were, and even then we’re only talking about 4.5 mil of cap space where pretty much all of it resulted from Rafalski’s somewhat unexpected retirement.  He ‘replaced’ Raffy with White, which turned out pretty well.

I’d say this season, with as much presumed space as Detroit has, is a pretty fair point to determine what Holland can/will do with significant cap space… and if one presumes for the moment the ceiling will drop by some number in the millions, well, suddenly having a bunch of space at the end of that season seems like a pretty good position to be in, all things considered.

As far as trade prices go, IMO ‘too high’ means the asset they are getting is less valuable to the overall success of the team than the ones they’d have to give up.  For instance, if Detroit has to give up a bunch just to get a guy like Nash, just so they can then have a bunch of money tied up in Nash instead of tied up in the NHL assets they moved to get him, that doesn’t really make the team ‘better’ per se, just diffrerently flawed.

Nowadays the whole idea of trade value has been changed, due in whole to the salary cap.  The exact same player can be worth substantially more or less in a trade merely because of the length, amount and structure of his contract.

Something I said back on HF is that the goals should be, in order:

1)Make a good move.
2)Don’t do anything stupid.

If there aren’t any good moves around to be made, there’s nothing wrong with sitting back until those good moves show up even if that means fans are going to cry about the team not being active enough.  Holland made a big offer on Suter, a decent offer on Parise, whatever he offered Weber would have been moot.

None of those worked out, and none of that should be viewed as Holland’s fault because going appreciably beyond where he did would have resulted in trouble down the road.

I’m fairly sure there’s a number out there that Holland could have offered both Parise and Suter to get them to come to Detroit… but then what?  Whatever that number is, it would end up with the team being well over the cap, even with Hudler gone.

For example, even if the Wings got Suter and Parise for ‘just’ what they signed with Minny for, that means Sammy, Brunner and Tootoo aren’t signed (which I’m sure few would care about), but it also means that Fil and/or Howard won’t be retained, and keeping Abdelkdaer would get harder, and with the nature of the Franzen, Z, Suter and Parise deals those problems would be around effectively forever.

But the 2012-13 season would be fun, right?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/29/12 at 01:24 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Lucky?  This team has gotten significantly weaker from year to year since 2009-2010 season.  Holland hasn’t made any moves to really improve the team and we’re looking at being the weakest in a long, long time wasting the final years of Z and Datsyuk. 
On top of that, Holland’s motto for all trades has been ‘the price is too high’.  Too high for what?  We have a stable of decent prospects who will probably not ever see the ice for the Wings, why not use the stable he’s built up to improve the team when it’s needed it the most?
Posted by Heaton on 08/29/12 at 12:59 PM ET

This ^^^^^ 
I was a Holland optimist until this past season’s trade deadline. Now I’m starting to become a Holland realist and I don’t like what’s going on here. We have a glut of bottom 6 forwards and 6, count ‘em, 6 Dmen! Unless the dude pulls off a shocking trade for at least one top 4 Dman I’m gonna hold his feet to the fire.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 08/29/12 at 01:29 PM ET

Avatar

I don’t know, do you really think that when/if the cap drops without a salary rollback, the Wings are going be sitting pretty, having to make the difficult choice between getting Ryan Suter, Zdeno Chara, Duncan Keith or Drew Doughty for under market value?

Probably not, seeing as how those guys are under contracts, but how about impending UFAs like Iginla, Perry, Getzlaf, Connolly, Ribiero, Morrow, Regehr, Roy, Horton, Zajac, Clowe, Penner, Weiss, etc.

Or impending RFAs like Lucic, Seguin, Rask, Gagner, Pietrangelo, Hornqvist, Stewart, Wheeler, Marchand, Bogosian, etc?

Those guys, being eventual FAs of some stripe or another, may be available at reasonable prices.  And how about guys two years out teams might be willing to move to shed cap space?  Heatley, Gaborik, Vanek, Thornton, Marleau, Bouwmeester, Stasny, Phaneuf, Sedins, Cammalieri, Markov, Kessel, Bergeron, etc.

Obviously not all (or even most, or even 40%) of those guys would be available, regardless of how the cap moves.

But some of them would be.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/29/12 at 01:34 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Just to clarify, my opinion is the same as yours. When I said “lucky”, I meant in the case of a cap rollback not proportional to salary rollback, with a player landing on Detroit because of it.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/29/12 at 01:35 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Also, if Dreger’s correct and the cap goes to $58M, the Wings would have to shed salary to get someone new (we’re at $57,1M now) and who knows if Holland is willing to lose someone.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/29/12 at 01:41 PM ET

Avatar

For example, even if the Wings got Suter and Parise for ‘just’ what they signed with Minny for, that means Sammy, Brunner and Tootoo aren’t signed (which I’m sure few would care about), but it also means that Fil and/or Howard won’t be retained, and keeping Abdelkdaer would get harder, and with the nature of the Franzen, Z, Suter and Parise deals those problems would be around effectively forever.

Actually, based on the cap as it currently stands, signing Parise & Suter instead of Sammy & Tootoo still has Detroit comfortable under the cap.  Signing Abdelkader would put them over the roster limit, but any number of bottom-six salaries could be shed via waivers, or maybe not even that would be needed because Eaves is a question mark right now, likely to at least start the season on the IR.

