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03-15-2004, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Park #2
I certainly believe it's possible that they pick Ovechkin, keep his rights until after the lockout passes and the new CBA is agreed to and then trades him. The point is that Pittsburgh cannot afford to pay one player the bonus/salary that Ovechkin would bring. They could not do it this year with Fleury, and their financial situation grows worse by the day. Ovechkin cannot be sent down to Juniors like Fleury was to avoid salary commitments.

However, since Pittsburgh would need to trade him for young and cheap talent, trading him on draft day would probably get them a good return (and they'd be able to still draft a player that THEY like).

Let's take a hypothetical: The Rangers trade Lundmark, Umberger, and their #1 (which let's say is 6 overall) for PITT #1. Lundmark, a Group II will probably have a contract for $750,000 next year. Umberger will likely be about the same. Right there, PIT picks up two solid players in THEIR lineup for the BASE cost of a 1st overall salary. By moving down to the 6 pick (and they might even trade down from there), they will save up to $5 million dollars if not more and still come away with a pretty good player. They cannot afford to pay the bonuses the Ovechkin would require in his contract.

Read this article in reference to Fleury last year to get a better picture:
I'm aware that Pittsburgh is in serious financial trouble and that was the main reason in their sending Fleury down, but this is a different situation, as that article states:

Patrick was driven to sign Fleury in part because of a loophole in the CBA. Fleury would have become an unrestricted free agent in two years instead of re-entering the draft had the Penguins not been able to sign him. Walsh used that fact for leverage in the negotiations.
The Pens don't have to sign Ovechkin. They can leave him in Europe until their financial situation improves with the new CBA. And if a new CBA does not improve Pittsburgh's financial outlook enough that they can sign their draft picks, then they might as well fold because they will not get any better in the future.

I still don't see what Pittsburgh has to gain by making the move sooner rather than later. If Ovechkin is everything that the scouts say he is, then they will basically have their pick of anything they want from any farm system in the NHL.

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