Did the NHLPA drop the ball?
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09-11-2004, 11:14 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Originally Posted by
pld, you aren't getting it. Many people don't. If the Rangers give a guy $5 million or Detroit gives a guy $5 million...every comparable player in that category wants the same cash. Those teams can afford the money, so in truth aren't doing anything wrong.
Can you name one single player the Rangers or Red Wings signed that affected the market? According to the latest, the Rangers can't afford the money. They lost more money than any other team.
And with the ridiculous arbitration system, agents use the highest paid comparable to achieve the best possible award. It is an inflationary system.(You can imagine the number of guys using Marty Lapointe as a comparable for arbitration. :lol )
Zero players used Marty Lapointe as a comparable. The CBA expressly excludes unrestricted free agents from the arbitration process.
So in effect, the problem doesn't lay with Holik getting a large contract because the Rangers can afford it...it is the salary pull on every other comparable player on every other team(Especially the lower revenue stream teams) that causes the problem.
The Rangers apparently can't afford it either but it doesn't affect any other team at all. There are no players who are comparable to Bobby Holik. No player agent tries to negotiate a contract based on Bobby Holik or any other player who has achieved free agency. A comparable player is a player who is a comparable age with comparable experience and comparable production over the course of that experience. The Carolina Hurricane freely chose to pay Jeff O'Neill $3.5 million. Radek Bonk used that contract in arbitration the following season.
Since he was quite similar, he won a similar salary. The year after, Brendan Morrison tried to use those players in arbitration two years ago. He lost despite similar numbers because the other two guys had been doing it longer, because Morrison probably got more help from his linemates, because O'Neill scored more goals, and because Bonk is better defensively.
The arbitrator accepted the Canuck argument on all counts and the award came in at exactly what the Canucks had offered. This did not stop the media from trumpeting the fact that Morrison had "won" a 300% raise!
Both seemed fair to me, although Morrison probably should have done better. The Canucks knew Brendan was winning this time around and voluntarily gave him $3.5 million. I have written arbitration briefs on players for a player agent. The process is not that hard to figure out. Arbitration awards do not set new standards. They follow contracts already signed by players. O'Neill set the bar for Bonk and Morrison.
I keep hearing about these outrageous awards based on New York spending, but nobody can ever provide any good examples. I can think of exactly one awful award, and the NHL promptly - and rightly in my view - fired the arbitrator. It is usually not hard to identify comparables and I'd wager most fans would agree with the arbitration award if we could read them.
I think the process works really well. It should eliminate holdouts entirely and hasn't, only because stupid player agents haven't realized that no player has won a holdout since Sergei Fedorov.
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