Archive for Business of Hockey
As the window to Free Agency opens in a few hours, it got me thinking about the post-lockout economic landscape and how it will affect the Rangers. I actually think it will be a blessing in disguise that the Blueshirts have almost no cap space to work with in the UFA market, with most available resources going to re-sign our own (very talented) RFA’s. Even if another team decides to take Darrell Powe and Arron Asham off our hands, there will likely still be less than three million to play with, and some of that needs to be saved for the deadline.
The biggest wild card GM’s are dealing with is the salary cap in subsequent seasons. All signs point to that cap meeting, or even exceeding the current $70.3 million cap of this past season. With six outdoor games planned for this coming year, revenue seems to be increasing at a rapid rate. The general effect of this type of revenue spike in pro sports (and especially under the new revenue sharing provisions) is that more teams find themselves competing for higher-end assets. Basic law of supply and demand will tell you that this will drive up UFA prices in the future. Read More→
The Rangers have announced that they will not be buying out center Brad Richards this summer. The Rangers have one additional compliance buyout –they used their first on Wade Redden– but have until next offseason to use it. With a new coach in place, and without a pressing need to use the buyout this season, the Rangers have decided to see what they can get out of Richards this year.
Richards had been the subject of many buyout rumors, with seven years left on his deal at a $6.6 million cap hit. The Rangers still have $14.1 million in cap space to work with this offseason.
Henrik Lundqvist’s contract situation has been quite the hot topic since the season ended. Prior to his non-committal remarks as to his future, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Hank would remain in New York long-term. Since extension-gate and the coaching change, combined with news that Lundqvist’s camp and the Rangers are commencing negotiations at the Draft in a few days, there has been much speculation about what a possible extension would look like. Many pundits have theorized a possible max-contract to keep The King in his kingdom, but there hasn’t been much in the way of analysis. Let’s change that, shall we?
For those who aren’t CBA geeks, the max-contract under the current collective bargaining agreement (for a player re-signing with his current club) is 8 years/$80 million. For a UFA changing destinations it is 7 years/$70 million. Hank is currently entering the final year of his 6 year/$41.45 million contract, signed in 2008. If he were to receive a max-deal, the massive cap hit of $10 million would be approximately a $3.125 million increase from his current contract. Even with the cap increasing again based on the HRR (Hockey Related Revenue) calculation in 2014-2015, the cap hit is staggering.
The implementation of the new CBA has changed the landscape of long-term extensions for superstar players. Gone are the cap-circumventing 12-14 year deals and the suppressed cap values that came with them. This alone makes forecasting an elite free agent contract all the more difficult. Not to mention that goalies are generally priced differently than players are, anyway. Read More→
As of yesterday at 11pm, the compliance buyout window is officially open. We do know that Danny Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov will be bought out by the Flyers. We know that the Canadiens will be buying out Tomas Kaberle. But right now, that’s all we know. There are rumors that Mike Komisarek will be bought out by Toronto, but that’s just a rumor for now. (Update: Vinny Lecavalier will be bought out by Tampa Bay.)
A few things to keep in mind: We will not be hearing news of Player X being bought out immediately. To be bought out, a player must be placed on waivers, clear waivers 24 hours later, and then the paper work must be submitted. If we really want to see who is being bought out, then follow the waiver wire. Briere, Bryzgalov, and Kaberle will be the first players placed on waivers. If one of them actually gets claimed, then there’s no need to worry about a buyout (the other team will just take the contract).
After a frustrating end to the Rangers’ season in Boston several days ago, the voracious New York media was bestowed with the “We’ll see” heard round the world. Henrik Lundqvist’s non-committal response to his future in New York almost imploded the entire hockey media. Articles were written, page hits were had, and ad revenue rained down on media outlets. Many observers and analysts alike feel that the King possibly moving kingdoms was the impetus for John Tortorella’s unceremonious dismissal on Wednesday. Obviously, I’m not behind the New York Ranger curtain, so I couldn’t tell you with any certainty whether this is true, but I can dig a little deeper into those comments and see if the “threat” is credible in this case.
For those who missed it (and I’m paraphrasing), when asked about his long term future with the team, Hank responded with the functional equivalent of “we’ll see, I need to talk to my agent”. Normally, this is a very typical response from a player when asked about his contract, but considering Hank’s importance and impact on the franchise, his remarks were bound to cause a stir. Read More→
With just six months left until the finishing touches are placed on the $1 billion renovation of Madison Square Garden, the arena was recently denied an indefinite operating permit by the city of New York, specifically the New York City Planning Commission. Instead MSG was given a 15 year lease on the space it currently sits. Ben Kabak over at Second Ave Sagas weighed in on the matter, and it appears that this new 15 year lease comes with a caveat: MSG will need to find a resolution with the city to “the Penn Station problem.”
The “Penn Station problem” is, as Kabak puts it, capacity restraints. As a daily commuter to and from Long Island, I can see where this is coming from. I have often been unable to even enter Penn Station when there are delays, as the station itself is very small and the hallways very narrow. As people get priced out of living in the city, the number of commuters grows on a monthly basis.
It’s growing increasingly difficult to believe that this is just an off year for Brad Richards, that the 33-year-old will bounce back with the benefit of a summer to clear his head and a full John Tortorella training camp in the fall. There are just too many signs that the former star center is on a steep decline.
And yet, despite Tortorella’s own silent admission through a fourth-line demotion that Richards has been awful, it’s still extremely unlikely the Rangers will exercise a buyout on Richards this summer.
According to TSN, specifically their “Insider Trading” program, the NHL is planning to host 6 outdoor games next season. As of this writing (Tuesday night), nothing has been confirmed by the league, but it’s certainly an interesting concept. Below are the rumored dates, matchups and locations.
- January 1st at Michigan Stadium between Toronto and Detroit
- January 25th at Dodger Stadium between Anaheim and LA
- January 26th at Yankee Stadium between the Islanders and the Rangers
- January 29th at Yankee Stadium between the Devils and the Rangers
- March 1st at Soldier Field between Pittsburgh and Chicago
- March 2nd at BC Place between Ottawa and Vancouver
Last week, Craig Custance at ESPN published an article about the NHL’s plans to expand its global brand. Most of the article discussed further expanding outdoor games, the resurrection of the World Cup of Hockey, and the finalization of an agreement that would send NHL players to Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Olympics. There was one more idea condensed to one little blurb in the text:
He’s also intrigued by the idea of a Champions League, featuring games between the NHL’s and Europe’s best teams.”We love the idea of the power of the team competition,” he said. “Maybe we bring NHL teams over to play the best teams in Europe. How do we stage stage that? That’s definitely something we’re looking at.”
For those unfamiliar with European professional football, the concept is pretty simple: there are various high quality professional football leagues throughout Europe, let’s play a tournament to crown a champion of them all.
The format is quite complicated for qualification, but one you get past that, its quite elegant. There are 8 groups of 4 teams. No teams from the same league can be in a group together and no league can send more than 4 teams to participate. Seeding determines the composition of the group. During this group stage, each of the 4 teams play home and home round robins against one another. After the 6 game group stage, the top two teams in each group advance to the tournament proper. Read More→
This past week there were many reports indicating that the NHL will soon announce a four division realignment plan as opposed to just swapping Winnipeg for Detroit, Columbus, or Nashville.
As you can see above with this great map, the realignment plan will consist of 16 teams in the East and 14 teams in the West. The scheduling plan is for division opponents to play each other four times a season and the rest of the league at least twice a year.
Here are some pros and cons to go with this new plan.