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The Habs have way too many veteran forwards

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07-10-2012, 03:40 PM
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Slew Foots
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The Habs have way too many veteran forwards

During my lunch break, my brother told me to start a blog about the Habs, so I did: http://joehabs.blogspot.com.

There are already tons of Habs blogs out there, I'm well aware, but I figured it's time that I spent my time doing something I actually enjoyed for a change...

In my first blog post, I'm positing that the Habs have way too many veteran forwards (in my assessment, anything above the age of 28 is considered a "veteran"). If you look at the past 3 cup champs, those teams didn't have a lot of veteran forwards.

The Habs signed two UFA forwards this offseason, and are rumored to be interested in Doan. Some veteran leadership is good, but the reality is that forwards beyond the age of 28 start to decline, and we now have way too many declining assets at the forward position.

Accordingly, I'd stay far away from Shane Doan, as much as he's still a useful player (today anyway).

Do you think we have too many veteran forwards on the team?

EDIT: Since it seems as though people aren't reading through my blog post to understand my point, I'll add the argument from the blog post here:

My gut tells me that the winning recipe is: skilled young forwards with size, good veteran D, good goalie. My gut also tells me that you don't win cups by having too many 30+ year old forwards. The infamous summer of 2009 was always ill-advised, because you don't win cups these days with high-priced UFA forward signings. My hypothesis is that the makeup of the Habs is fundamentally flawed, and that there are far too many aging forwards on the team. Comparing the current Habs makeup to the makeup of the 2012 Kings, 2011 Bruins and 2010 Blackhawks may not prove my hypothesis is correct, as it's a rather superficial assessment, but, in the interest of time, I think it's interesting food for thought just the same. It's often said that forwards peak at the ages of 27-28, so I will list players aged 29 and older on each of the aforementioned cup winning rosters when assessing our current roster, since you could say these are declining assets.

The only significant forwards on the 2012 Kings above the age of 28 were Jarret Stoll, age 30 and Justin Williams, age 30 (Simon Gagne, age 32, only played 34 regular season and 4 playoff games). TOTAL: 2 players above the age 28.

The only significant forwards on the 2011 Bruins above the age of 28 were Michael Ryder, age 31, Chris Kelly, age 30, Shawn Thornton, age 32, and of course, Dr. Mark Recchi, age 43. TOTAL: 4 players above the age of 28.

The only significant forwards on the 2010 Hawks above the age of 28 were Marian Hossa, age 31 and John Madden, age 37. TOTAL: 2 players above the age of 28.

As it stands right now, the Habs current roster will the following players above the age of 30 come the 2013 playoffs: Colby Armstrong, age 30, Rene Bourque, age 31, Erik Cole, age 34, Brian Gionta, age 34, Scott Gomez (don't laugh - he's still on the team), age 33, Travis Moen, age 31, Tomas Plekanec, age 30, Brandon Prust, age 29. TOTAL: 8 players above the age of 28.

Eight forwards above the age of 28. Four more than the 2011 Bruins. Six more than the 2012 Kings and the 2010 Hawks.

Our team needs to get much younger. In today's game, you can be a successful forward at a younger age than in the past. You need veterans to play D, but playing forward is easier and quicker to learn. You don't need eight veteran forwards. You just don't.

Bergevin needs his forwards to get much younger. Younger forwards have the requisite energy to forecheck hard and last a full 82 game season + playoffs. Younger forwards cost less money and eat up less cap space too. Bergevin does not need to sign any more UFA forwards (i.e. he does not need a Shane Doan).

Let me be clear here: I'm not saying you don't need veterans to win. Veterans are absolutely necessary to mobilize a team and keep a team focused on the prize.

Essentially, my claim is that the differential in performance obtained by spending a lot of cap space on several expensive veteran forwards as opposed to relying on younger forwards and using the cap space elsewhere is sub-optimal.

Last year, you saw what happens when you use your cap-friendly roster spots on defencemen. The performance gap between a veteran D-man and a young D-man is typically greater than the performance gap between a veteran forward and a young forward. The past cup winners have shown that a more optimal mix is to try to maximize the number of cap-friendly roster spots given to young talented forwards.

