RJ Umberger update

galiano
09-28-2003, 07:36 AM
Here's an article from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette which suggests that Umbergers agent is willing to have him sit out the year to become a free agent. Apparently Burke is offering Umberger less than what they gave Kessler. Who knows if that's true but maybe now is a good time to think about trading the guy.

http://www.post-gazette.com/penguins/20030928nhlnot0928np5.asp

maruk14
09-28-2003, 08:07 AM
A few good ones here ....

Good look at Moose's new mask.

http://www.canucks.com/images/inbydate03/sep2703/hedberg_b.jpg

This one looks like a Rugby scrum ..... :)

http://www.canucks.com/images/inbydate03/sep2703/scrum_b.jpg

Bertuzzi came to play last night ...

http://www.mytelus.com/news_images/cp_hockey/original/h092804.jpg

theo6060
09-28-2003, 11:35 AM
I just don't understand Brian Burke. From everything i've read and heard, Umberger is a very special talent. I wish Burke would be a little less stubborn some times and give Umberger a contract. Being stubborn can be a good thing, but if Umberger waits until June 1 and signs elsewhere, I am going to be really upset with BB.

PhillyNucksFan
09-28-2003, 01:00 PM
I just don't understand Brian Burke. From everything i've read and heard, Umberger is a very special talent. I wish Burke would be a little less stubborn some times and give Umberger a contract. Being stubborn can be a good thing, but if Umberger waits until June 1 and signs elsewhere, I am going to be really upset with BB.


if he does wait for the year, is sign/trade an option for burke? say, offer same money as kesler and trade him for a say.. another future first round, or package him to get some scoring help!?

theo6060
09-28-2003, 01:07 PM
if he does wait for the year, is sign/trade an option for burke? say, offer same money as kesler and trade him for a say.. another future first round, or package him to get some scoring help!?I don't like the idea of prospect recycling. The thing about Umberger is he is a really good prospect with a lot of potential... why mess it up? Just get him in the organization already!

hackey
09-28-2003, 01:44 PM
Burke would never allow Umberger to get to the point where he walks away as a UFA. He will either sign him by then or trade his rights for another player or draft pick. It's most likely Umbergers agent - Brian Lawton, who is at fault if you want to blame someone. Burke holds the hammer and also knows a players value as compared to other players of his potential in the league. Lawton on the other hand is relatively new at this game (he is the xplayer) who is probably holding out to make a point on how good he can be as an agent. Meanwhile he is screwing with Umberger's career as you would think RJ should be playing pro right now somewhere as it is a crucial time in his development as a player.

orcatown
09-28-2003, 02:28 PM
I wonder if we could hit up Pittsburg with some tampering charges?

LaVal
09-28-2003, 02:34 PM
I wouldn't consider Umberger blue-chip by any means. Nobody in the organization's depth chart is blue-chip. That said, it would be nice to sign him, but if they can't, I won't lose any sleep if they trade him.

most publications consider 5 Canuck propsects to be bluechips

Koltsov, Umberger, Reid, Auld, and Kesler are the 5. people tend to think too much of the term "bluechip". all it means is a projected (key word) surefire NHL'er. it doesn't mean they are going to become superstars it just means they are projected to make the team.

Steveorama
09-28-2003, 07:32 PM
Anyone who thinks Lawton is dumb enough to let his client go into a period of CBA uncertainty without a contract doesn't understand the business of hockey.
Burke is playing this like a master; he knows Umberger would be committing a monstrous error waiting for the next CBA before signing. History has shown that the NHL veterans have no problem selling out their entry-level players in order to maintain their own salaries...and they will do it again next year.
Lawton is trying to enhance his young reputation as an agent by taking a tough stand. I would be willing to bet that Umberger signs a long-term (3+ years) contract with the Canucks by November.
He will play in Winnipeg until he shows he can play pro hockey.
Kudos to Burke for not caving in to unrealistic salary demands. RJ just isn't worth a million a year at this point of his career.

nuksforlife
09-29-2003, 07:27 AM
Where is RJ right now anyway, is he playing anywhere?

Rageinthecage
09-29-2003, 08:54 AM
Anyone who thinks Lawton is dumb enough to let his client go into a period of CBA uncertainty without a contract doesn't understand the business of hockey.
Burke is playing this like a master; he knows Umberger would be committing a monstrous error waiting for the next CBA before signing. History has shown that the NHL veterans have no problem selling out their entry-level players in order to maintain their own salaries...and they will do it again next year.
Lawton is trying to enhance his young reputation as an agent by taking a tough stand. I would be willing to bet that Umberger signs a long-term (3+ years) contract with the Canucks by November.
He will play in Winnipeg until he shows he can play pro hockey.
Kudos to Burke for not caving in to unrealistic salary demands. RJ just isn't worth a million a year at this point of his career.