Also, Cleary and White are on the last year of their contracts, so if they really needed the space to re-sign Filppula and Howard, they could likely use that space for the time being, at least, and it’s unlikely that Filppula and Howard would combine for a nearly $6M raise, so tagging space wouldn’t be an issue.

Also, signing Suter & Parise would likely make it easier to sign Abdelkader because he wouldn’t be able to point to Tootoo’s contract as evidence that he should be making at least that $1.9M a year.  Without that contract, Detroit could point at Draper and Maltby as the range that Abdelkader should be within.

And having cap issues while being able to hold onto a core that includes Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Parise, Franzen, Suter, Kronwall, Howard and potentially Filppul is a pretty OK problem to have, and it gives the Wings a reason to give some inexpensive younger players a chance on the big club.

Just sayin’

Posted by Garth on 08/29/12 at 01:43 PM ET

Avatar

But some of them would be.

Is this a guarantee on par with the guarantee that Lidstrom would miss 15-20 games this year if he stayed on?

Posted by Garth on 08/29/12 at 01:44 PM ET

Avatar

Actually, based on the cap as it currently stands, signing Parise & Suter instead of Sammy & Tootoo still has Detroit comfortable under the cap.  Signing Abdelkader would put them over the roster limit, but any number of bottom-six salaries could be shed via waivers, or maybe not even that would be needed because Eaves is a question mark right now, likely to at least start the season on the IR.

And so then when the cap goes down by some number of millions… what happens then?

Also, Cleary and White are on the last year of their contracts, so if they really needed the space to re-sign Filppula and Howard, they could likely use that space for the time being, at least, and it’s unlikely that Filppula and Howard would combine for a nearly $6M raise, so tagging space wouldn’t be an issue.

So then who replaces White’s money on the blue line?  Or Cleary’s at forward?

Also, signing Suter & Parise would likely make it easier to sign Abdelkader because he wouldn’t be able to point to Tootoo’s contract as evidence that he should be making at least that $1.9M a year.

No, he’d just point to Helm’s deal instead and say he should be making at least 1.5.

And having cap issues while being able to hold onto a core that includes Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Parise, Franzen, Suter, Kronwall, Howard and potentially Filppul is a pretty OK problem to have,

Except that in a reality where the cap goes down by some number of millions next year without automatic rollbacks the team wouldn’t have Howard and Fil at the least.

It’s pretty tough to shave 6-10 mil off a roster to hit a 60ish mil cap number when you’d be at a starting point at which 40+ mil is already tied up in 6 guys.  That leaves, what, around 20ish mil for 15 skaters, in which group will include a starting goaltender?

Seriously, do me a favor and try and work out that roster on a cap geek calculator.  Your eyes will boggle.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/29/12 at 01:54 PM ET

Avatar

Is this a guarantee on par with the guarantee that Lidstrom would miss 15-20 games this year if he stayed on?

Did you miss this past offseason or something?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/29/12 at 01:55 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Also, if Dreger’s correct and the cap goes to $58M, the Wings would have to shed salary to get someone new (we’re at $57,1M now) and who knows if Holland is willing to lose someone.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/29/12 at 01:41 PM ET

Nah, we’ve got a 23-man roster right now. So what if it only has 6 Dmen?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/29/12 at 02:00 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/29/12 at 01:24 PM ET

I agree with all your posts here.

Holland took legitimate shots at the two best players in UFA. And while it wouldn’t be reasonable to give him credit for “knowing” the cap would shrink without rollbacks (assuming this current NHL proposal lays a framework for negotiations moving forward), it is totally reasonable to give him credit for realizing it was unlikely the cap would stay where it was currently at, and there was way too much unpredictability to shell out big-time dollars to anyone.

Another way to put it is, if this framework ends up being the structure of a deal, roughly 16 - 20 teams will need to shed salary, over 10 of which would have to shed big time salary. If Holland is able to use that to improve his team, that is admittedly down to luck. But the fact that he’s set his team in a spot to cope fairly easily with almost any potential economic agreement that might come forth, is down to being really freakin’ good at his job.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 08/29/12 at 02:59 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Holland took legitimate shots at the two best players in UFA. And while it wouldn’t be reasonable to give him credit for “knowing” the cap would shrink without rollbacks (assuming this current NHL proposal lays a framework for negotiations moving forward), it is totally reasonable to give him credit for realizing it was unlikely the cap would stay where it was currently at, and there was way too much unpredictability to shell out big-time dollars to anyone.

That doesn’t make sense. He didn’t realize anything, he struck out and might get lucky.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/29/12 at 03:12 PM ET

Keyser S.'s avatar

Holland offered a very good contract to both parise and suter. Minny overpaid.

“Price to high for trades”. He didn’t want to trade our good young players who will earn a lower salary and peak in the near future instead of trading for an expensive veteran who may be past his prime.

When all our young prospects pan out (crossing fingers), holland will look like a genius holding on to all our core pieces of the future (smith, jarnkrok, nyquist, jurco, etc.).

Posted by Keyser S. on 08/29/12 at 03:23 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

That doesn’t make sense. He didn’t realize anything, he struck out and might get lucky.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/29/12 at 03:12 PM ET

If it doesn’t make sense… read it again?

