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Amerks consider going independant next year

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Old
11-28-2010, 09:45 AM
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PattyLaLa16
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Amerks consider going independant next year

Interesting read, Ted Nolan and Curt Styres say they are exploring all options. But they are checking into the financial feasibiliy of going independent for the 2011-12 season.

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/...iation-options

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11-28-2010, 12:06 PM
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sabrefan27
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At this point, the Amerks already are playing with an ECHL lineup. I have no doubt that Nolan and Gage could come up with a better lineup. It would be tough, but better than getting back with Florida again.

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11-28-2010, 12:33 PM
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Very interesting. I hope they do it, and I hope (perhaps unrealistically) that they are very successful. It might adress the quality of the league overall.

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11-28-2010, 01:17 PM
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I'd like to see an indy team too, and a division with Albany, Adirondack, Bingo and Syracuse would be very competitive- all with ECHL level players. Right now if you combine Albany and Adirondack's points, it's good for 4th place and a playoff spot.

It seems like they'd be able to pick up guys on loan from other NHL teams who would like the guy in the AHL, but there's not room on their team.

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11-28-2010, 01:26 PM
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I mean, if you have 6 quality veterans, you are already ahead of a lot of teams in this league.

That also doesn't include the MANY quality players in the AHL that have been free agents but haven't hit the 260 threshold yet.

Is it realistic to win a championship or be first place? Probably not. But for a once year stop gap and to see if it works, why not. It's better than being affiliated with an NHL team who clearly doesn't care.

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11-28-2010, 02:36 PM
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My initial thoughts are that an independent team would be a complete disaster, especially in the first year given that it would, in effect, be a brand new team that has never played together before not to mention the veteran rule and the fact that the team would have no prospects so the roster would be chocked full of undrafted junior and college players.

However, given how the attendance in Rochester has plummeted, I guess from the ownership's standpoint why not try something different. They could market the team as one that was built to win, not one to develop prospects.

The question is, what kind of budget for player salaries will they have?

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11-28-2010, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by pelts35.com View Post
My initial thoughts are that an independent team would be a complete disaster, especially in the first year given that it would, in effect, be a brand new team that has never played together before not to mention the veteran rule and the fact that the team would have no prospects so the roster would be chocked full of undrafted junior and college players.

However, given how the attendance in Rochester has plummeted, I guess from the ownership's standpoint why not try something different. They could market the team as one that was built to win, not one to develop prospects.

The question is, what kind of budget for player salaries will they have?
Well, paid attendance has been going up from 3 years ago, so while it's bad, it's not like it's getting worse. I've been told that Amerks are in the top half of the league in actual ticket revenue.

As far as a budget, it actually wouldn't be that much different than a year ago. Last year, the Amerks paid Florida $850,000 in affiliation fees, and also paid the contracts of Chris Taylor, Graham Mink, Jeff Taffe, Jamie Johnson, Mike York and Clay Wilson. I believe they combined to make approximately $800-900,000. So the Amerks paid almost 2 million dollars out last season. With no affiliate, there's no affiliation fees. I would guess it would cost around 2 million to sign an entire team.

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11-28-2010, 02:52 PM
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11-28-2010, 02:56 PM
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I think this is only really being considered because of the lack of options for an affiliate for next season. The Amerks clearly don't believe FLA could give them a better team, and frankly I'd agree with their assesment. If there was a more attractive option, I'm sure we wouldn't be having this convo.

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11-28-2010, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sabrefan27 View Post
Well, paid attendance has been going up from 3 years ago, so while it's bad, it's not like it's getting worse. I've been told that Amerks are in the top half of the league in actual ticket revenue.

