Friday, June 27, 2008

Just another Manic Tuesday

The highly underrated Scott Burnside of has a breakdown of the top unrestricted free agents available on July 1. No one is disputing these are good hockey players. You can also be sure of the following:

* The UFAs will go to the team that gives them the best contract. Or they will go to the team that gives them the second-best offer, a smidge under the best offer spread out over several years, and they will say it wasn’t about the money.

* Their signings will be universally hailed by the fans of the team signing them.

* At least one of those players’ families will go through the unfortunate experience of having some sad people say or write that he went to a new city because his wife insisted on it.

* In a matter of hours, the wonderful Brian Rolston will go from a versatile, invaluable second-line player with high character and a cannon of a shot – he will hear from at least 20 teams – to, “OMFG, did you see how much Rolston got? He ain’t that good.”

* A grand total of zero of these free agents will have the best season of their NHL careers.

* They will not be one of the three most essential players on the team that wins the Stanley Cup in 2009.

* At most, only one of them will be part of a team that makes a Conference Final.

* One of them will say they signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs because they love that “hockey really matters here.”

* By November, that player will realize Toronto is in Canada and that hockey really matters there.

*At least once during the season, the former free agents will privately question whether they should have left their old team.

* At least once during the season, the GMs that sign them will privately question what they were thinking about on that hot July day when they gave this player 30% more than they planned on.

* Ultimately, that GM will chalk up the decision to caving to pressure from media and fans. And maybe his coach.

* The new teams of the free agents will be slotted into UFA “Winners” and “Losers” across the information superhighway and in mainstream newspaper columns on Sunday, July 6. A year later, we will look back at those columns and they will all seem funny.


Anonymous said...

19 Isle in NJ 22 ... from the Newsday blog here ..

Outstanding entry Chris ... you really broke it down to the reality of free agency... expectations vs. reality often are two different things. Often we need to be reminded of those expectations months down the road after a player has produced a recent history after signing a contract.

It's your insight like this blog entry that will be missed by much of us in Isles Country ... especially those like me behind enemy lines in NJ.

7th Woman said...

I see you polished up a crystal ball with great reception.

And how many times did you want to put "(*ie: see Jason Blake)" at the end of most of these "predictions?"

islesblogger said...

You forgot one important aspect....

*PR staffers across the league will make it sound like the player their club got was at the top of the free agent list.

This really is my favorite time of year, if only for all the jokes that come out of it 8 months later.

B.D. Gallof said...

Great piece. Especially this season, where the Isles will get little to none of them. And the Rangers will get at least 3.


brian said...

This is funny, but it seems to deflect attention from the fact that the Islanders probably won't be able to land a top free agent. Whether it be an old arena (as Snow said last year) or that a player simply doesn't want to play for the Islanders. Make no mistake, the Islanders offered Ryan Smyth more money than the Avs did.... and he walked. It was alos reported that the Isles offered Drury the same contract the Rangers sis..... and he didn't consider it.

Now with the Isles "rebuilding"..... if they watch all the free aegents go elsewhere, they can just say "we are rebuilding, we didn't want these players".