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02-09-2004, 05:26 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Powder Springs, GA
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Here is a good piece written by MattG on the SmirkinChicken...It is worth a read and then YOU decide what you want...

Schultz is generally wrong but...

A) DW should have patched our hole at Center by acquiring a veteran with faceoff and passing skills. We started the season with Savard, Stefan, Aubin and Robitaille. This is a very weak collection of centers to begin with but by January we were playing games with only Stefan being healthy. We have lost games during January because we are soooo weak at center. My guess is that among UFA Oates, Ronning and guys like Y. Perreault somebody could have been had relatively cheaply who would have helped bridge the gap while Savard was out. So, yes I would agree with that DW deserves a bit of criticism for not making a modest deal to bring in a veteran centerman during a make-or-break period that would determine whether we made the playoffs or not.

B) Schultz is completely wrong for criticizing DW for not making a major deal.

Here are the facts. The Atlanta Thrashers must live within a budget. That budget is largely going to be determined by fans buying tickets. Atlanta is not Detroit--people are only willing to play so much for a ticket. The fact of the matter is that the Thrashers have in real terms reduced ticket prices every season (by either holding them steady while inflaction rises or actually reducing the price).

What this means is that the Thrashers will always have to spend less than the Detroit, Philadelphia, Rangers, etc. Does this mean you can't compete? Hell, no. But it does mean that you can only afford a handful of expensive players on your roster at any given time. The way you become a contender on a budget is to develop your draft picks because the CBA lets you underpay them until they are 30. It is not fair--but that is how the system works.

So next year the Thrashers roster will probably have Heatley, Kovalchuk, Lehtonen, Slater, and Coburn--who will all be underpaid relative to their contributions to the team. Now you augment that cheap core talent base with modest priced players like Savard, McEachern and Kozlov and you're got a team that can begin to contend. As your core players age and demand more money you will shed the contracts of Kozlov and McEachern.

The key here is that your underpaid young talent will allow this team to contend for a period of several years. The playoffs are always a bit of crap shoot. Player injuries, hot goalies and random luck play a significant role in who wins and who loses. As a GM you want to position your team so that you have several years where you have a legitimate chance to contend for the big silver chalice before your roster becomes too expensive and you have to rebuild again.

Now if you're stupid like Jeff Schultz and you trade away grade A prospects for players who are further along in their career path--that means that you will have to pay those guys more money--AND YOU HAVE SHORTENED YOUR WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY FOR WINNING THE STANLEY CUP. The facts are that even if this team added a Bill Guerin and made a successful push for the playoffs we were absolutely not going to win the Stanley Cup! Just look at our defensemen. Trading away a top prospect just so we can lose in the 1st round of the playoffs is very shortsighted.

ATLThrashers15 is offline