Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Khabibulin Contract

Like a number of other bloggers, I have strong reservations regarding the Khabibulin contract. I don't think I'm writing anything new, but the following are some of my concerns with the deal.

I have a hard understanding why the Oilers felt it imperative to move so quickly when they appeared to be the only team in serious need of a starting goaltender.

I am generally against the idea of signing a 36 year old player to a 4 year deal to begin with, but particularly in this case with Edmonton tight to the cap and Khabibulin, in my mind, not a clearly better option than Biron who doesn't have the same 35+ contract issue. For a non cap team like NYI this risk doesn't exist, since dead cap space doesn't hurt them; if anything, a retirement by Roloson next summer is desirable if they don't want to spend to the cap floor in 2010/11 since they could charge 2.5 mil against next season's cap without having to spend a cent. In the case of a potential retirement, I'll be the first to admit the Oilers could probably trade Khabibulin to a cap floor team just before he retires, cheaply in theory, to remove the cap hit. But why take on the additional problems that come with the cap hit for a 35+ year old player when there is a roughly equivalent option available without that concern? Why take that risk? The only answer is that you think he's CLEARLY the best option available.

I don't know that I agree with the assessment that Khabibulin was the best goalie, currently, among those who were available. Even if he was, I don't know that means he's a better bet over the next 4 years vs. every other goalie available, in particular Biron.

So, with this particular deal, I'm not sure I agree with the player evaluation, the cap management, the evaluation of the free agent market for goaltending as it pertains to supply and demand, and the identification and use of one's leverage in the negotiations. That is a long list that leads me to the same conclusion as the above writers. This does not appear, to me, to be a great signing for the Oilers.

That is not to say that the signing can't work out, or that Khabibulin is guaranteed to fail, or anything like that. I think there is certainly a non-zero chance that Khabibulin can be worth more than this deal to the Oilers. However, even in that case, that will not mean the deal was a good signing at the time it was signed.

If you receive a 4 when hitting a 17 against a dealer's 6, that does not make your decision to hit correct.


PDO said...

Well, the rumour was that Khabibulan was offered 2 years, $8,000,000 by the Hawks.

If he signed, Smyth was being dealt for Huet.

So, if we assume that be true, we'd potentially be down to Anderson and Biron... not exactly two guys we can play against each other.

I think this is where the urgency came from to sign Khabibulan. If Biron is the only guy left, and there's nobody to play him against, all you're really going to do is piss him off... whose to say there aren't some bad feelings left after that?

If it was 3 years (and honestly, if Chicago was offering 2 years @ $4,000,000 a piece, you'd figure Edmonton offering 3 years @ $3,750,000 a piece would be good enough...), I wouldn't have any sort of problem with this.

PDO said...

BTW Speeds, I somehow completely missed that you moved from IOF to here until recently.

Lowetide said...

I think that's about right. Without knowing the inside info, my guess is Quinn asked for someone he could count on in nets and Khabibulin is known to all.

I'm not terribly upset by the move, probably because the Heatley deal is such a worry.

RiversQ said...

I'm not terribly upset by the move, probably because the Heatley deal is such a worry.

Really strange comment here.

Despite the hysteria, the Heatley deal has a legitimate chance to provide some value. He's too expensive and costs talent, but there's a strong player being added to the lineup.

Meanwhile, this signing is all uphill.

Vic Ferrari said...

Good stuff speeds. I like the last sentence.

All teams win some bad bets and lose some good ones. Bu the teams with the biggest chip stacks are the ones that are making more good bets on the whole.

It's not encouraging that the Oilers are still betting against the house.

Vic Ferrari said...


Are you alone in hoping that the Oilers land Heatley? Lowetide and YKoil seem vehemently opposed, speeds mildly opposed, showerhead is pimping Cogliano so I'm assuming he's oppsed, Dennis is absent and I haven't got a bead on MC79 yet. Still, I'm surprised that there is so much opposition to the idea.

I think it would probably be a good deal for the Oilers. And the worst case scenario is 'about the same results, more drama!' ... so it's all good.

RiversQ said...

Vic, I'm not alone. PDO is driving the welcome wagon and Tyler is navigating. I'm just a passenger who is mildly in favour. It's a good move but the risk is considerable IMO.