As far as a budget, it actually wouldn't be that much different than a year ago. Last year, the Amerks paid Florida $850,000 in affiliation fees, and also paid the contracts of Chris Taylor, Graham Mink, Jeff Taffe, Jamie Johnson, Mike York and Clay Wilson. I believe they combined to make approximately $800-900,000. So the Amerks paid almost 2 million dollars out last season. With no affiliate, there's no affiliation fees. I would guess it would cost around 2 million to sign an entire team.
How would it not be much more different than a year ago? If it's going to cost nearly a million for 6 quality vets, are you saying that it will only cost just over a million to complete the roster? Not to mention that you also have to pay a coaching staff too.

I could be wrong, but I don't think that $2 million will buy you a very competitive AHL team. Just to lure a quality goalie who would be considering going to Europe will probably run in excess of $100,000.

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11-28-2010, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by pelts35.com View Post
How would it not be much more different than a year ago? If it's going to cost nearly a million for 6 quality vets, are you saying that it will only cost just over a million to complete the roster? Not to mention that you also have to pay a coaching staff too.

I could be wrong, but I don't think that $2 million will buy you a very competitive AHL team. Just to lure a quality goalie who would be considering going to Europe will probably run in excess of $100,000.
I'm just guessing here. 22 man roster.

6 vets at an average of $150,000. That's $900,000.

16 remaining players at an average cost of $70,000. That's 1,120,000.

Total is 2,020,000.

I think you can get pretty solid AHL players at 70-80,000. And there would be some lower end guys filling out the lineup at 40 or 50 grand, while you have some higher end guys making 90-100 to have that remaining average at about 70 grand.

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11-29-2010, 12:22 AM
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It's an interesting concept. I don't see an indy team being a Cup contender, but they could put a very competitive team out there for a season, maybe two, and a $2 million payroll doesn't sound too out of bounds. As to the budget, if there's no legitimate salary cap in the "A", then it's whatever the owner can afford or wants to put into a team.

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11-29-2010, 12:10 PM
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Real interesting article. It sounds like a stop-gap measure but it would be an interesting test case. You cannot say that such a team would not be competitve. No one knows. Cannot be much worse than their current scenario.

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11-29-2010, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by ChicagoWolves1 View Post
Real interesting article. It sounds like a stop-gap measure but it would be an interesting test case. You cannot say that such a team would not be competitve. No one knows. Cannot be much worse than their current scenario.
Never say that something can't get worse, just ask Springfield Falcons fans. They though things would get better when they got rid of Phoenix in favor of Tampa and it got worse. They thought the same thing when they got ride of Tampa in favor of Edmonton and it also got worse. I also don't think that Rochester fans thought it would get worse when they got rid of Buffalo in favor of Florida.

That said, of course nobody knows what will happen, but we can certainly discuss it. There are some givens

1. You will have a brand new team that will have no experience playing together
2. You will have a team that will not have a single legitmate prospect that will rely on undrafted free agents to fill the majority of the roster
3. You will be competing with NHL teams with much bigger budgets to sign quality free agents
4. You will be competing with European teams with much bigger budgets to sign a quality starting veteran goaltender
5. Come playoff time the team will not benefit from any prospects coming to the team after their junior or college season ends

on the other hand

1. You can hire a coach that can implement a system that works for the players on the roster, not the parent club's system that the players who will never see the NHL cannot play
2. You would not have any NHL callups

Talking about salary, it's really tough to say what $2 million would get you. But, I did a quick look at capgeek.com for some AHLers salaries and here is the AHL salary for some of the top scorers in the AHL not on their entry level contract

Andrew Gordon - $90,000
Corey Locke - $250,000
Mark Mancari - $105,000
Brian Wilsie - $175,000
Jason Krog - $550,000

Here's some AHL salaries for some of the top netminders

Curtis Sanford - $200,000
Anton Khudobin - $85,000
Jason Bacashihua - $75,000
Tyler Wieman - $105,000

As Rumblick said, it's going to be all about what the Rochester ownership is willing to put into the team, but figure it's going to run at least $250,000 for a proven AHL vet scorer and legitimate starting goalie just to start.

