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Does giving your top players big money help or hurt your ability to compete?

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Old
06-13-2013, 10:42 PM
  #1
Jaded-Fan
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Does giving your top players big money help or hurt your ability to compete?

I am hearing it again in the Malkin signing thread. That old HF sing song that is another of those never was true, but everyone seems to think it is, adages.

'OMG, Malkin at $9.5 million per year. No team can win with so much tied up in five players'

The thing is, that the opposite is true and has been since the cap was instituted. There is a good article from three years ago that showed, along with the actual cap hits of each team, that almost every playoff team, and certainly the best playoff teams, all had one thing in common. More than half their cap space tied up in five players:

'The common theme: the salary cap. The perception seems to be that a team can't commit such large chunks of money to so few players and still build a competitive team in the salary cap era. In reality, the opposite appears to be true. Successful teams in the NHL all have this in common: they have nearly half (or more than half) of their allotted salary cap space (this year, $56.8 million) tied up in just five players.'

http://www.aolnews.com/2010/05/24/wi...over-quantity/

And today? The same thing. For instance the two cup finals teams, Boston (http://www.sportscity.com/nhl/salari...uins-salaries/ ) and Chicago (http://www.sportscity.com/nhl/salari...awks-salaries/ ) have half their cap space tied up in six players. I have not gone down the list of playoff teams but am certain you will find similar.

Can we finally put to bed the notion that signing top players to top dollars does not forever hamstring a team, but in fact the opposite is true. Let those players go and go balanced and be forever middle of the pack. Without being top heavy you almost can not win. All the cool kids seem to be doing it. Meaning those actually in the playoffs and those who get somewhere once there.

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06-13-2013, 10:49 PM
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Having good players signed helps your team obviously. The market dictates their price. That will never change.

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06-14-2013, 12:07 AM
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It helps in the regular season but in the playoffs you need more balance.

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06-14-2013, 12:12 AM
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I think the better question is, "Does allowing your big players to walk for big money from other teams help or hurt your team's ability to compete?"

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06-14-2013, 12:16 AM
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Depends who is the player. Giving Malkin 9.5M doesn't hurt, giving Vinny L 7.7M might cause issues

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06-14-2013, 12:19 AM
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As long as you get big performace out of value players.

Guys like Bickel, a player like Krug stepping up etc.

It doesnt matter how much your top dogs are paid, its a matter of how much quality/value are you getting from your supporting cast.

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06-14-2013, 12:25 AM
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Maybe I did not phrase it well.

The issue for me is that I keep hearing how top heavy teams can not compete every time a team signs one of their top players to a large salary. I guess if you do not look below the surface it seems to have some logic to it that spreading your money up and down the lineup might be better. But if you look at the playoff teams since the lockout, most have half or more of their salary tied up in five players. Meaning the old HF truism that being top heavy hinders your ability to compete is not only incorrect, but the opposite appears to be true.

Teams who win, ie make the playoffs, and make the cup finals, almost universally are top heavy.

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06-14-2013, 12:25 AM
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It helps you a lot more than letting them walk into an offer from your rival. I don't think the Malkin signing is good or bad, just expected. We have no idea what the cap will be 4 years from now. If its 80+ million and he still performs at the same level you're smiling. Anyone who says its a bad signing would have been pumping his GM's tires for giving a similar UFA offer.

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06-14-2013, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Roof Daddy View Post
It helps you a lot more than letting them walk into an offer from your rival. I don't think the Malkin signing is good or bad, just expected. We have no idea what the cap will be 4 years from now. If its 80+ million and he still performs at the same level you're smiling. Anyone who says its a bad signing would have been pumping his GM's tires for giving a similar UFA offer.
Tell that to Glen Sather.

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06-14-2013, 12:33 AM
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Depends who is the player. Giving Malkin 9.5M doesn't hurt, giving Vinny L 7.7M might cause issues
Why are some people on here so ignorant?

At the time Lecavalier signed his deal, he was pretty similar to Malkin in terms of status around the league. His production had dropped off a tad, but he was also suffering from some minor injuries and he was still an elite #1 center at that point. He was extremely marketable, extremely talented, and the face of the franchise then. No one really expected his production to continue to drop off so heavily, or for guys like Stamkos to break out in such form.

And when you compare it to St. Louis' contract, those two together are quite fair. If St. Louis and Lecavalier's contracts were switched, no one would complain about it at all. This board has such a "what have you done for me lately" theme, which really needs to change. It's not that hard to simply pull up capgeek.com or nhl.com and compare stats to when a contract was signed.