Another way to put it…

He can’t be given credit if he lucks into a very specific situation where teams are forced to buy out lots of talent to become cap compliant. But he can and should be given credit for not overreacting to the Suter and Parise decisions in the face of what is, regardless of the exact outcome, a very uncertain labor situation.

And seriously, does anyone really think there is a single GM in the league that is stupid enough to not realize there was economic uncertainty immediately ahead, and a high probability that the cap would change? Gary Bettman didn’t just throw that first (or this current) proposal out there without consulting the owners he represents. The writing about this labor strife has been on the wall from a fan perspective for at least eight months (or longer, if you’re the pessimistic type). I’m sure all owners and their GMs have had even longer to let it sync in and realize how it introduces a lot of complications to their off-season plans.

My point is, every GM made a conscious decision, armed with these obvious concerns of risk, on how to approach this off-season. How did Holland make the wrong decision? From everything we can possibly know as of today, he made the most balanced decisions possible, by getting in heavily on the only two UFAs worth anything, without overreacting to losing out on them by making snap offers to the likes of Semin or Doan.

I would love to see this roster look better than it does, but it is what it is. I’m not sure why so many Wings fans seem convinced that Holland could’ve realistically done more. The club has been so good for so long, through a few different iterations in team structure, that I think us fans take Holland and Co.‘s work for granted. He delivered the snap, on-the-fly rebuild/retool/reload a couple times with success, and finally he succumbs to what every other club and GM in the game has had to deal with at least once or twice since the late ‘90s. The guy is still batting 0.667, for crying out loud, and this time around, it wasn’t like he struck out on three pitches, all looking.

And maybe, just maybe, Holland is finally realizing what we’ve all been denying, and want to continue to deny. That the more times you “reload” without “rebuilding,” the more you’re just kicking the can down the road. Unless you hit the Zetterberg/Datsyuk jackpot in the 5th round of the draft again, the continued reloading leaves you with aging star players surrounded by a whole lot of really nice mid-level players, but no young guns you can really count on to lead your team through its next generation.

The only other way out is UFA, and he finally had the space and took his shot. And methinks that the Wings not landing Suter and Parise has a lot more to do with Suter and Parise making decisions for themselves than it does Holland not doing enough, or the Wings losing any luster. Sometimes people don’t want to play for the Wings. And sometimes it may not even be that they aren’t interested in playing here, it just might be that they’re a little more interested in another place.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 08/29/12 at 03:51 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The writing about this labor strife has been on the wall from a fan perspective for at least eight months (or longer, if you’re the pessimistic type)

Roughly the same amount of time the Brad Stuart leaving writing was on the wall and way shorter than the writing was on the wall about the impending end to Nick Lidstrom’s career or the need to have a bonafied top-six scoring winger.

 

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/29/12 at 04:03 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Posted by Keyser S. from http://theredwingsforum.com on 08/29/12 at 03:23 PM ET

Obviously they won’t all pan out, but your point is valid. At some point, you have to stop shuffling off prospects for established talent, especially in a sport with a cap, or as a team with a necessary self-imposed budget. Those young players are the only way you ever get a shot at having premium talent ripping up the ice on a (relatively) shoe-string budget. If you keep trading those players for established guys, you eventually bump up against the cap or your budget, and the result looks like the Florida Marlins in 1997. Or you eventually look like the Wings do today—you hit a crossroads where if you can’t get that one or two very important UFAs to say “yes” to you, you sit in the middle, with a roster still worth icing and able to play solid hockey, but not a roster you can really expect to be a Cup contender.

Even the Yankees have had to have cycles where they’ve rebuilt with talent from their own drafting and/or development. Even when the checkbook is always open, it seems like this is inevitable.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 08/29/12 at 04:04 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 08/29/12 at 03:51 PM ET

Apparently you think I’m talking about the last two months, not the last two seasons.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/29/12 at 04:14 PM ET

Avatar

Roughly the same amount of time the Brad Stuart leaving writing was on the wall and way shorter than the writing was on the wall about the impending end to Nick Lidstrom’s career or the need to have a bonafied top-six scoring winger.

As far as replacing Brad Stuart goes, Kyle Quincey.  Granted, I’m far from a Quincey fan and it’s not like the guys are clones of each other, but that was the general idea when Holland made that move.

As far as replacing Lidstrom goes, you aren’t ever going to replace what Lidstrom was when he was good, and replacing what Lidstrom was last year and likely would have been this year is much easier.

And why, exactly, did Detroit need to add a top 6 scoring winger?  All they really needed to do is replace Hudler’s production, which they’ve done by adding Sammy.  And this assumes Nyqvist and Brunner are zeroes.

I mean, Detroit was at 248 goals last year, exactly one behind Vancouver and good for 2nd in the West.  Why do they need more scoring up front?

Sure, it’d be nice if the Wings added some size and offense up front, but when you’re already the second best team in the conference offensively I don’t quite get how people see an improvement in that area as a need.

Detroit’s actual needs, in terms of things that the team really didn’t do very well last year and that should be improved, are their special teams.. .which were AWFUL.

PP was 22nd in the NHL.  PK was 18th in the NHL.