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11-29-2010, 03:07 PM
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[QUOTE=pelts35.com;29244088]Never say that something can't get worse, just ask Springfield Falcons fans. They though things would get better when they got rid of Phoenix in favor of Tampa and it got worse. They thought the same thing when they got ride of Tampa in favor of Edmonton and it also got worse. I also don't think that Rochester fans thought it would get worse when they got rid of Buffalo in favor of Florida.

That said, of course nobody knows what will happen, but we can certainly discuss it. There are some givens

1. You will have a brand new team that will have no experience playing together
2. You will have a team that will not have a single legitmate prospect that will rely on undrafted free agents to fill the majority of the roster
3. You will be competing with NHL teams with much bigger budgets to sign quality free agents
4. You will be competing with European teams with much bigger budgets to sign a quality starting veteran goaltender
5. Come playoff time the team will not benefit from any prospects coming to the team after their junior or college season ends

on the other hand

1. You can hire a coach that can implement a system that works for the players on the roster, not the parent club's system that the players who will never see the NHL cannot play
2. You would not have any NHL callups

Talking about salary, it's really tough to say what $2 million would get you. But, I did a quick look at capgeek.com for some AHLers salaries and here is the AHL salary for some of the top scorers in the AHL not on their entry level contract

Andrew Gordon - $90,000
Corey Locke - $250,000
Mark Mancari - $105,000
Brian Wilsie - $175,000
Jason Krog - $550,000

Here's some AHL salaries for some of the top netminders

Curtis Sanford - $200,000
Anton Khudobin - $85,000
Jason Bacashihua - $75,000
Tyler Wieman - $105,000

As Rumblick said, it's going to be all about what the Rochester ownership is willing to put into the team, but figure it's going to run at least $250,000 for a proven AHL vet scorer and legitimate starting goalie just to start.[/QUOT


I checked capgeek.com and I have a question.

Paul Postma for example has for this season, an AHL salary listed of 65k, an NHL salary of 712.5k, and bonuses of 162.5k. As an AHL'er, he gets only the 65k right? It has to be at around that level because the team budget as you write is give or take 2 million. Why then do they list the "NHL salary" of a guy like him and the others? What does this "NHL salary" indicate?


Last edited by ChicagoWolves1: 11-29-2010 at 03:33 PM. Reason: different thought
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11-29-2010, 03:43 PM
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My concern is this assumption that the 6 veteran slots would be filled with "quality." How could the Amerks management possibly hope to lure players to play for them when the can't offer an NHL option? Yes, I know they had Mike York and Chris Taylor (and Jamie Johnson??) last year but... How many guys are going to take $150K [EDIT: typo] from Rochester if they have a 2-way NHL contract available, even if the AHL portion of that contract is $105K?

And then you have to fill out the rest of the roster with a pool of players which is not nearly as talented as the group of ELC level players available in pretty much every organization. Yes, you can find players, but 20? I think this would be an unmitigated disaster if it happened.

And right now I don't see any way for Styres to get what he wants (roster control AND a competitive team) next season with any organization that's better than Florida.


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11-29-2010, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoWolves1 View Post
I checked capgeek.com and I have a question.

Paul Postma for example has for this season, an AHL salary listed of 65k, an NHL salary of 712.5k, and bonuses of 162.5k. As an AHL'er, he gets only the 65k right? It has to be at around that level because the team budget as you write is give or take 2 million. Why then do they list the "NHL salary" of a guy like him and the others? What does this "NHL salary" indicate?
The NHL salary is what the player would earn when he on the NHL roster while the AHL salary is what the player would earn while on the AHL roster.

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11-29-2010, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Ruckus007 View Post
My concern is this assumption that the 6 veteran slots would be filled with "quality." How could the Amerks management possibly hope to lure players to play for them when the can't offer an NHL option? Yes, I know they had Mike York and Chris Taylor (and Jamie Johnson??) last year but... How many guys are going to take $190K from Rochester if they have a 2-way NHL contract available, even if the AHL portion of that contract is $105K?