People were saying the exact same thing about the Lecavalier deal back then as they are about the Malkin deal now, and if Malkin tails off like Lecavalier does in the next 3-4 years, people will be saying exactly the same thing about Malkin as they are now about Lacavalier.

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06-14-2013, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by LatvianTwist View Post
At the time Lecavalier signed his deal, he was pretty similar to Malkin in terms of status around the league. His production had dropped off a tad, but he was also suffering from some minor injuries and he was still an elite #1 center at that point. He was extremely marketable, extremely talented, and the face of the franchise then. No one really expected his production to continue to drop off so heavily, or for guys like Stamkos to break out in such form.
I think most would have said Vinny should have signed for a caphit of about 6.5-7M at the time he signed the deal(if you going on the basis of the deal being 11 years). I know that is only 700k less then he currently gets but it still was way to much even back in the day. Vinny may be a good player but the contract Tampa gave to him paid him like a Superstar(which I would say he is a step below)

Vinny basically in his career had 2 PPG seasons and he signed the big deal right after that(a case of buying high). I don't think 7.7M would be terrible for a 5-6 year deal but the whole point of a 11 year deal is to drive down the caphit

Quote:
Originally Posted by LatvianTwist View Post
And when you compare it to St. Louis' contract, those two together are quite fair.
Well that like me saying find a guy who is worth 2M and average us out we both millionaires. Basically what your telling me is in order to overpay Vinny Tampa screwed St Louis


Last edited by boredmale: 06-14-2013 at 12:58 AM.
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06-14-2013, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by LatvianTwist View Post
Why are some people on here so ignorant?

At the time Lecavalier signed his deal, he was pretty similar to Malkin in terms of status around the league. His production had dropped off a tad, but he was also suffering from some minor injuries and he was still an elite #1 center at that point. He was extremely marketable, extremely talented, and the face of the franchise then. No one really expected his production to continue to drop off so heavily, or for guys like Stamkos to break out in such form.

And when you compare it to St. Louis' contract, those two together are quite fair. If St. Louis and Lecavalier's contracts were switched, no one would complain about it at all. This board has such a "what have you done for me lately" theme, which really needs to change. It's not that hard to simply pull up capgeek.com or nhl.com and compare stats to when a contract was signed.

People were saying the exact same thing about the Lecavalier deal back then as they are about the Malkin deal now, and if Malkin tails off like Lecavalier does in the next 3-4 years, people will be saying exactly the same thing about Malkin as they are now about Lacavalier.
This is a good post. I think a lot of the posters here forget the type of player Vinny was when he signed the contract. If Tampa didn't give him that contract someone else would have. Vinny was actually playing close to the level Crosby was around that time. Also it appeared he was entering his prime years. Injuries seems to kill his level of play after he signed the contract though.

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06-14-2013, 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by HooliganX2 View Post
This is a good post. I think a lot of the posters here forget the type of player Vinny was when he signed the contract. If Tampa didn't give him that contract someone else would have. Vinny was actually playing close to the level Crosby was around that time. Also it appeared he was entering his prime years. Injuries seems to kill his level of play after he signed the contract though.
You mean a Crosby who was like 21 years old? In general forwards generally hit their "prime years roughly" 23-30, when Vinny signed the deal he was 28, law of averages said he was peaking

Personally I think the perfect comparison contract for Vinny would have been Thornton


Last edited by boredmale: 06-14-2013 at 01:19 AM.
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06-14-2013, 01:33 AM
  #14
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Originally Posted by ThirdManIn View Post
I think the better question is, "Does allowing your big players to walk for big money from other teams help or hurt your team's ability to compete?"
If we use Parise and Suter as an example, yes, it does hurt your team's ability to compete.

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06-14-2013, 01:44 AM
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You want your best players to get the most money. Ideally you don't want a lot of cap room tied up in defense, depth, or goaltending.

Your core should make a good portion of the money, leaving room to sign/trade additional skill as needed.

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06-14-2013, 01:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Jaded-Fan View Post
And today? The same thing. For instance the two cup finals teams, Boston (http://www.sportscity.com/nhl/salari...uins-salaries/ ) and Chicago (http://www.sportscity.com/nhl/salari...awks-salaries/ ) have half their cap space tied up in six players. I have not gone down the list of playoff teams but am certain you will find similar.
Maybe I'm a bit soft in the head but no, Bostons top 6 earners dont make half of the team salary, thats pretty much the concept.