Those suck.  Those are the things that need to be improved.  While a top 6 scorer up front would possibly address the PP side of that equation, there are cheaper ways to do it and guys who specialize there who would be far less expensive.  Same thing with the PK.  Rather than spending a gajillion dollars on a Parise or a Suter you can find solid guys who can PP and solid guys who can PK for rather less.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/29/12 at 05:27 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

As far as replacing Brad Stuart goes, Kyle Quincey.  Granted, I’m far from a Quincey fan and it’s not like the guys are clones of each other, but that was the general idea when Holland made that move.

So… he did SOMETHING, but not something that was good enough.  That’s easy enough to grant because it doesn’t really change much.

As far as replacing Lidstrom goes, you aren’t ever going to replace what Lidstrom was when he was good, and replacing what Lidstrom was last year and likely would have been this year is much easier.

I’m not interested in having seen Ken Holland do some moves two or three years ago that would have ended up with Detroit being only as good as they were at the end of last season. Being eliminated early in the playoffs was not a fluke. The Red Wings had a Norris-caliber Lidstrom two seasons ago and lost in the 2nd round. Then they got worse. Now they’re not even back up to being as good as the point they were when they weren’t good enough to get out of the first round (or even if you want to be a bit more positive on them, probably weren’t good enough to escape the 2nd round).

So far, Ken Holland is getting credit for not panicking and making the team worse than they are now. I’m ok with actually giving him credit for that, but as defense against the charge that it’s impossible for him to have created a team that’s better than it is right now due to every factor going back multiple years happening as they’ve happened, it doesn’t cut it.

Those suck.  Those are the things that need to be improved.  While a top 6 scorer up front would possibly address the PP side of that equation, there are cheaper ways to do it and guys who specialize there who would be far less expensive.

Like Tomas Holmstrom, the cheap PP specialist who was supposed to have kept the Wings’ PP from sucking?  How many teams succeeded by filling their roster with cheap PP specialists who play less than 9 minutes per night at even strength?  Is that a viable strategy anywhere?  It’s certainly an idea, but it doesn’t seem to be a good one.

Another way to cut expenses would be to eliminate the 4-5 extra bottom-six forwards Detroit has that serve intensely overlapping purposes. That’s a tough decision because I like most of those guys.

The Red Wings tried using cheaper PK specialists this season. It turns out that strategy didn’t work too well and ended up with the Wings having the 18th best PK in the league.  If we’re going to try that again by just hoping the cheap guys we get to replace the cheap guys we already have, then fine, but I can’t help but notice that the last time Detroit had a top-ten kill, it involved the team’s highest-paid players getting more PK time.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/29/12 at 05:54 PM ET

Avatar

So… he did SOMETHING, but not something that was good enough.  That’s easy enough to grant because it doesn’t really change much.

How do you know it’s not good enough, though?  I have my doubts for sure, and I see some areas that definitely need to be addressed, but the season hasn’t started yet and the moves haven’t been completed.

If, moving forward, Holland picks up a decent defenseman in order to get Kindl off the active roster we’d be looking at a blue line with Kronwall, White, E, Quincey, Smith and the addition.  Which means Smith would have all the opportunity in the world to step up and be big this year, and even if he just takes a small step forward as long as he’s able to play some PP and some PK things aren’t nearly as dire.

Being eliminated early in the playoffs was not a fluke. The Red Wings had a Norris-caliber Lidstrom two seasons ago and lost in the 2nd round. Then they got worse. Now they’re not even back up to being as good as the point they were when they weren’t good enough to get out of the first round (or even if you want to be a bit more positive on them, probably weren’t good enough to escape the 2nd round).

Welcome to a salary capped league, I guess.  Last year Detroit was right around 18th in salary, which means they were around 5 mil under the top spending team.

That kind of spending compression means that it’s impossible to build any kind of dynasty, or even to assure any kind of continued playoff success.

For example, tell me about Chicago’s playoff runs after their 2010 Cup, or Pittsburgh’s after their 2009 Cup.  Or Boston’s.  Or Vancouver’s after their Finals appearance.  Or San Jose’s playoffs, pretty much ever.

That’s the way it’s going to be as long as a hard cap, narrow band system is in place.  Just getting to the playoffs and submitting your 1 in 16 chance raffle ticket is the new normal.

Like Tomas Holmstrom, the cheap PP specialist who was supposed to have kept the Wings’ PP from sucking?  How many teams succeeded by filling their roster with cheap PP specialists who play less than 9 minutes per night at even strength?  Is that a viable strategy anywhere?  It’s certainly an idea, but it doesn’t seem to be a good one.

First off, I think it’s a little disingenuous to blame the guy who had 10 PP goals for the inability of the PP to score.  Homer had more PP goals than D, Z and Hudler COMBINED last season, JJ.  D had 4, Z had 3, and Hudler had 2.

Secondly, I think you’re struggling with the notion that it is possible to add one PP specialist without “filling their roster with cheap PP specialists”.  And the idea that just because a guy in a role performs it poorly the viability of the role isn’t always in question, just of the player.

That said, with Sammy, Brunner and Nyqvist Detroit has three reasonably decent shots at having a good PP guy to spice things up on the PP already.  And as I mentioned earlier, Datsyuk and Zettereberg in particular were huge parts of the PP’s failures last season.  In 2011 they combined for 16 goals and Datsyuk miss 26 games.  In 2010 they had 12.  In 2009 they had 23.

In 2012 they had 7.