And then you have to fill out the rest of the roster with a pool of players which is not nearly as talented as the group of ELC level players available in pretty much every organization. Yes, you can find players, but 20? I think this would be an unmitigated disaster if it happened.

And right now I don't see any way for Styres to get what he wants (roster control AND a competitive team) next season with any organization that's better than Florida.
What you've posted here is the reason why I posted above to ChicagoWolves1 to never say it can't get worse. Unless Styres plans on ponying up a lot of money to 6 vets like Darren Haydar, Jason Krogs, Alexandre Giroux and a stud AHL netminder I don't see how an independent team can be competitive, let alone be successful.

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11-29-2010, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by pelts35.com View Post
The NHL salary is what the player would earn when he on the NHL roster while the AHL salary is what the player would earn while on the AHL roster.
Thanks Pelts

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11-29-2010, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by pelts35.com View Post
What you've posted here is the reason why I posted above to ChicagoWolves1 to never say it can't get worse. Unless Styres plans on ponying up a lot of money to 6 vets like Darren Haydar, Jason Krogs, Alexandre Giroux and a stud AHL netminder I don't see how an independent team can be competitive, let alone be successful.
I agree, and I also think the opportunity/allure/prestige of having an NHL contract. Setting aside the plain possibility of playing NHL games in a season (and the pride that can be associated with that), even at the NHL minimum it's only about a months worth of recall time to make as much as you can during for a full year's AHL salary, even at the high end. An independent team can certainly convince a few guys who may want a settled situation for themselves and/or their families, but a roster of 20 when they're competing with 30 other organizations who can offer something Rochester can't? Not a recipe for success.

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11-29-2010, 05:47 PM
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If Rochester signs 18 guys, they'll have 18 guys who chose to play in Rochester in the AHL. That's a different attitude right from the start. No grudges on who got called up when the other guy deserved it, no wanting to be somewhere else tomorrow.

They'd also be playing together longer than an affialiated team with the NHL camp, etc, and the turnover that all teams have every year.

I would guess they could pick up 4-8 decent players from other organizations who are on loan, possibly with the organization holding the contract paying the salary. There is usually some baggage with these guys however. This, most likely, would be goalies and tough guys- maybe some snipers who don't like to play defense.

It may be useful to see who was signed in the AHL after camp or during the season- like Denis Hamel, Michael Ryan, Steven Goertzen, Joey Mormina- to see what kind of player may be available.

Most important would be the announced attendance- if Rochester claims 10,000+ through the year and into the playoffs, they've got a very good chance at the cup. The lower the figure, the smaller the chance. Below 5,000, no chance. I'd guess the last Cup winner was Portland in 1994 with a sub-5,000 announced attendance, but that's just a guess.

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11-29-2010, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RFA View Post
If Rochester signs 18 guys, they'll have 18 guys who chose to play in Rochester in the AHL. That's a different attitude right from the start. No grudges on who got called up when the other guy deserved it, no wanting to be somewhere else tomorrow.

They'd also be playing together longer than an affialiated team with the NHL camp, etc, and the turnover that all teams have every year.

I would guess they could pick up 4-8 decent players from other organizations who are on loan, possibly with the organization holding the contract paying the salary. There is usually some baggage with these guys however. This, most likely, would be goalies and tough guys- maybe some snipers who don't like to play defense.

It may be useful to see who was signed in the AHL after camp or during the season- like Denis Hamel, Michael Ryan, Steven Goertzen, Joey Mormina- to see what kind of player may be available.

