Thursday, June 28, 2012
Thursday Morning Cupcheck - Taking a Whiz in the Free Agent Pool
The free agent pool is warming up, and here's why.
Good morning, hockey fans! Last week we got the world's foremost draft experts together to discuss their draft secrets; this week, rather than praise/diss now ex-Star Mike Ribeiro --he of the most incredible luck of the offseason, having been gifted both Adam Oates as coach and Alex Ovechkin as winger-- it's time to sift through the annual crop of free agent overpayees to see what will transpire on July 1st.
I've made no secret of my utter disdain for putting all your eggs in the free agent basket in the past; nevertheless, this weekend will be one of the most exciting in recent memory for about seven minutes, until all two of the quality free agents are signed to long-term contracts with teams that won't be competing for another two decades.
Since Googlemetrics have shown that 87% of our readership is current NHL GMs ogling the players on this list like a bunch of sweaty drifters at an unmarked van convention, here's a quick breakdown of what to look for when you're doing the exact opposite of bargain-hunting.
An NHL GM's Guide to Free Agency
Introduction: History has shown that the only successful franchises are those that spend the largest amount of money on the fewest number of players. Using these handy tips, your managerial skills as a hockey GM will be praised for all eternity, your wisdom chiseled into the living rock, your name immortalized in the names of generations of children, as well as the orgasmic screams that begot said children. You should also prepare to receive obscene amounts of NHL GM groupie tail. Proceed at your own risk.
#1: Drafting and Development is for Suckers - Let's just get this out of the way first. Unless you're the Edmonton Oilers and operate like a minor league farm system for the rest of the NHL, it's unlikely that any of your freshly-drafted 18 year-old studs are going to see any NHL ice anytime soon. In fact, since you probably won't be around to enjoy their success in 4-5 years, just go ahead and throw all those high draft picks in the nearest toilet. Mike Milbury will be glad you did.
#2: Go Big or Stay Home - Remember all those All-Star players from five or six years ago? You know, the ones that definitely didn't play for your team? Go ahead and scope the free agent list for these babies. Big-name free agents are the only ones you should be interested in, becauseheylookshinyobject! Smart-money GMs pay top-dollar for goals and assists that already happened for other teams, not potential goals and assists that might happen for their own team.
#3: Go On, Buy Yourself Something Pretty - As a GM, a large part of your job is managing tens of millions of dollars but guess what—that's not your money! Go out, live a little, make a couple of extravagant purchases... your owner hasn't really been paying much attention to you lately... a few high-dollar purchases might just put the excitement and passion back in your relationship!
#4: There Can Be Only One - In NHL free agency, as with any shopping-based activity, there is just one winner and a whole lot of losers. You don't want to be the Mike Holmgren of professional sports: if a rival GM makes a better offer than you, go $500,000 and one year higher. If he sees your ante and raises, throw in another million a year and a no-movement clause. If he matches that and adds an ownership stake in the team, find that player and break his goddamn kneecaps.
#5: Get Your Ring Size - History has shown that the teams that win the most coveted free agent always win the Stanley Cup. You might even consider getting elective surgery to add an eleventh and twelfth finger for the extra championship rings you're about to get. It's also important to factor in an extra one or two sizes bigger, considering the victory steaks you're going to be eating over the coming decade, although all the intercourse you'll be having with Latvian supermodels in your yacht's Yashin-shaped jacuzzi will offset some of that.
That's it for this week's Cupcheck. Tune in next week when we sit down with new Dallas Star Tim Thomas and ask him if he still plans on taking a year off, how he feels being packaged in a trade with David Krejci and what Glenn Beck is like in the flesh. His stunned, awkward silence may surprise you.