Another way to cut expenses would be to eliminate the 4-5 extra bottom-six forwards Detroit has that serve intensely overlapping purposes. That’s a tough decision because I like most of those guys.

How does that cut expenses, though?  When you get into the sub 2.5 mil slot of player, you’re either going to be spending the league minimum on a scrub or a rookie, or 1.5ish on a vet with a track record.  In either case there isn’t much, if any, money there to be saved in aggregate.

The Red Wings tried using cheaper PK specialists this season. It turns out that strategy didn’t work too well and ended up with the Wings having the 18th best PK in the league.  If we’re going to try that again by just hoping the cheap guys we get to replace the cheap guys we already have, then fine, but I can’t help but notice that the last time Detroit had a top-ten kill, it involved the team’s highest-paid players getting more PK time.

I don’t know if that’s true in the manner you suggest, because the last time the Wings had a top 10 PK was 2010, when it was 10th.  In 2010 the top 12 names in terms of total time on the PK, in order, was as follows:  Stuart, Lidstrom, Helm, Eaves, Miller, Ericsson, Kronwall, Maltby, Rafalski, Cleary, Zetterberg, Filppula.

In 2011 it was Salei and Abby in, Rafalski and Maltby out.

In 2012 it was White in, Fil out.

The general composition of the PK hasn’t changed much at all on a substantive, personnel level.  What’s happened is that some of the key components (Lidstrom and Stuart specifically) have declined in those roles.  Yes, Lidstrom as the highest paid guy on the team getting PK run makes your statement fundamentally correct, but since the compensation balance wasn’t appreciably different in 2011 and 2012 than it was in 2010, I don’t know how you can draw that corollary.

 

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/30/12 at 06:58 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

The PP sucked for one reason and one reason only: Blashil.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 08/30/12 at 07:58 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

For example, tell me about Chicago’s playoff runs after their 2010 Cup, or Pittsburgh’s after their 2009 Cup.  Or Boston’s.  Or Vancouver’s after their Finals appearance.  Or San Jose’s playoffs, pretty much ever.

Are you talking about the Chicago team that, even after being gutted by the cap took the eventual conference champion Vancouver Canucks to seven games in the first round? Or the Pittsburgh team that’s consistently been considered a real shot at the cup? Or a Boston squad that was on a decent number of lists as expected to win the Eastern Conference finals? Or the Vancouver Canucks team that got beaten by what would become the cup champions?

Yeah, except for Chicago, all of those teams were considered good shots. They were all favored to make it out of their first-round matchups. I get that it’s harder to be great now, but the Wings weren’t close to that. Each of those teams (again, except Chicago) were better than Detroit this season.

Secondly, I think you’re struggling with the notion that it is possible to add one PP specialist without “filling their roster with cheap PP specialists”.  And the idea that just because a guy in a role performs it poorly the viability of the role isn’t always in question, just of the player.

I’m struggling with the idea of where to place a PP specialist in Detroit’s lineup and with the idea of how many teams actually employ this tactic. It’s a copycat league; if this were the best tactic, why isn’t everybody copycatting the 22nd-best PP in the league last year?

How does that cut expenses, though?

Well, when you eliminate a player from your organization, you don’t have to pay him any more .

In 2010 the top 12 names in terms of total time on the PK, in order, was as follows:  Stuart, Lidstrom, Helm, Eaves, Miller, Ericsson, Kronwall, Maltby, Rafalski, Cleary, Zetterberg, Filppula.

First, it’s hilarious that you went by straight TOI over the course of the season, and 2nd, I think it’s missing a huge chunk of context to realize how much more PK time Nick Lidstrom at Nick Lidstrom’s level played then than he did this last season.  Again, we all understand the “can’t replace Lidstrom” argument, but you’re arguing that we should be ok trying to replace him with some cheap specialist (which, by the way, still hasn’t been done).  I disagree.

 

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/30/12 at 08:18 AM ET

Avatar

Are you talking about the Chicago team that, even after being gutted by the cap took the eventual conference champion Vancouver Canucks to seven games in the first round? Or the Pittsburgh team that’s consistently been considered a real shot at the cup? Or a Boston squad that was on a decent number of lists as expected to win the Eastern Conference finals? Or the Vancouver Canucks team that got beaten by what would become the cup champions?

Are you complaining about a Wings team that took SJ to 7 games in 2011, then? wink

Look, if you want to say losing in the first or second round is an indication of failure, then be consistent about it.  If you’re going to try and lipstick the pig, then be consistent about that and do it for Detroit as well.

The reality is that after winning a Cup the Hawks have lost in the first round twice.

After winning a Cup the Penguins lost in the second round and then the first round twice.

The Bruins lost in the first round, lost in the second round twice, won a Cup, and then lost in the first round.

The Canucks missed the playoffs, lost in the second round twice, lost in the Finals, and then lost in the first round.

The Wings won a Cup, lost in the Finals, lost in the second round twice and lost in the first round.

In other words, their postseason performance the past 4 or 5 years is as accomplished as anyone elses… which should be the great big blinking hint that if all the good franchises are accomplishing right about the same thing, that’s probably the effective ceiling.  Win a Cup or at least get really deep, surrounded by a solid chunk of years not getting out of round 2.

I’m struggling with the idea of where to place a PP specialist in Detroit’s lineup and with the idea of how many teams actually employ this tactic. It’s a copycat league; if this were the best tactic, why isn’t everybody copycatting the 22nd-best PP in the league last year?

