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Spending Does Not Equal Success

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

The Florida Panthers were like a Kardashian sister on two-for-one day at Nieman-Marcus. The Panthers, in no particular order, added Dave Bolland, Jussi Jokinen, Willie Mitchell, Shawn Thornton, Al Montoya and Derek McKenzie. Those six players will represent just under $17 million in cap space next season. Then again, Jokinen did score the 21 goals last season.

Close behind the Panthers are the Buffalo Sabres who signed Matt Moulson, Brian Gionta, Cody McCormick and Marcus Foligno in addition to picking up Josh Gorges' salary from Montreal. The cost for those five players? Just over $16 million on next year's payroll.

From there, we move to a group which didn't quite reach the Panthers-Sabres' level but still had a high old time of it this week. Washington added Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik and Justin Peters. The Islanders signed Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski, Cory Conacher and some other spare parts. Calgary's take was Derek Engelland, Jonas Hiller and Mason Raymond. New Jersey picked up Mike Cammalleri and Marty Havlat in addition to re-signing Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier.

As for your Vancouver Canucks, they'll have $11 million tied up next season in Ryan Miller and Radim "The Dream" Vrbata as well as three depth players for the organization.

Now, here's our question. Look at those teams which were spending like sailors on shore leave and see if you can identify a common denominator. The clock's ticking. The music is playing for Final Jeopardy. OK, time's up.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Hank Scorpio's avatar

Willes claims that you can’t solve a team’s problems with a checkbook.  I think that’s usually true, but Minnesota sure as heck did a few years ago.  That overpayment for Parise and hefty payment for Suter completely changed the complexion of that franchise.

It’s much rarer in the post-cap era, but you can still make a difference in free agency.

Posted by Hank Scorpio on 07/03/14 at 01:45 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

Seems to lose track of the central thesis - says free agency is a ‘criminally inefficient way to build a team’ but then goes on to acknowledge that some free agent signings make a lot of sense.

If the point is that bad teams shouldn’t sign bad players to bad deals, then it’s so obvious that it probably didn’t warrant a two page article.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 07/03/14 at 03:01 PM ET


The writer doesn’t make any sense at all. You can’t compare bottom feeders Buffalo and Florida with contenders like Ducks or the champion Kings. When your team is last or second to last in the league you have to over pay to bring needed talent while when you are great you only need a spare part. The Canucks bringing in Miller and Vrbata fill a definite void and could be the difference in Canucks making playoffs as unlikely as that is. Florida has two future stars at center in Barkov and Bjugstad. Jokinen gives one of them a proven goal scorer something Panthers lacked last season. Bolland overpaid but if healthy will add to the third line. I am glad the owner is willing to overpay to bring players like Bolland and Willie Mitchell who will mentor the young D. Jovo was not good enough to make the team last year and cost many games with his terrible play so don’t even mention him. He should retire. Some teams have to overpay to get the player and some teams are so good like Chicago they can add at a bargain price an older Richards who is still getting paid from other teams. If I was a Canuck fan I would be happy with the Miller and Vrbata signings because with all due respect to Lack I think both the Canucks players and fans will have more optimism going into training camp with them than with what was there before July 1.  Some teams need to improve and you don’t improve in the offseason worrying about the team’s checkbook while other rosters are being filled with veteran leadership and skill. Panthers, Sabres and Canucks may not make the playoffs but they all will be tough to play against next year.

Posted by Puckbubba on 07/04/14 at 10:55 AM ET

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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.

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