Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An Interim Solution?

It is unclear just how much dialogue might take place between the NHL and NHLPA prior to September 15th, now that both sides have planted their flags with their initial proposals. I'm sure both Fehr and Bettman would like to use their plan as the basis for further negotiation; we'll see how that goes. Maybe we'll see some sort of hybrid if a deal gets done by October? Something along the lines of no rollback, no change to HRR definition, 54% of revenue to the players in year one with that cap number fixed afterwards until such time as 51% of HRR would result in a higher cap number?

I'm not really expecting to see a deal prior to September 15th, but I have been wondering if there might be a way to play out the 2012/13 season while negotiations continue. The two sides are really only arguing about the money sandwiched between the owners proposal of ~43% (with current HRR definition) and the 57% the players are willing to play for. So, why not lock that 14% of revenue into an escrow account, to be distributed once a deal is made? Keep negotiating throughout the season and actually play the games. In this theoretical agreement**, the teams would continue to pay all the salary currently due to their players, but only ~75% of it would actually go the players - the remainder going into the newly created escrow account, to be dealt with upon the creation of a new CBA.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Nashville Decision

“The day you say you have to do something, you’re screwed. Because you are going to make a bad deal. You can always recover from the player you didn’t sign. You may never recover from the player you signed at the wrong price.”
Billy Beane in Moneyball

While it's true that I'm generally an advocate for offer sheets, it's not hard to feel a little sympathy for the Nashville Predators. Building a winning franchise as a budget team cannot be easy; to lose both Suter and Weber in the same summer would have been a pretty bitter pill to swallow for David Poile. That said, retaining a player beyond the point that makes financial sense, simply because he's "your" property, is not necessarily a prudent position to take as the architect of a club. Losing Weber obviously wouldn't have been ideal, but in this case I think it would be less negative than matching Philadelphia's offer sheet.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

2012 Top 30, and Some General Draft Thoughts

As I continue to make these lists, year after year, I get less comfortable with my final rankings. I haven't really decided if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I'm particularly uncomfortable with my list this year - I'm the guy that made it and I'm not sure how much weight I put behind it. This draft is defense heavy, which always makes me nervous; it can be difficult to differentiate between D based on the descriptions available. Additionally, there were numerous injuries and that never helps.

Making a list is an interesting process to me. Being tasked with creating the list doesn't require one to be a great scout - you don't really need to be a scout at all*. The list is all about compiling, evaluating, and assimilating information. As the quality of your information improves, hopefully the quality of your list will improve in turn. For the most part, I think the publicly available information gives us a fairly good picture of a player. The other information that teams gather can potentially be invaluable, and in those cases makes a big difference vs. the generally available information. There is no doubt that, lacking that information, the quality of this list suffers. At the same time, there is generally a tendency in life to overvalue bits of (assumed?) exclusive information. If a team thinks they have unearthed something about a player that no one else has, there may be a tendency to put more weight behind that tidbit than is truly warranted.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Summarizing The Schultz Situation

If you're as interested in the technical, contractual side of hockey as I am, it's not uncommon to become a little exasperated in exploring some of the minutia surrounding the NHL's CBA. Justin Schultz's situation presents one such case where reading the relevant sections of the CBA doesn't fully explain Schultz's impending UFA status. There seems to be an understanding as to why Anaheim loses Schultz's rights, but it's less clear exactly why he avoids draft re-entry only to become a UFA on July 1st. I'll try to provide an overview of the issues involved, and if I'm missing some, feel free to help me flesh this out in the comments.