So there seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the lack of UFA signings, so I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread citing possible explanations as well as to explore a few criticisms of the explanations I've seen elsewhere. As a preface to all of my points, I make the assumption that people understand that just because we don't sign a player does not mean we didn't make an offer and it doesn't mean we didn't make the best offer. There are many reasons players may choose not to come to Montreal other than money.
1) Just like Pronger in Edmonton, family concerns can play a vital role. Some trophy wife from California might find the prospect of living in Montreal to be an undesirable one. To be in an unfamiliar culture where the weather is ****** 8 months a year. Does that suck? Yes. But it is what it is.
2) Face it, a lot of players are happy staying in places where they don't have to put up with the crazy, career-ruining pressure cooker that boils over when you combine Montreal and hockey.
The Leafs can pretend all they want that players will take this pay cut and that cut to play in TO. It's delusional, it's naive and you have to be both to believe it. Every player says he'd like to play in a place where they can sucker the team to pay them more than what they're worth. What better place then close to home, where the fans will put pressure on the GM to do something? Look how much Ribeiro has milked that for, and Lindros, and O'Neill. The Toronto star makes it sound like Peca would take a pay cut to be with the Leafs. Since Peca is a UFA and has no contract, he has no salary and therefore would be taking no such cut. He might take a reduced salary relative to his old contract to compensate for his ****** season last year, but nowhere does he say he would accept less than what he's worth. So let's just be clear and not fall into the trap of pretending that all players want to play in Montreal. Let's leave that to leaf land.
3) Nowhere have I seen, as some have claimed, the excuse that we didn't sign a player because he was too expensive. You have to pay for quality and everybody knows it. So then you have to figure out who fits best with your team while remaining in a safe position under the cap. Only then can you hope that a player will want to come here. But there are some ridiculous contracts which we don't want any part of. You wanna sign Kubina for $5million, and commit $20 million to your top 4 defensemen - including 2 very mediocre ones? Go to Toronto and join the new Fergie fanclub. Gross overpayment and committing to high risk, ultra long-term contracts is sure to leave you strapped.
4) Ribeiro's contract is nothing to be angry about. We signed him for a little more than he's worth, but we're talking small numbers to begin with. At $1.9 million, if we find his replacement as I hope we do soon, we can put him in Hamilton without the slightest thought and it'll hardly cost us. The contract is one-year and low risk so there is little or no reason to compare this contract with the cost of UFAs or to pretend that somehow we chose to overpay him instead of a better player. That assumes way too much.
5) As you know 85% of the key UFA signings are by teams who didn't make the playoffs last season, and are under a ton of pressure to appeae fans. So for some GMs, signing players to ridiculous contracts means they might keep their jobs for an extra year. In short, these UFA's are worth more to these teams because they don't have a lot else already going for them like the Habs do.
6) When 20 teams are interested in a UFA, it stands to reason that you shouldn't get too excited about acquiring that player. Even with comparabble offers, Montreal has many disadvantages to players, some of which are listed above.
7) Some players that have been suggested here do not fit the profile of our greatest needs. I hope I do not end up with my foot in my mouth but Sykora would be a signing I wouldn't understand. Unless we can replace Ribeiro, get rid of Zednik Choose between Perezhogin and Kostitsyn, then why acquire another soft, albeit talented player. He is better than all the aforementioned players but is the team ready to give up on the Perez or Kosti yet? Big question.
We still may sign a player or two if the stars align. Personally I'd be interested in;
1) Peca at $3 million/year for 2 years or 2 million/year for more time. Unlikely, but interesting and that would allow us to send Ribs to hamilton, something that I am willing to pay for!!
2) Carter for $2.25 million/year for 2-3years. It's a lot but we desperately need his grit and physical presence up front.
3) Poti at 3 million or less for a moderate period.
4) Shanahan's experience, skill, grit and size would be a great asset on y\our young team. $4.5 million for a year or two is good, IMO
But if we don't get them, it doesn't mean we didn't try and it doesn't mean we're not going in the right direction. Rome wasn't built in a day and we have very capable people at the helm of this ship.
Well i was hoping for some Ufa's but i think i fell into the media frenzy...
Maybe its better we sign none...
We have many prospects ready to take the next step. If we can improve from within we will be way better off.
Were just not used to this way of doing things. Its been a long time since we built a winner from the draft.
I just think that we have a lot of guys that could help us this season
Grabovski- could be ready
Chipchura - the guy could be ready this year as well
Korpikari - is probably ready
Kostitsyn - Andre is ready
Perezhoghin - is ready
O'Byrne - is probably ready
Cote - Is ready
Latentresse - is almost ready if not ready...
Ferland - is really close
Lapierre - is really close too
Lambert - is really close as well
Danis - is ready
Halak needs 1 season in hamilton
WE have a lot of guys ready to make the step this season or next.
So maybe it would be best to try them out this season(the ones that are close) this way our prospects will gain experience and up their value for possible trades.
Lets face it we have a lot of prospects that could fill our holes, maybe gainey wants to try them out this season instead of signing large contracts to UFA's.