Thus, the return on invested capital (ROIC) when spending cap space on veteran forwards vs. younger forwards appears to be typically lower than the ROIC when spending cap space on veteran d-men vs. younger d-men, so the opportunity cost of foregoing cap spending on veteran forwards is lower than the opportunity cost of foregoing cap spending on veteran D-men.


Last edited by Slew Foots: 07-10-2012 at 05:54 PM.
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07-10-2012, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NRG87 View Post
During my lunch break, my brother told me to start a blog about the Habs, so I did: http://joehabs.blogspot.com.

There are already tons of Habs blogs out there, I'm well aware, but I figured it's time that I spent my time doing something I actually enjoyed for a change...

In my first blog post, I'm positing that the Habs have way too many veteran forwards (in my assessment, anything above the age of 28 is considered a "veteran"). If you look at the past 3 cup champs, those teams didn't have a lot of veteran forwards.

The Habs signed two UFA forwards this offseason, and are rumored to be interested in Doan. Some veteran leadership is good, but the reality is that forwards beyond the age of 28 start to decline, and we now have way too many declining assets at the forward position.

Accordingly, I'd stay far away from Shane Doan, as much as he's still a useful player (today anyway).

Do you think we have too many veteran forwards on the team?
Not really. I think we could use another one on Plekanec's line.

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07-10-2012, 03:52 PM
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I don't get how some ppl think anyone over 30 is old. NHL players are usually in their prime from about 27 to 33, specially D-men and goalies.

The cap system really screwed it up, teams are using more and more young guys not because they are ready, but rather cuz they are on ELC.

ex Sam Gagner, the guy is 22 years old, has already played 5 season, all of which he has gotten atleast 40 points, but most ppl think he is done.

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07-10-2012, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NRG87 View Post
During my lunch break, my brother told me to start a blog about the Habs, so I did: http://joehabs.blogspot.com.

There are already tons of Habs blogs out there, I'm well aware, but I figured it's time that I spent my time doing something I actually enjoyed for a change...

In my first blog post, I'm positing that the Habs have way too many veteran forwards (in my assessment, anything above the age of 28 is considered a "veteran"). If you look at the past 3 cup champs, those teams didn't have a lot of veteran forwards.

The Habs signed two UFA forwards this offseason, and are rumored to be interested in Doan. Some veteran leadership is good, but the reality is that forwards beyond the age of 28 start to decline, and we now have way too many declining assets at the forward position.

Accordingly, I'd stay far away from Shane Doan, as much as he's still a useful player (today anyway).

Do you think we have too many veteran forwards on the team?
No. For argument's sake, how would you decrease the number of veteran forwards? Players become UFAs at 27, or 25 if they enter the league at 18, so we can rule out the UFA market. We are left with trades and drafting. What young forward could we trade for? Who would we trade?

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07-10-2012, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by habs03 View Post
I don't get how some ppl think anyone over 30 is old. NHL players are usually in their prime from about 27 to 33, specially D-men and goalies.

The cap system really screwed it up, teams are using more and more young guys not because they are ready, but rather cuz they are on ELC.

ex Sam Gagner, the guy is 22 years old, has already played 5 season, all of which he has gotten atleast 40 points, but most ppl think he is done.
That's exactly my point. In my blog, I explain why more specificallly. Wasting cap space on veteran forwards is not the optimal usage of cap space. Since I have limited cap space, I will optimize its usage. Since D-men and goalies hit their prime later and need more experience to be effective, I'll try to restrict my usage of roster spots on expensive veterans to D-men and goalies. Forwards can be effective at a younger age.

And I never said 30 is old. I'm saying you can't have too many veteran forwards. In my blog, I explain why.

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07-10-2012, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NRG87 View Post
That's exactly my point. In my blog, I explain why more specificallly. Wasting cap space on veteran forwards is not the optimal usage of cap space. Since I have limited cap space, I will optimize its usage. Since D-men and goalies hit their prime later and need more experience to be effective, I'll try to restrict my usage of roster spots on expensive veterans to D-men and goalies. Forwards can be effective at a younger age.

And I never said 30 is old. I'm saying you can't have too many veteran forwards. In my blog, I explain why.
Sorry I wasn't really directing my post to you, but generally speaking.

But I agree with what you are saying, but I still think 29 to 32-33 still very good years for forwards.

