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Dose of Reality #46

April 26, 2007

Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail wrote a thoughtful piece on the problems of renting a player and used examples of Nashville and Atlanta. Both teams paid dearly for their rentals, Peter Forsberg and Keith Tkachuk, but both were quickly eliminated from the first round of the playoffs. The move by Nashville was somewhat out of character for them since they have been patient with their player development, bringing their stars along slowly and staying away from costly and unpredictable free agents.

I know, you’re a CBJ fan and are saying so what, we’ve never even had the need for a rental here in Columbus. You are absolutely correct, but instead our team has gone out and signed some high-cost player leases. Bear with me here for a moment.

You know someone who went out and leased a car for three, four, or five years and then painfully learns that the lease is not appropriate for them, but they are stuck for longer than they wish with an expensive car that they don’t want anymore.

Your friend went out and leased that big SUV back when gas was less than $2.00 per gallon. It was a good fit because he only had a five-mile commute, he was hauling his kids to all kinds of events, and it looked good, showing his neighbors that he had arrived.

That commute is now over 30 miles a day and gas is well over $2.60 a gallon. His kids don’t play three sports a year anymore and the wife complains about how it is not that easy to even stack groceries in the back of the vehicle. It doesn’t even have a navigation unit or satellite radio, and there are lots of newer models out there that are cheaper, more efficient, and better looking! Your friend even leaves the car parked in his driveway most days because he has too many miles on it and it really doesn’t fit his needs anymore.

So as the Blue Jackets look for a new general manager, I hope they ask the candidate how he feels about player leases. Does the candidate think taking on an expensive player who hasn’t put up good numbers in a few seasons while passing the age of 35 a good idea? How does the candidate feel about the taking on expensive player leases while the team is trying to develop their draft picks in Syracuse and Dayton?

This is the best part of Duhatschek’s article:

It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating: In a salary-cap world, the most valuable commodities are players that fit into three categories: Young, good and cheap. Every year, there’ll be a decent quantity of unrestricted free agents in the summer to tempt the discriminating shopper…

Young, good and cheap are criteria to look for, not the name of a marketing firm.

-Truth Serum

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One comment

  1. As I’m driving down to the rink the other day, to take my young daughter to try outs, the talking heads on Leaf’s Lunch are strategizing what it would take to get Darcy Regier of the Buffalo Sabres to sign on with the Leafs. You see, John Ferguson Jr. is up for renewal and selfishly the Puckheads in Toronto want the best there is for their own.

    Which brings me to your article by Eric Duhatschek and the best way to build a franchise. Suppose you had to develope your team because you had no money that was on the verge of bankrupcy? Like the Sabres did the last 5 years? If not for Tom Galisano and his billions and love of the Sabres, Buffalo’s pride and joy would have been long gone.

    Buffalo could well lose either Chris Drury or Danile Briere this summer to free agency and yet I will sit here and tell you that the farm is well stocked with prospects and the often injured Tim Conolly is ready to take either Briere’s or Druruy’s spot. How good is that?

    Without question Doug MacLean was very good at spending other people’s money. But suppose MacLean was in the same spot that Darcy Regier was in a couple of years ago, could MacLean have yielded the same results? The answer is clearly no because Doug had it both ways. Columbus has never drafted lower than 8th overall and the free agent pick ups notably Adam Foote and Sergei Federov have not been that productive but boy, have they ever been expensive!

    Whomever the swelled heads in Columbus decide to hire as the next General Manager should use among others, the template that Buffalo has adhered to for the last 5 seasons. Chances are Darcy Regier will be signed to a long term contract with the Sabres, he deserves one and the owners of the Sabres would be nuts not to.

    Regrettably, Nashville bet the farm on Peter Forsberg and the results frankly are not good. Two young prospects in Ryan Parent and Scottie Upshall are gone forever to the Phillie Flyers. Meanwhile, there’s no guarantee that Forsberg will sign a contract with Nashville because of injuries. Nashville, we feel your pain, but really all we want to do is make one playoff round in the NHL.



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