The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/03/11 at 05:54 AM ET
More than a few fans and executives aren’t exactly delighted by the fact that the Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Buffalo Sabres have jacked up the free agent marketplace’s asking prices by paying through both nostrils—in the form of front-loaded and signing-bonus-loaded contracts—to attract marquee talent, but the New York Post’s Larry Brooks essentially makes an argument for both the salary cap floor and its inevitable rise forcing general managers to at least attempt to make their teams competitive:
[T]he willingness shown by franchises in Columbus, Buffalo, Florida and Calgary to spend and then spend some more if necessary is a good sign for the league, which instead of seeking to use the next round of labor negotiations to pound every team down to the lowest common denominator by reducing the cap and eliminating critical tactics such as front-loading on long-term deals, should be seeking ways to direct more revenue to small-market teams with small-minded owners who live for charity and sympathy.
Overspending for overspending’s sake, which is what it appears the Panthers did to reach the floor, is silly, especially when the spree concludes with Jose Theodore as the team’s No. 1 goaltender, but at least general manager Dale Tallon seems to recognize that the onus is on management to build a winner in order to get people to come to the building.
It’s hard to imagine that the Blue Jackets’ acquisition of Jeff Carter’s $58M contract that runs through 2021-22 is going to be a winner in the long run, the same for GM Scott Howson’s decision to sign free agent defenseman James Wisniewski to a six-year, $32.5M contract on Friday. But the Blue Jackets too have come to the conclusion that the only way to attract fans and generate revenue is by investing in payroll to build a winning program after 10 years in the NHL with one playoff appearance and zero playoff game victories to show for it.
Lowering the bar diminishes the incentive of managements to build great teams. In this league, with this cap, it has become about being mediocre enough to squeeze into eighth place while hoping for one of those anything-can-happen springs (even though it rarely does happen).
Continued, including gabba about Brad Richards’ decision to spurn Chicago, the Avalanche’s goaltending and Jaromir Jagr’s dramatics…
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.