Thread: Proposal: Jagr
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12-10-2011, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Jtown View Post
You bring up a lot of valid flaws in my idea. I may be overestimating jagrs value, and i certanly am not holding into accout his emotion during this idea. And there is the point that we are contenders now.

Basically what i wanted to do was a little thought experiment in game theory to see what fans think is valuable.

According to game theory every 30 years we should win a stanley cup. Now as we all know we have gone alot longer without winning. But yet we have been so competitive for so long that it doesn't matter sometimes that we have missed out on winning a championship for 30+ years. What we value is the chance at winning a Stanley cup the hope of winning a Stanley cup. But when you combine that with the economic model of sports ownership its gets even more complicated because obviously if you win a Stanley cup but fail to make the playoffs for 29 years you are going to be a failure economically. So ideally the best eonomic model is to put a team that can be competitive for a long period of time. Giving you a chance to have an extended window of winning while putting a product that fans value and will pay for.

And in this paticular instance i was measuring short term loses for long term gains and seeing how it would impact our short term and long term plan as a team.

Short term id say we are fairly affected by jagr's loss. I wont say devasted but we will feel an impact. Long term there is no affect i believe.

In sports you are looking at that perfect window of opportunity where all your key players are in the right age frame to maximize there output. For instance when Gretzky messier kurri coffey anderson lowe all came together at the right time frame that was key for there success.

Right now the flyers will be exeriencing a window like that in about 3-4 years when Giroux jvr voracek simmonds read couts schenn all reach an age where they are going to be most effective. That window may occur sooner depending ont he development of jvr couturier and schenn. Our Defenseman may be mez coburn carle gus and MAB. These are potential knowns.

Now we have a choice as a team. Which window do we want to maximize. Do we want to maximize our current window or do we want to maximize our window of opportunity 3-4 years down the road? This is a difficult one to evaluate. Potentially we could offer Couturier and JVR for Shea Weber. Shea Weber will have much more impact on this season than those two combined. That maximizes our current window but hurts future success potentially if Weber does not resign with us.

Once again this is a hypothetical example.

As a fan We want best of both worlds. We want to win now and we want to keep our talent for the future so we can win later. But in terms of Game Theory that is not logical and would be considered a bad play. In terms of Game theory Winning the stanley cup every 15 years with 14 years of not making the playoffs would be considered not only ideal but incredibly successful.
I'm a finance and economics major, so I get where you're coming from.

Game theory doesn't really apply here though. Game theory is more about best-responding to an opponent / market conditions... not winning once every 15 years. Game theory also works best when there are only 2 people in the game... you and your opponent. It's extremely difficult when you're talking about a 1000 (or so) stage game (a conservative estimate in regards to how many decisions you make about your franchise in the time span of the game), and 29 other players (NHL teams). Game theory is inherently difficult / nearly impossible to attempt to apply to situations such as this. I mean you can apply some of the basic ideas (maximizing profits / best-responding), but even those are difficult to apply since you don't have perfect information and have no clue what the potential payoffs of your team or another team are.

For example in game theory, you know if you set your price low and your opponent sets their price high, you get the max profit available. In sports though, you don't know what the payoff is for signing Giroux or for allowing your division rival to sign Richards. So how can you even begin to use that structure?

The other thing that really complicates this whole thing is the idea of no-trade clauses. I'd LOVE the idea of getting rid of some/all of the old pieces on this team and building for the future. Except for the fact that it's just not possible. Briere wouldn't waive his NTC except MAYBE to go the Buf. Timonen won't waive his NTC period. Pronger likely wouldn't waive his. So if you trade Jagr for futures, you're wasting Pronger, Timonen, and Briere. You're wasting 3 star players who are the highest paid guys on your team. I would estimate that the efficiency loss from "wasting" their production / their salary is greater than any potential benefit Brendan Smith adds.

The fact is that in a vacuum (game theory) where you know and can control the results, it's always best to have a set strategy. Now or later. But in the NHL (a dynamic always changing model w/ 100s of variables you cannot control for), this isn't always true. You can make every move possible to go for the immediate "profit" (the Stanley Cup), and come up short. Where in the vacuum of a game theory model that wouldn't happen. Likewise, you can build, build, build for the future and it could not work out with some of your prospects being busts.

Right now, as fans, we have the best of both worlds and we can indeed "have our cake and eat it too".

We're set up beautifully to win the cup right now. We have Pronger, Timonen, Briere, Jagr on the upper-end of the age bracket, we have some guys in their prime and we have some young guys yet to hit their prime. Regardless, we have the best scoring in the NHL and an amazing defensive core of players (and pretty much none of them are young inexperienced guys... they are all vets who've played in multiple playoff runs).

Likewise, we're also set up beautifully for the future. We have Bryz in goal for the next 5+ years (and Bob too... at least for now). We have Mesz and Coburn to lead the next generation of flyers defensemen (a #1 D is a need, but we have time to address this and if Suter hits free agency, that could be accomplished this offseason). And then we have the absolute best young core of forwards (except for maybe EDM?) with (Giroux-Couturier-Schenn down the middle, Hartnell-JVR-Voracek-Read-Simmonds on the wings (+ Briere on the wing for the next 4 years including 11-12), and Talbot and Rinaldo on the 4th. And we also have Akeson, Wellwood, Ranford, etc. in the prospect pool.

This is a team that is well setup for both now and later.

And why mess with that? Going into "win now" mode rarely works for a team. And pawning off assets to "rebuild" when you're a perfectly fine contender also rarely works for a team (we dodged a big time bullet trading Richie and Carter and somehow coming out of it = or perhaps ahead). Leave things alone for now.

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