Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/15/07 at 09:20 AM ET
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
In fact, big-market teams do have a distinct edge. Teams from larger (see: wealthy) markets, such as Philadelphia and New York, can offer longterm deals loaded with more money up front because they can afford to buy out players toward the end of the contract. The structure of the deals helps them circumvent the salary cap while still drawing the better players.
Understand, the big-market advantage wasn’t the reason the Sabres lost Drury and Briere. They could have kept both for less money over fewer years than the co-captains eventually received as unrestricted free agents. It wasn’t until Drury and Briere hit the open market that New York and Philly could impose their leverage.
added 8:41am, from the New York Times,
But the small-market teams appear to be struggling again. Buffalo lost Drury and Brière without seeming to make a serious move to keep either one. Edmonton struggled to lure players — including Rangers center Michael Nylander, who agreed to a contract with the Oilers, then backed out to go to Washington — until it finally landed Montreal defenseman Sheldon Souray last week for five years and $27 million.
The small-market teams have the same amount of money to spend as teams like the Rangers, although some would rather stay closer to the cap’s minimum figure ($34 million next season) than to the top.
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