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07-10-2012, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by SeriousHabs View Post
No. For argument's sake, how would you decrease the number of veteran forwards? Players become UFAs at 27, or 25 if they enter the league at 18, so we can rule out the UFA market. We are left with trades and drafting. What young forward could we trade for? Who would we trade?
Retrospectively, I wouldn't sign that many UFA forwards. What can be done now? You can either make trades or banish to the AHL. Obviously you can't go from 8 veteran forwards to 3 veteran forwards overnight.

We have a number of forwards aged 28 or less who are already on the roster or could be ready to play in the NHL by 2013-2014, e.g.: Eller, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Leblanc, Collberg, Desharnais, Pacioretty, White, Kristo, Palushaj, etc. Cup winning teams don't have 8 veteran forwards. They have younger forwards who eat up less cap space and can be effective contributors at younger ages. Of late, cup winning teams tend to either use up cap space on younger elite forwards and expensive veteran roster spots on defencemen.

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07-10-2012, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NRG87 View Post
That's exactly my point. In my blog, I explain why more specificallly. Wasting cap space on veteran forwards is not the optimal usage of cap space. Since I have limited cap space, I will optimize its usage. Since D-men and goalies hit their prime later and need more experience to be effective, I'll try to restrict my usage of roster spots on expensive veterans to D-men and goalies. Forwards can be effective at a younger age.

And I never said 30 is old. I'm saying you can't have too many veteran forwards. In my blog, I explain why.
Because the players are able to be UFA at a much younger age than in the past, this causes teams to build thier teams with young guys and a few older vets for leadership.

In the next 2-3 years The Habs will be bringing in 4-5 more guys on thier ELC. These guys will need older guys to lead. IMO Doan would fill the leadership role perfectly.

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07-10-2012, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by HabsRock View Post
Because the players are able to be UFA at a much younger age than in the past, this causes teams to build thier teams with young guys and a few older vets for leadership.

In the next 2-3 years The Habs will be bringing in 4-5 more guys on thier ELC. These guys will need older guys to lead. IMO Doan would fill the leadership role perfectly.
I'm not asking why teams are building their teams with younger guys. I know the underlying cause. It doesn't change the fact that the last 3 cup winners had few veteran forwards.

My claim is that the differential in performance obtained by spending a lot of cap space on several expensive veteran forwards as opposed to relying on younger forwards and using the cap space elsewhere is sub-optimal.

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07-10-2012, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by NRG87 View Post
Retrospectively, I wouldn't sign that many UFA forwards. What can be done now? You can either make trades or banish to the AHL. Obviously you can't go from 8 veteran forwards to 3 veteran forwards overnight.

We have a number of forwards aged 28 or less who are already on the roster or could be ready to play in the NHL by 2013-2014, e.g.: Eller, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Leblanc, Collberg, Desharnais, Pacioretty, White, Kristo, Palushaj, etc. Cup winning teams don't have 8 veteran forwards. They have younger forwards who eat up less cap space and can be effective contributors at younger ages. Of late, cup winning teams tend to either use up cap space on younger elite forwards and expensive veteran roster spots on defencemen.
The thing is, we were very, very thin on top 6 forward prospects since a while. We're finally starting to have some that get going with Pacioretty, Desharnais, and now we might have some new ones with Gachenyuk, Gallagher, Collberg, Leblanc (could be a 2nd line winger eventually...), who knows about Kristo, and maybe Eller will manage to be #2 though I think with our line-up he's more likely to be a good 3rd center.

Why are we paying a lot on veteran forwards? Because except for Pacioretty and Desharnais who really came through 1-2 years ago, the rest likely will not be able to fill a top 6 role for another 2 years (maybe a few like Galchenyuk could in 1 if all goes for the best). And guess what will happen in 2 years? Gionta's contract is done, Gomez's contract is done, Cole will have 1 year left, and the only expensive veteran we'll have left on offense is Plekanec and Bourque for another year. Prust and Moen will still be on the books too, but they're not that expensive (though overpayed some for their role, but we should have some players underpayed for their role, like Galchenyuk for a little while).

I don't think there's a big problem cap-wise in Habsland. No, we're likely not going to win the cup in the next 2 years paying 12.3M for Gionta and Gomez. But we have a very nice bunch of prospects that should all start amounting to something in 2 years, as much on D as on O. Then the veterans will go off the book, and with the amount of money we will save by having many young players entering the line-up, we should try bidding/trading for a star player. I think that's our best path at the moment for a run at the Cup. So for me anything cap-wise that ends within the next 2 years is somewhat irrelevant.