Do me a favor.  Go to your preferred site that handles IT numbers and look at how many teams have guys who play a whole bunch (2+ minutes) on the PP but who don’t have top line minutes at ES.  It will open your eyes.  Now, it’s not always to the extreme of Homer this past year or Hudler two years ago, but all kinds of teams have guys who play 12ish minutes at ES and 2ish minutes on the PP with no PK time to be seen.

Well, when you eliminate a player from your organization, you don’t have to pay him any more .

But you do have to replace him with someone, right?  Or are you just talking about having a 19 or 20 man roster?

First, it’s hilarious that you went by straight TOI over the course of the season, and 2nd, I think it’s missing a huge chunk of context to realize how much more PK time Nick Lidstrom at Nick Lidstrom’s level played then than he did this last season.  Again, we all understand the “can’t replace Lidstrom” argument, but you’re arguing that we should be ok trying to replace him with some cheap specialist (which, by the way, still hasn’t been done).  I disagree.

Why do you think it’s ‘hilarious’ to employ the amount of time the guy played on the unit to ballpark his impact on said unit?  Other than TOI, exactly what kind of metric were you thinking about employing?

Next, I think you’re running into the same problem a few other people are… namely, overestimating how much of a positive impact Lidstrom was.  In their cases, overall, in your case, on the PK.

Lidstrom was the NUMBER FOUR PK Dman last year.  He played less than Kronwall, less than Stuart, and less than Ericsson.  Both per game and in aggregate.  While out there Lidstrom gave up PK goals at a greater rate than either Stuart or Kronwall or Ericsson.

Those are all metrics which suggest to me that replacing that kind of guy on the PK is far easier than one might ordinarily suspect.

As far as the ‘still hasn’t been done’ thing… well, obviously.  The problem I’ve had with some of the anti-Holland complaints lately is that there is a presumption of finality, that he’s made all his moves and things are what they are, therefore he’s failed/sucks/blahblahblah.

My position is that if Holland adds a guy who is a good PKer, replacing Lidstrom is a whole lot closer to being accomplished.  If Smith is able to step up a little offensively it’d be just about complete, at least as far as the on-ice stuff goes.

And heck, even if he doesn’t do that now as long as he gets it done by the deadline I’m fine with it.  My concern about what the team looks like in October is about 1/100th of my level of concern about what the team looks like in March and April.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/30/12 at 08:55 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Are you complaining about a Wings team that took SJ to 7 games in 2011, then?

Reread. I was absolutely not. I said this year’s team got worse and the current team isn’t even as good as that.

Sure, you could force words out of my mouth that I didn’t say, but that’s dishonest. You tell me how many of those clubs who all lost in the first round that this year’s first-round exit Wings were better than. I wouldn’t confidently put this team up against many of those clubs.

But you do have to replace him with someone, right?  Or are you just talking about having a 19 or 20 man roster?

I’m talking about this supposed need to save money on a team that’s still more than $12M under the cap… or did the $58M cap talk that the players rejected yesterday become some sort of new need for them to cut salary somewhere?

Next, I think you’re running into the same problem a few other people are… namely, overestimating how much of a positive impact Lidstrom was.  In their cases, overall, in your case, on the PK.

Lidstrom was the NUMBER FOUR PK Dman last year.  He played less than Kronwall, less than Stuart, and less than Ericsson.  Both per game and in aggregate.  While out there Lidstrom gave up PK goals at a greater rate than either Stuart or Kronwall or Ericsson.

I think you’re getting caught up on the concept of “replacing Lidstrom” and missing the forest through the trees in regards to having a very good top-pairing defenseman on the roster. Lidstrom in his “not as good as he once was” iteration played the fourth-most minutes on PK and didn’t do well in that job.  Great… the Wings’ shitty PK didn’t have a defenseman to lead them in minutes and have the kind of goals-against rate while doing so that would have made him one of the top guys in the league.  Whether it’s Lidstrom or not, Detroit should have one of those defensemen and they didn’t this season, nor do they currently.

The problem I’ve had with some of the anti-Holland complaints lately is that there is a presumption of finality, that he’s made all his moves and things are what they are, therefore he’s failed/sucks/blahblahblah.

That presumption seems to be yours and yours alone. I would suggest that you perhaps take things more at face value than to assign this concept of finality to statements which don’t actually contain them.  Holland’s offseason grade right now is not good. If something changes, so will that.

My position is that if Holland adds a guy who is a good PKer, replacing Lidstrom is a whole lot closer to being accomplished.  If Smith is able to step up a little offensively it’d be just about complete, at least as far as the on-ice stuff goes.

Sure. But he hasn’t done that to this point, so to this point, it is a failure. Nobody has said that it will always be a failure no matter what he does, but I’m sure everybody would be a lot more comfortable if they didn’t have to look out over the current wasteland of FA defensemen and the highly-priced trade market to discover that guy who it’s very easy to agree the Red Wings still need.

If you’re not worried about how the Wings look until March, then why are you arguing so much in favor of how they look in August?  Right, it’s because of your “presumption of finality”.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/30/12 at 09:15 AM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

My position is that if Holland adds a guy who is a good PKer, replacing Lidstrom is a whole lot closer to being accomplished.

