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08-26-2004, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by shveik
Simmer down. All I said that goalie market seems to give a bit of leverage to the Flames, so that they could sign Kipper for less despite the award. That's not a very complicated concept either, is it
It's a lot more complicated than you make it out to be.

first of all, let's forget the argument on whether it was a fair award or not... you agreed it was saying that the league salary structure right now is out of whack, and we all know that the arbitration process is not about correcting the league structure and giving out brand new salary scales, but arbitration *has* to follow the current salary structure as it's set up by the league's teams and GMs.

so what Kipper got in arbitration is what he deserved based on the *current* salary structure in the NHL... whether it's out of whack or not is irrelevant - arbitration has no say in that, only GMs do in the contracts they negotiate and accept.

so now the argument is that given the league's current goalie market - which I totally agree with you is weak right now, with few teams needing a starter - the Flames would be better off walking away from Kipper's award and negotiating with him as a UFA.

is this what you're trying to suggest?

if so, I think you're totally underestimating Kipper's value on the market, even though it's a weak market.

We're not talking Cloutier here... a starting goalie who's got lots to prove in the playoffs... we're talking about a goalie that just broke out and stole games in the regular season and playoffs... a guy who last season, 39 games or not, was still a Vezina candidate as one of the league's top 3 goalies.... yes there are examples of the Jim Carey's in the past, and even Turek, that contended for the Vezina one year and regressed (in some cases a lot) after... but for every Carey and Turek you find there are dozen more examples of guys that contended for the Vezina and remained a top 10 goalie in the NHL after for a long time.... so it's a risk I would definitely take.

There are probably at least a half dozen teams that would jump on the chance at acquiring Kipper.

some examples:

The Canucks! They signed Clouts to a 1-yr deal... their backup right now is Auld, who can go to the farm without clearing waivers... if Kipper is available they would be interested, and goaltending has been such a weak link on our team for the last 10 years, that I don't think they'll walk away from Kipper at that kind of salary.

The Kings... just acquired Garon, but were unhappy with Cechmanek last year... they could be interested... Garon is a big risk - much bigger than Kipper - to be a starter next season.

The Coyotes... they have spent a fair sum of money already in the UFA market, and are trying to get into the playoffs next year... they have Boucher and Johnson under contract, and both are unproven and have had their problems in the past... if a guy who just came off the best half-season in NHL history, while taking a team that hadn't made the playoffs for 6 yrs to the finals, is now available, I'm sure they'll be interested.

Carolina... they let Weekes go... they have Gerber and Ward (likely) as their goalies, but Kipper is more of a sure bet right now than Weekes (who comes with his share of character issues), and Ward doesn't have to clear waivers to play in the minors.

Edmonton... they have Conklin and Markannen in their nets, after letting Salo go... they had cleared his salary also off the books... getting a $3mill starter, while hurting their biggest division rival at the same time, would be too good an opportunity to pass up.

Colorado... Aesbisher is good, still young and improving... they acquired Salo down the stretch last year as insurance... again a division rival, who get better while hurting a team that is in their division - for $3mill, it's an easy call for the Avs IMO.

St. Louis... Osgood a UFA... Lalime in town, making less than $2mill I believe... adding a young Kipper to that team, another team that has struggled to find consistent goaltending, could be a good move.

again, this is just off the top of my head.... I think a handful of teams would be ready to sign Kipper to a $3mill/yr contract... some may even give him more security with a longer deal...

and all this doesn't even factor in that Kipper may want to go to another team if the Flames don't pick up that award - thinking the team that he backstopped to the finals isn't interested in paying him less than the average starter in the league.

in the end, yes all that above is speculation, and maybe none of those teams are interested in Kipper...

do you take that chance if you're the Flames to save a $1mill at most?? best case you sign him for $2mill on a one year deal, then play the negotiation game again next season... worst case is that you lose Kipper, have Turek as your starter and go back to where the team was 2 years ago... as a fan of a division rival team, I definitely hope the Flames walk away... there are 3 teams IMO in the same division that would love to hurt the Flames and help themselves, and at $3mill/yr that's not that bad a number to do it.

but the Flames would be just plain STUPID to walk away.

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