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07-10-2012, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NRG87 View Post
During my lunch break, my brother told me to start a blog about the Habs, so I did: http://joehabs.blogspot.com.

There are already tons of Habs blogs out there, I'm well aware, but I figured it's time that I spent my time doing something I actually enjoyed for a change...

In my first blog post, I'm positing that the Habs have way too many veteran forwards (in my assessment, anything above the age of 28 is considered a "veteran"). If you look at the past 3 cup champs, those teams didn't have a lot of veteran forwards.

The Habs signed two UFA forwards this offseason, and are rumored to be interested in Doan. Some veteran leadership is good, but the reality is that forwards beyond the age of 28 start to decline, and we now have way too many declining assets at the forward position.

Accordingly, I'd stay far away from Shane Doan, as much as he's still a useful player (today anyway).

Do you think we have too many veteran forwards on the team?
Really, where would Pacioretty and Desharnais have been without Cole? And don't you shudder at the thought of Leblanc instead of Plekanec? Would theHabs have gotten to the CSCs without theiir older forwards?

IMO you're oversimplifying things. The Red Wings were loaded with veteran forwards in their best years. The Devils just got to the finals with their veterans while the Blues and Oilers sputtered despite their wealth of talented youths. If something sin't broken, why try to fix it? You'd look awfuly silly if the Habs make the playoffs in 2013 withe the help of Prust and Armstrong.

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07-10-2012, 04:32 PM
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As long as we stay away from signing guys 35 years old and above, I think it's fine. Jagr and Whitney, for example, would have been mistakes.

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07-10-2012, 04:32 PM
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Veterans are great. Cole has not only been great, hell, exceed my expectations, but he's been a great role model for Pacs and DD. Leblanc's first game, Cole gave him his credit card and told him to get this parents to the game.

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07-10-2012, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Patccmoi View Post
The thing is, we were very, very thin on top 6 forward prospects since a while. We're finally starting to have some that get going with Pacioretty, Desharnais, and now we might have some new ones with Gachenyuk, Gallagher, Collberg, Leblanc (could be a 2nd line winger eventually...), who knows about Kristo, and maybe Eller will manage to be #2 though I think with our line-up he's more likely to be a good 3rd center.

Why are we paying a lot on veteran forwards? Because except for Pacioretty and Desharnais who really came through 1-2 years ago, the rest likely will not be able to fill a top 6 role for another 2 years (maybe a few like Galchenyuk could in 1 if all goes for the best). And guess what will happen in 2 years? Gionta's contract is done, Gomez's contract is done, Cole will have 1 year left, and the only expensive veteran we'll have left on offense is Plekanec and Bourque for another year. Prust and Moen will still be on the books too, but they're not that expensive (though overpayed some for their role, but we should have some players underpayed for their role, like Galchenyuk for a little while).

I don't think there's a big problem cap-wise in Habsland. No, we're likely not going to win the cup in the next 2 years paying 12.3M for Gionta and Gomez. But we have a very nice bunch of prospects that should all start amounting to something in 2 years, as much on D as on O. Then the veterans will go off the book, and with the amount of money we will save by having many young players entering the line-up, we should try bidding/trading for a star player. I think that's our best path at the moment for a run at the Cup. So for me anything cap-wise that ends within the next 2 years is somewhat irrelevant.
Assuming we do refrain from foolish UFA signings in the coming 2-3 years, I do agree that the roster mix will look much better by then.

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07-10-2012, 04:44 PM
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Really, where would Pacioretty and Desharnais have been without Cole? And don't you shudder at the thought of Leblanc instead of Plekanec? Would theHabs have gotten to the CSCs without theiir older forwards?

IMO you're oversimplifying things. The Red Wings were loaded with veteran forwards in their best years. The Devils just got to the finals with their veterans while the Blues and Oilers sputtered despite their wealth of talented youths. If something sin't broken, why try to fix it? You'd look awfuly silly if the Habs make the playoffs in 2013 withe the help of Prust and Armstrong.
The Wings best years were pre-cap era. I don't think you fully understood the point of my argument either. I'm not saying veterans are bad. I'm saying too many veteran forwards is a sub-optimal allocation of cap space.