I agree to a point. Burke needs to play his hand in this manner for awhile longer. If Lawton hasn't informed his client that sitting out a year decreases trade value as well as the uncertainty of rookie contracts after the new CBA, he should be fired. If the rookie contract max drops significantly (as expected) when hockey resumes again sometime in 2004 or 2005, Umberger will be lucky to get a contract for half a million. Idiots, both of them.

On the other hand, Umberger is possibly the only top six style projected forward that has an excellent chance of fulfilling his potential that the Canucks currently have in the system. With remote exceptions of King and Reid (and perhaps a couple of the Euro prospects who most of us know very little about) all Canuck forward prospects are bottom six players. King and Reid could still prove me wrong. Kesler could locate an offensive gear eventually, and Fedorov could cough, cough, fulfill that vast potential. But many NHL observers outside of Vancouver, not biased by keeping tabs on primarily our own batch of farmhands, project Umberger as the only "surefire" top six forward we have (and even that's up for debate). My point is Burke can't afford to lose him for nothing next summer. Not to mention the trade value of a holdout rookie that could be a free agent in a year, is incredibly low. We certainly won't receive much for him now. If Burke does trade him this year, he better sign him quite a bit before any potential trades and make it look as if the Canucks organization is still high on him.

NFITO
09-29-2003, 09:16 AM
Anyone who thinks Lawton is dumb enough to let his client go into a period of CBA uncertainty without a contract doesn't understand the business of hockey.
Burke is playing this like a master; he knows Umberger would be committing a monstrous error waiting for the next CBA before signing. History has shown that the NHL veterans have no problem selling out their entry-level players in order to maintain their own salaries...and they will do it again next year.
Lawton is trying to enhance his young reputation as an agent by taking a tough stand. I would be willing to bet that Umberger signs a long-term (3+ years) contract with the Canucks by November.
He will play in Winnipeg until he shows he can play pro hockey.
Kudos to Burke for not caving in to unrealistic salary demands. RJ just isn't worth a million a year at this point of his career.

1) when does the CBA expire?

To my understanding it's in September of 2004.... is this correct?

2) when is the deadline to sign Umberger before he is either a UFA or re-enters the draft?

again, my understanding is that since he was drafted in 2001, he would have to be signed by June 30, 2004, otherwise he can either reenter the draft, or become a UFA, depending on his age.

If this is correct, then the Canucks HAVE to negotiate with him under the current CBA, don't they?? why would he be in any different of a situation.... the decision has to be made by June 30, 2004, otherwise the team could lose him for nothing, and this date is still effective under the current CBA.

He's not even in a situation like RFAs, where they can simply be qualified and their rights held, until a new contract is established in the new CBA... he has to be signed by that date - which passes under the current rules.

I don't see much leverage here for the Canucks, while I see Umberger having at least some leverage... worst case scenario for him is that he reenters the draft and he signs for less on his next deal - but the Canucks would then lose him (or waste a top pick to get him next year)...

yes, Umberger can stand to lose some money if he doesn't sign, but then the Canucks stand to lose him altogether.... both sides are playing the bluff, but in the end, the Canucks have as much, if not more, to lose in this.

Also if he does sign, then he signs a 3 year deal (which is the rookie contract), he can't sign for more years than that... it will have to be a 2-way deal as well, as stipulated by the current CBA.

Rageinthecage
09-29-2003, 09:22 AM
1) when does the CBA expire?

To my understanding it's in September of 2004.... is this correct?

2) when is the deadline to sign Umberger before he is either a UFA or re-enters the draft?

again, my understanding is that since he was drafted in 2001, he would have to be signed by June 30, 2004, otherwise he can either reenter the draft, or become a UFA, depending on his age.

If this is correct, then the Canucks HAVE to negotiate with him under the current CBA, don't they?? why would he be in any different of a situation.... the decision has to be made by June 30, 2004, otherwise the team could lose him for nothing, and this date is still effective under the current CBA.

He's not even in a situation like RFAs, where they can simply be qualified and their rights held, until a new contract is established in the new CBA... he has to be signed by that date - which passes under the current rules.

I don't see much leverage here for the Canucks, while I see Umberger having at least some leverage... worst case scenario for him is that he reenters the draft and he signs for less on his next deal - but the Canucks would then lose him (or waste a top pick to get him next year)...

yes, Umberger can stand to lose some money if he doesn't sign, but then the Canucks stand to lose him altogether.... both sides are playing the bluff, but in the end, the Canucks have as much, if not more, to lose in this.