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06-14-2013, 02:30 AM
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Maybe I'm a bit soft in the head but no, Bostons top 6 earners dont make half of the team salary, thats pretty much the concept.
You're right, this season (2012-13), Boston's six highest cap hits accounted for about 43% of the team's total cap. However, next season (2013-14), their six highest cap hits will be at about 52% of the salary cap upper limit (set at $64.3 million for 2013-14).

(At least according to my late night calculations)

The Bruins' six highest cap hits for the 2012-13 season:

Chara: $6,916,667
Krejci: $5,250,000
Bergeron: $5,000,000
Lucic: $4,083,000
Savard: $4,027,143
Horton: $4,000,000

Total: $27,276,810 = 43% of the team cap total (and 39% of the 2012-13 upper limit)

The Bruins' six highest cap hits for the 2013-14 season:

Chara: $6,916,667
Lucic: $6,000,000
Seguin: $5,750,000
Krejci: $5,250,000
Bergeron: $5,000,000
Marchand: $4,500,000

Total: $33,416,667 = 52% of 2013-14 salary cap upper limit ($64.3 million)

Plus an additional 5 players making $3 million or more (of the current 18 players signed for 2013-14).

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06-14-2013, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Jaded-Fan View Post
I am hearing it again in the Malkin signing thread. That old HF sing song that is another of those never was true, but everyone seems to think it is, adages.

'OMG, Malkin at $9.5 million per year. No team can win with so much tied up in five players'

The thing is, that the opposite is true and has been since the cap was instituted. There is a good article from three years ago that showed, along with the actual cap hits of each team, that almost every playoff team, and certainly the best playoff teams, all had one thing in common. More than half their cap space tied up in five players:

'The common theme: the salary cap. The perception seems to be that a team can't commit such large chunks of money to so few players and still build a competitive team in the salary cap era. In reality, the opposite appears to be true. Successful teams in the NHL all have this in common: they have nearly half (or more than half) of their allotted salary cap space (this year, $56.8 million) tied up in just five players.'

http://www.aolnews.com/2010/05/24/wi...over-quantity/

And today? The same thing. For instance the two cup finals teams, Boston (http://www.sportscity.com/nhl/salari...uins-salaries/ ) and Chicago (http://www.sportscity.com/nhl/salari...awks-salaries/ ) have half their cap space tied up in six players. I have not gone down the list of playoff teams but am certain you will find similar.

Can we finally put to bed the notion that signing top players to top dollars does not forever hamstring a team, but in fact the opposite is true. Let those players go and go balanced and be forever middle of the pack. Without being top heavy you almost can not win. All the cool kids seem to be doing it. Meaning those actually in the playoffs and those who get somewhere once there.
Well you need good and great players to be a playoff team. Those guys will get paid someday. Star players will ask for the moon and stars. Your theory is flawed logic.
It does hamstring a team. If Malkin gets 10 and Crosby 10 then that is almost a third of the cap.
Can they sign Letang at 7?
Neal at 5?
Kunitz ?
Dupius?
Then what?
They still need a goalie as we speak. Lets not forget the Pens were destroyed in the playoffs this year.
So how will they sign Scuderi as a free agent?
They also have MAF under contract and he is on the bench at 5 per.
Fluery has no impact on this team. Cooke also wants to get paid.
The PENS fall in the categories:
1. Perennial Playoff Team
2. Large chunks of cash tied up in a few top players including two of the best in hockey.
But they also have money invested in players that hurt the team.
It's a matter of perception anyways.
What are the chances a young team with no stars and or a low cap would win the cup this year?

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06-14-2013, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by ThirdManIn View Post
I think the better question is, "Does allowing your big players to walk for big money from other teams help or hurt your team's ability to compete?"
This should be the thread. This question is food for thought. That being said I give credit to the Hawks and Bruins and their great management. Losing key players because of the cap is tough. Making moves to retool and replenish the system was genius.

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06-14-2013, 07:23 AM
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Personally I think that, in a cap world, it is in a teams best interest to dress a deep, balanced roster to have as few of those contracts as possible.

With two 8.7+ contracts on their team, you're really putting a lot of your eggs in a very small basket. It detracts from your ability to get good third and fourth lines/pairings. As we saw with the Penguins, if you shut down Crosby and Malkin, you essentially neutralize the team.