Statements like that are a result of a bored hockey fan being deliberately argumentative minus the substance.  He’s finding the one theme every Wing fan agrees upon: the fact that the Wings are worse off, no matter what additions Holland makes (or doesn’t make) due to Lidstrom’s retirement and debating it for the sake of debate.

HD’s bored and wants us to believe he’s some sort of above the crust pariah. The level headed Wing fan amongst a gaggle of reactionaries.  A simpler description is that he’s being a dick.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 08/30/12 at 11:48 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

A simpler description is that he’s being a dick.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 08/30/12 at 11:48 AM ET

Well yeah, Chief. But there’s nothing else to goddamn do right now and it’s fun being a dick right back.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/30/12 at 12:03 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

Well yeah, Chief. But there’s nothing else to goddamn do right now and it’s fun being a dick right back.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/30/12 at 12:03 PM ET

I understand.  Keep up the steady strain.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 08/30/12 at 12:13 PM ET

Avatar

Reread. I was absolutely not. I said this year’s team got worse and the current team isn’t even as good as that.

Sure, you could force words out of my mouth that I didn’t say, but that’s dishonest. You tell me how many of those clubs who all lost in the first round that this year’s first-round exit Wings were better than. I wouldn’t confidently put this team up against many of those clubs.

Of course you wouldn’t.  That, you see, is the point.  The days of being able to ‘confidently’ put up one playoff team against another playoff team is long, long gone.

Going into pretty much every playoff from here on out (assuming the cap and band stay the same) every series is going to be tight.  It’s been getting tighter ever since the current system was put in place and it’s got a couple more notches to tighten yet.

I’m talking about this supposed need to save money on a team that’s still more than $12M under the cap… or did the $58M cap talk that the players rejected yesterday become some sort of new need for them to cut salary somewhere?

You’re not getting my point.  My point is that if you’ve got 40 mil tied up in 6 guys and the cap is 60 mil, you’re dead, cap wise.  There’s no way to save enough money out of the bottom 6 to even that out.  None at all.

Here, let me give you an example.  If Detroit kept D, Z, Franzen, Fil, Sammy, Bert and Cleary at forward, and then Kronwall, E, Quincey, Smith and White on the blue line and Howard in goal and replaced every other player on the roster with a league minimum (525k) player they would save right around 6 million dollars.

That means bye bye Abby, Helm, Brunner, Tootoo (awwwwww), Gustavsson, Miller, everybody who makes over 525, gone.

That’s what I’m talking about when I point out how little savings there is to be had in the bottom half of a roster.

Now, if you cut the roster back to 19 or 20 guys it’s possible to save some money, sure… but that kind of system has it’s own drawbacks too.

think you’re getting caught up on the concept of “replacing Lidstrom” and missing the forest through the trees in regards to having a very good top-pairing defenseman on the roster. Lidstrom in his “not as good as he once was” iteration played the fourth-most minutes on PK and didn’t do well in that job.  Great… the Wings’ shitty PK didn’t have a defenseman to lead them in minutes and have the kind of goals-against rate while doing so that would have made him one of the top guys in the league.  Whether it’s Lidstrom or not, Detroit should have one of those defensemen and they didn’t this season, nor do they currently.

No, I agree with that, JJ.  That’s why I’m far from stressed about Lidstrom and Stuart leaving and the alleged holes they leave behind.  They weren’t that great in those roles while they were recently here, so their absence isn’t one that worries me overmuch.  But, yes, the Wings do need to prop up their PK primarily with a roster addition, or a redistribution of minutes.

That presumption seems to be yours and yours alone. I would suggest that you perhaps take things more at face value than to assign this concept of finality to statements which don’t actually contain them.

I think you need to go back and actually read some of the comments being made then, JJ.  Not much inference is required.

If you’re not worried about how the Wings look until March, then why are you arguing so much in favor of how they look in August?

What have I said that leads you to believe I am arguing in favor of how they look now?  That, JJ, requires a whole lot of ‘putting words into mouths’.

I think the Wings have some weaknesses, they have time to address them, but as things stand now they’re likely one of the 8 best teams in the West, so there’s that.

Where people have been going a bit overboard is in the presumption that the Wings need to be appreciably better than everyone else, lest Holland be viewed as a failure.  As I’ve explained, within a cap/band set up like the NHL has currently that kind of expectation is a little extreme.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/30/12 at 03:27 PM ET

Avatar

Statements like that are a result of a bored hockey fan being deliberately argumentative minus the substance. 

Then, quite simply, you don’t know what you are talking about.

Lidstrom’s been slipping for a few years now, Chief.  Sorry.  His PK time has gone down every year since the lockout ended.  When he’s been out there the PP goals allowed has gone up for three years.

That’s what happens when guys turn, you know, 42.  Don’t take it personally.

the fact that the Wings are worse off, no matter what additions Holland makes (or doesn’t make) due to Lidstrom’s retirement and debating it for the sake of debate.

No, I’m saying that replacing a Lidstrom at age 42 is a far simpler endeavor than you think it is.  If Holland never ever replaces the 7.5 mil he spent on Lidstrom every year with ANYTHING, EVER… then sure.  That’s a problem.  That he hasn’t done it within the single offseason of his absence shouldn’t come as a galactic shock, should it?