Also if he does sign, then he signs a 3 year deal (which is the rookie contract), he can't sign for more years than that... it will have to be a 2-way deal as well, as stipulated by the current CBA.


I believe R.J.'s too old to re-enter the draft. He's an unrestricted free agent next June if no contract is signed. Agree with all your other points though.

Peter Griffin
09-29-2003, 09:30 AM
If the Canucks lose Umberger to free agency, do the Canucks get a compensatory 2nd round pick? Or is that only if a team loses a 1st round pick who re-enters the draft?

C'nuckleHead
09-29-2003, 09:54 AM
This could be the gamble that Burke loses.

To answer some of the questions from people who obviously haven't bothered to follow the link:

Plum native R.J. Umberger is in limbo with the Vancouver Canucks, who drafted him 16th overall in 2001 but are reluctant to sign him at the rookie-cap maximum. Umberger passed up his final year at Ohio State University in hopes of securing an NHL contract but is being offered less than the $825,000 the Canucks just gave Ryan Kesler, a less heralded teammate with the Buckeyes. His agent, Brian Lawton, said he will work out with the U.S. national program while waiting until June 1 to become an unrestricted free agent. Lawton went further by suggesting to the Vancouver media potential new employers: "He's from Pittsburgh, and I'm sure that they would be interested. He played at Ohio State, so I think that Columbus would take a look at him. I haven't talked to either of those teams, but I'm sure they would consider him." Umberger had 53 points in 43 games last season at Ohio State and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.

Wetcoaster
09-29-2003, 09:54 AM
If the Canucks lose Umberger to free agency, do the Canucks get a compensatory 2nd round pick? Or is that only if a team loses a 1st round pick who re-enters the draft?

The Canucks would get a compensatory second round pick as occurred when Van Ryn became an UFA and the Devils were awarded a compensatory pick. However losing a 16th overall pick and falling to 61+ in that draft is not a great deal unless you are convinced that the pick became less valuable over the intervening period of time as he has not developed as forecast. That does not seem to be the case with Umberger as he is a projected Top Six forward with a good offensive upside and great size.

According to a number of prospect assessment sites, Umberger has impressed a number of people. He was a runner up to Peter Cejna for the Hobey Baker and a West second team All-American. He was slated to be the Ohio State captain this year if he returned. Hockey's Future rates him as the Canuck's best forward prospect and second behind Kiril Koltsov as the two top prospects in the system. He is rated as a top six forward (projected second line).

Here is synopsis of his talent:

"Umberger is an excellent blend of size and skill. For a big young man, he skates almost effortlessly, with a smooth, powerful stride which often leaves opposing forwards in his tracks.
His offensive game is still a tad unpolished, yet well-developed for a younger player. Good passing skills, and a hard shot are attributes that describe him well.

Defensively, it has been said in the past that Umberger is a player who lacks desire. He is not always overly willing to come back and help out in his own zone; which has brought others to think that he's unmotivated. That said, he still needs a bit of work in this area.

One other thing he would be well-advised to work on is his physical play. For someone with such good size, Umberger is not overly physical. If he were to add this element to his game, and put on some weight, we might see the second-coming of Todd Bertuzzi, although probably less skilled."

He is working out with the US National team and could play with them for this year or he could opt to play as an over-age in the WHL or the QMJHL (not the OHL as there is a rule disqualifying him).

Here are Burke's comments in June 2003 regarding Umberger's position if he left school.

"We've never taken a player out of school early unless they've wanted to come," Burke said. "I think R.J. is ready to come out. Again, I talked to Coach (John) Markell and told him what I just said to you guys ... that we'd never take a player out early. If R.J. wants to come out, then we're going to try to sign him. He's got to take the next step at some point."

"I think R.J.'s challenge is consistency," Burke said. "He had points in the season where he dominated and points where he didn't. That's what he's going to have to develop to take the next step."

Inside College Hockey.com (INCH) valued him as follows:
"Umberger, among this summer's INCH Flight Risks (i.e. players likely to leave school early) was the 16th overall pick in the first round of the 2001 draft. The first-team All-CCHA and second-team All-America selection would likely command the rookie salary cap to sign, approximately $1 million per year."

Since rookie contracts are automatically two-way deals, there seems to be little downside in signing him to the rookie maximum such as others in his position and draft year have already signed.

Since Umberger left school this June, he will be an UFA in June 2004. NOTE - that is five months before the CBA is due to expire which gives him a lot of time to do a free agent deal. The closer the Canucks get to June 2004, the less value Umberger would have as a tradeable asset.