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07-10-2012, 04:47 PM
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Someone should warn the Red Wings about that... And where are the Oilers since the last few years ?


Seriously, you need a blend of players with experience and some youth. That's always been the case in Montreal.

But you need the GOOD veterans. I think Cole, Gionta, Moen and Plekanec have lots to give still to this team. Not so sure about Bourque and Gomez.

The cap is gona take care of itself. Don't worry.

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07-10-2012, 04:48 PM
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When Anaheim won, all teams needed to be way tougher.
When Detroit won, all teams need key veterans in key positions throughout the team (and could spend as little as possible on goaltending).
When Pittsburgh and Chicago won, all teams needed #1 picks, and only build through the draft (and in Chicago's case, spends as little as possible on goaltending again).
When Boston won...back to toughness, plus an elite goalie.
Now when LA wins, you need young forwards and an elite goalie.

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07-10-2012, 04:56 PM
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When Anaheim won, all teams needed to be way tougher.
When Detroit won, all teams need key veterans in key positions throughout the team (and could spend as little as possible on goaltending).
When Pittsburgh and Chicago won, all teams needed #1 picks, and only build through the draft (and in Chicago's case, spends as little as possible on goaltending again).
When Boston won...back to toughness, plus an elite goalie.
Now when LA wins, you need young forwards and an elite goalie.
Except that I'm basing my opinion on a common characteristic of the last 3 Stanley Cup champions. Perhaps even the last 4 or 5, but I didn't have time to analyze those rosters' mix at the forward position.

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07-10-2012, 04:58 PM
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As long as we stay away from signing guys 35 years old and above, I think it's fine. Jagr and Whitney, for example, would have been mistakes.
1 year deal on Jagr can't be a mistake. If it goes bad you can trade or dump him. No risk there.

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07-10-2012, 05:25 PM
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To the OP :
Great thread and great research. I like where you are coming from because I too believe you need your share of excited passionate young wingers to mix in with the vets
Hopefully we have about 5 of these guys in the lineup within the next two years
After two years, we should be rid of Gomez, Gionta, Bourque, and either Cole or Pleks, so we should be younger at that time.

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07-10-2012, 05:37 PM
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I don't understand how having established, veteran players is a bad thing.

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07-10-2012, 05:44 PM
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I don't understand how having established, veteran players is a bad thing.
Who said it's a bad thing?

Having too many veterans playing forward may be a sub-optimal allocation of cap space. The last few cup winners didn't have this many veteran forwards, and their core consisted of established forwards who were younger.

1. It takes roster spots away from younger forwards who could give you almost the same performance at a fraction of the cost.

2. It requires too much spending on forwards at the detriment of spending on veteran D-men, where the discrepancy in performance between veteran D-men and young D-men is much greater than the discrepancy in performance between veteran forwards and young forwards.

3. While a number of expensive declining forwards will be off the books in 2 years, they are currently taking playing time away from younger players who could have used the playing time to develop more rapidly in order to become key contributors by then.

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07-10-2012, 05:44 PM
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I don't understand how having established, veteran players is a bad thing.
The brother just gave you fresh current research to prove his point. I think it merits consideration.

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07-10-2012, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by NRG87 View Post
Who said it's a bad thing?

Having too many veterans playing forward may be a sub-optimal allocation of cap space.

1. It takes roster spots away from younger forwards who could give you almost the same performance at a fraction of the cost.

2. It requires too much spending on forwards at the detriment of spending on veteran D-men, where the discrepancy in performance between veteran D-men and young D-men is much greater than the discrepancy in performance between veteran forwards and young forwards.

3. While a number of expensive declining forwards will be off the books in 2 years, they are currently taking playing time away from younger players who could have used the playing time to develop more rapidly in order to become key contributors by then.
Again, without trying to sound like your best friend, the arguments you are making here are very persuasive, especially the part about being top heavy in forward salaries at the expense of Dmen salaries.
Look no further than our three biggest wastes of cap space-forwards Gomez, Gionta, and Bourque.

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07-10-2012, 05:58 PM
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I won't get into the veteran argument but a fairly common theme we've seen from cup winners is that they have big impact players playing on their ELCs, which means that their cap hit is really low for their skill level, so the team has been able to absorb the cap hit of a rental towards the end of the season.

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