Most important would be the announced attendance- if Rochester claims 10,000+ through the year and into the playoffs, they've got a very good chance at the cup. The lower the figure, the smaller the chance. Below 5,000, no chance. I'd guess the last Cup winner was Portland in 1994 with a sub-5,000 announced attendance, but that's just a guess.
the only problem w/ this is how do you avert a 13-58-09 like the 'Jacks did, because most organizations tht are affiliated also have coaches as part of tht fee.....

who would want to coach a non-affiliated franchise knowing full-well you may lose that coach at any time to any vacancy just as you've seen Adirondack be forced to do w/ Greg Gilbert earlier this year or recently w/ Bridgeport between Capuano and Scott Gordon....

the major difference w/ Portland is that the AHL Backs us, and all the markets that have been here have had no issues w/ the market (PHI, NJ, BOS, WSH, ANA, and currently BUF? the other difference was Ebright, RFA, BUT Portland still holds the distinction from being granted a franchise to a mini-dynasty that other cities have tried, but failed to achieve, and that is keeping the championship once you've won one and then defending it more than once

Is Styres that committed to Rochester to sustain financial losses over multiple years that if affiliated it's one less expense you have to worry about?

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11-29-2010, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RFA View Post
If Rochester signs 18 guys, they'll have 18 guys who chose to play in Rochester in the AHL. That's a different attitude right from the start. No grudges on who got called up when the other guy deserved it, no wanting to be somewhere else tomorrow.
The flip side of the coin is that the players know their ceiling and may not compete as hard as they might knowing that there's not a potential callup down the road where they would make considerably more money. That said the team would have to offer a pretty high contract to offset this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RFA
They'd also be playing together longer than an affialiated team with the NHL camp, etc, and the turnover that all teams have every year.
Agreed, there is the benefit of a more stable roster. However, the first season will certainly have some continuity issues in the first month or to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RFA
I would guess they could pick up 4-8 decent players from other organizations who are on loan, possibly with the organization holding the contract paying the salary.
If that's the case, doesn't that negate your point above since the NHL team could recall those players at any time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RFA
There is usually some baggage with these guys however. This, most likely, would be goalies and tough guys- maybe some snipers who don't like to play defense.
Building a team with 4-8 decent players with baggage is not exactly a recipe for success, is it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RFA
It may be useful to see who was signed in the AHL after camp or during the season- like Denis Hamel, Michael Ryan, Steven Goertzen, Joey Mormina- to see what kind of player may be available.
Not sure what your point is here. Every year there are a few guys that remain unsigned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RFA
Most important would be the announced attendance- if Rochester claims 10,000+ through the year and into the playoffs, they've got a very good chance at the cup. The lower the figure, the smaller the chance. Below 5,000, no chance. I'd guess the last Cup winner was Portland in 1994 with a sub-5,000 announced attendance, but that's just a guess.
So you are saying that the most important factor if this team will compete for a Calder Cup is their announced attendance figures, not the quality of players that the team signs?

BTW, Hamilton averaged under 5000 when they won the Calder Cup in 2006-07.

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11-29-2010, 06:56 PM
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I really don't think finding 6 veterans in the entire hockey world would be a HUGE issue. Yes, right off the bat, there will be several guys who won't even listen because of the lack of an NHL chance. That's fine. The guys that go to Europe have to deal with that too. There's more than enough veteran players around the AHL on AHL deals that tells me they could get 6 guys here. It would be costly, I'm sure. But there are already some quality players on the Amerks now on AHL deals. Chris Taylor. Mike Kostka. Kyle Rank. No, they aren't elite level, but solid players that the Amerks could attract when looking at an entire player pool.

There's also the possibility of getting prospects on loan.

It may not be realistic. But that's what the article said. They are simply doing their research to see if it would work.

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11-29-2010, 06:58 PM
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I think this is something that is easily accomplished. Look at all the players that have signed AHL deals and those that have gone to the lesser European leagues (EIHL, bundesliga, switzerland, etc.) and those veterans that just stopped playing because they couldn't find teams.

If you look at all the AHL players on 2-ways you see the AHL salary of 45K and up. Considering the ECHL players make less than that amount, you could also pick up many of the top ECHL player for 50-60k. You could easily get 18 players (prospect types) for under a total of $1 mil. Throw in a player like Haydar making 250k on an AHL deal and maybe some other making 150k and you could get a decent team put together. They would almost certainly be better than some of the River Rats teams when they were affiliated with the Devils and some of the Falcons teams as well.

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