If I'm a GM, I'm not sure I want anything that large. $ is supposed to be tied to production. I'd put 3 semi-large (under $8M AAV) contracts - one centre, one defenseman, and one goalie. Then spread the rest of the cap money out for the rest.

I think Pittsburgh would be smart to trade Malkin, and pick up two great roster players in return.

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06-14-2013, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Jaded-Fan View Post
And today? The same thing. For instance the two cup finals teams, Boston (http://www.sportscity.com/nhl/salari...uins-salaries/ ) and Chicago (http://www.sportscity.com/nhl/salari...awks-salaries/ ) have half their cap space tied up in six players. I have not gone down the list of playoff teams but am certain you will find similar.
The thing is, who would you rather have those six players be:

Kane, Toews, Sharp, Seabrook, Keith, and Hossa

or

Chara, Lucic, Seguin, Krejci, Bergeron, and Marchand

than

Malkin, Crosby, Neal, Martin, Fleury, and Orpik/Kunitz.

The issue is less the fact that so much cap is tied up in that many players, and more about the presence of bargain deals that make it worth it.

Who would you rather have fill out your top 6 contracts?
Paul Martin, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Chris Kunitz?
Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, and Marian Hossa?
Or David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand?

The Penguins don't really have any notable bargain deals that have guys playing above their salary. Those that do so aren't doing it to a significant enough margin.

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06-14-2013, 08:13 AM
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As long as you are smart about filling out the rest of your lineup then no, it doesn't hurt. It's the cost of retaining your key contributors. After Chicago won the Cup in 2010 and had to sign Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, Sharp,etc. to big contracts and let other guys go I remember people saying those contracts would cripple the team's depth. Well here we are a couple years later and the Hawks have a 1-0 lead in the Cup Finals and the core group is still Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, Sharp....

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06-14-2013, 09:23 AM
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You're looking for an absolute answer which simply isn't possible. It could be that Crosby and Malkin in their prime don't require as much support from other players, however, as other players increase their value (by themselves or even inflated by playing with Crosby and Malkin) I think all teams start to feel the pinch of the cap because they can't be retained.

It may not be so much as can they compete but for how long. In any given year then most certainly can compete but if one gets hurt for an extended period and you can't afford the depth that's where the challenge would come from. It's inevitable that with multiple highly compensated players the lower end of the roster is more likely to experience turnover. How well the turnover is handled is probably more indicative of whether a team can remain competitive. Also, at what point in the career of the highly compensated players are the contracts doled out? Big contracts can ultimately saddle teams but there is no guarantee either way.

For me, I would express concern more out of the risk level, not necessarily condeming the moves and claiming a team can't compete. As a GM I would prefer to adhere to the old adage that a rising tide raises all ships. I'd want to see my entire roster improve, not rely specifically on a few highly compensated players but that's just my opinion.

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06-14-2013, 10:07 AM
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Now there is a hard cap....not a fuzzy one. You can't build a team of name all stars.

An allocation model of salaries are :

$36M for 14 forwards
$25M for Dmen and goalies.
$3.3M for call ups and deadline deals.


If you have 2 forwards signed for $18M....you only have $18M for the remainng 12 forwards

If you have 4 forwards signed for $24M...that's 75% of the space which leaves $12M for the other 10 forwards.


On the flip side with Defense/Galies...look at Vancouver. You can't have 5 Dmen being paid $4M per and not mess up the team elsewhere.


How to break down the salaries by lines/pairings

For forwards...$36M

First...$14M
Second...$11M
Third.....$7M
Other 5...$4M

Dmen and goalies...

Top 4... $16M
Starting goalie..$5M
Bottom 3 Dmen and backup goalie...$4M

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06-14-2013, 11:08 AM
  #25
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Originally Posted by kdfsjljklgjfg View Post

The Penguins don't really have any notable bargain deals that have guys playing above their salary. Those that do so aren't doing it to a significant enough margin.
Sure they do. Kunitz at 3.75 and 52 points in 48 games.
Dupius at 1.5 and 38 points in 48 games.
Letang at 3.5 million.

Those guys all killed it this season in terms of value for their contracts. Just because the Penguins didn't win the cup doesn't mean their salary structure is fundamentally flawed. There isn't one magic formula for winning, but generally the teams with great players are always competitive.

It'd be dumb of them to trade Malkin for depth IMO. You will never get fair value in trade. Just keep reloading like the Hawks who were out in the first round 2 years straight before this season. It's a lot easier to fill in the gaps then acquire another top end talent.

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