My ‘problem’ here is that there’s a fairly irrational level of expectation among Wings fans, many of whom tend to get into a nice little bubble and lose sight of what’s happening in the rest of the league.

Just because the Wings postseasons haven’t been demonstrably better than the postseasons of 5 or 6 other similar franchises, a shake-up is needed.  Just because Holland hasn’t replaced one of the two or three greatest defensemen of all time in the 91 days since he announced his retirement, Holland’s asleep at the wheel.

It’s pretty silly, really.

HD’s bored and wants us to believe he’s some sort of above the crust pariah. The level headed Wing fan amongst a gaggle of reactionaries.  A simpler description is that he’s being a dick.

Yes, there is no room for rationality in your hockey world, Chief.  It must be avoided at all costs.  Noted. wink

Look, if you want the Wings to go back to being a dominant franchise, then you need to start agitating to get rid of the cap system, because until that happens the days of there being elite franchises are over.

Until then, you wishing the Wings were as good as they were back in the 2000’s and holding them to those same standards of excellence even though they play in an entirely different kind of league now just doesn’t show a whole lot of awareness about what’s what.

And that’s fine, of course, you’re just setting yourself up for many, many seasons of abject disappointment.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/30/12 at 03:43 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I think you need to go back and actually read some of the comments being made then, JJ.  Not much inference is required.

I didn’t realize I was the effigy for all of the “others” you seem to be having a problem with. It’s still not my problem that you’re having difficulty with automatically conflating criticism of Holland into any kind of a final judgment.

Next, I’ll tackle a 2-in-1, because I think they’re part of the same concept:

Where people have been going a bit overboard is in the presumption that the Wings need to be appreciably better than everyone else, lest Holland be viewed as a failure.  As I’ve explained, within a cap/band set up like the NHL has currently that kind of expectation is a little extreme.

...

The days of being able to ‘confidently’ put up one playoff team against another playoff team is long, long gone.

I think this is an unnecessarily defeatist position and I think it’s being over-rationalized.  It is harder to be dominant in the capped era and it is harder to keep a dominant team together, but the idea that the only expectation is that our GM should put together a team that’s good enough to make it into the playoffs where it’s essentially a crapshoot for the cup is flying just as far to the apologist side as you claim so many are being about passing final judgment on Holland’s tenure as GM.

While the same level of confidence going into a playoff series isn’t as likely as it was in 2002 (or..  you know… any of those years that dominant Red Wings teams DIDN’T win the cup), but there is still a way to put together a team that you can feel good about going into any series. 

If THAT team loses in the playoffs, then sure, it’s a disappointment.  I’d personally rather be disappointed by a team that gives me reason to be confident going into a series than to be proven right when a team I flat out don’t think is going to make it any farther than the 2nd round proves me right.

We’re not talking about an expectation of absolute assuredness that the Wings will win; I’m talking about being confident that the Kings would win their finals series against New Jersey.  Run that series 100 times and the Kings are going to come out on top a noticeable number of times more.  I want and expect that level of confidence going into at least the 3rd round of the playoffs and I don’t think that it’s impossible to do.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/30/12 at 04:55 PM ET

Avatar

I didn’t realize I was the effigy for all of the “others” you seem to be having a problem with. It’s still not my problem that you’re having difficulty with automatically conflating criticism of Holland into any kind of a final judgment.

I think you’re struggling with understanding to whom I am directing my comments.  For instance, when I said “I think you need to go back and actually read some of the comments being made then, JJ.  Not much inference is required.”, which was the comment you were replying to, what exactly in there led you to believe I was referring to things you said, or that I was using you as an ‘effigy’?

Seems pretty straightforward to me.

I think this is an unnecessarily defeatist position and I think it’s being over-rationalized.

And that’s fine.  And you can even feel that way after you go back and look at what every team that’s won a Cup since the lockout has done.

My point is that given what is actually happening, the idea that any franchise should be held to a standard of excellence similar to what was used in a non-cap league is, quite simply, pointless.

You may as well expect Franzen to score 50 goals a year, Howard to have 20 shutouts a year, or Kronwall to have 70 assists a year.

We’re not talking about an expectation of absolute assuredness that the Wings will win; I’m talking about being confident that the Kings would win their finals series against New Jersey.  Run that series 100 times and the Kings are going to come out on top a noticeable number of times more.  I want and expect that level of confidence going into at least the 3rd round of the playoffs and I don’t think that it’s impossible to do.

A) And at the beginning of the playoffs did more than 5% of people have any kind of idea that LA was going to pretty much dominate all the way to a Cup?  Of course not.

B) Nobody is saying it is impossible to do.  What I am saying is that it is unreasonable to expect that year in and year out anymore.

Let me put it this way.  My general impression is that ‘Wings fans’ of the stripe I am speaking of expect the Wings to get to at least the second round, every year.  And be in the top 3 or 4 in the West, every year.  And that they will get into the third round at least every 3rd year, and that all along the way rarely enter any given playoff round as a noteworthy underdog, or even give off that kind of vibe to the fanbase at large.

I think that kind of outlook is patently nuts in a capped league.  IMO being division competitive every year, getting into the playoffs 80-90% of the time and getting into the second round 50% of the time is a fair level of expectation for any elite NHL franchise in a capped league.

 

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/31/12 at 09:35 AM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

image

image

image