Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Even If Its an Overpay, So What? Staios Part II

I'll admit that I have no idea where the market is going in the NHL. If you had asked me what Ethan Moreau was going to get if he got extended I would not have guessed a cap hit of 2 per year. And I would not have figured on Staios getting 2.7 per.
But I'm alright with it.
1/ The Oil are a young team and these guys are two of the few vets remaining. Sure they could go out and get other guys of this ilk but why do that when you already have two guys who know the organization, the players, the coaches and who both want to be there. You might save some cash but not a pile of it for these type of players.
2/ Considering the Oilers lack experienced defenceman and guys who can play a physical two way game they would likely have to replace these guys with UFAs (overpay) or through trade (give up an asset for a guy who you don't know and who is again, likely not much cheaper)
3/ Stability. In a league where turnover of players was already high before the new CBA the Oilers are locking up their core guys and, with MacT also locked up, showing that some things should stay the same. It also sends the right message to their teammates.
4/ The fans. This franchise has watched player after player leave over the years. Few Oilers spent the majority of their careers here. Call me sentimental but its nice to see guys like Moreau and Staios who established themselves as players here look to stay here. I'm tired of cheering for laundry - these guys are Oilers through and through. They're good players and they are popular with their teammates and the fans.
5/ The Oilers aren't getting handcuffed by these contracts. With so many youngsters who will not get paid for a while and with the fact that these are lower - medium deals this isn't the Lightening paying 20M for three guys. My math may be wrong but presuming that Sykora and Tjarnqvist are gone the Oilers can still pay Smyth @ 5M and be around the 40M mark. Only Raffi and Greene's contracts are up, I think, and while Raffi might get bumped up I think he's still affordable as well (or tradebait). Finally, and this might sound hypocritical after all my lovey dovey talk earlier, these contracts are eminently tradeable. Say its 2010 and they have to give big bucks to Pouliot. He's got the Oilers by the short and curlies, especially as he is the three time defending Conn Smythe trophy award winner. They can give him the money he has earned (especially with four runs to the Cup finals, with three consecutive victories, might I add, they will be flush with cash) and stay under the cap by trading guys like Staios or Moreau.
Who would want them, you ask? There are always going to be teams looking to reach that salary floor and those teams are probably going to be young teams. Having a gritty veteran around to teach the young fellows what it means to be a pro is of value to a club like this and paying 2.7M for a year to meet their cap obligation (plus likely trading him to a contender at deadline time for another asset) is eminently sensible shit.
Know what I'm saying?
Now, when Smytty gets his 5M that's a different kettle of fish unless he pulls a Shanny and keeps going and going .... But we all know where I stand on Smytty.


Anonymous said...

Did the Oilers sign Steve Staois for too many years

The Edmonton Oilers just announced that they have signed Steve Staios to a four year, $10.8 million contract.
Today, right now, Staios is the king of the Oiler blueline. He ranks second on the Oilers in ice time per game at 21:44 per game and is off to a strong start this year with nine points and a plus-4 rating in 20 games.

“Steve exemplifies what it means to be an Edmonton Oiler,” said Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe. 

Lowe is right. Staios is a strong, gritty player -- right now -- at age 33. But what will he be like at age 36 and 37, the final two years of his deal?

This season, only 12 NHL defenceman are aged 36 and older. Only six of those 12 are older than age 37, and those guys tend to be players who had a far higher degree of skill than Staios, players like Rob Blake and Chris Chelios.

Guys who play a gritty game like Staois tend to wear out around the age of 35, although a few of them, such as Bret Hedican, Sean Hill and Keith Carney are still hanging in there at age 36.

So Staios might still be an OK player at age 36, though he almost certainly won’t be the stalwart he is today. And, unfortunately, it is just as likely that he will be so beat up by then he won’t be any kind of player at all.

At age 37, things are even bleaker. Unless Staios is a freak of nature, or a work-out fanatic a la Rod Brind’Amour, he won’t be a top six NHL defenceman at age 37. But the Oilers will still be on the hook for his $2.7 million per year, which will go against their salary cap.

Maybe the Oilers had to give Staios that extra year on his contract or they would loose him as a free agent this summer, not a happy prospect. Maybe they don’t mind having him around as the 7th defenceman when he’s 37-years-old. And maybe they gave him an extra year on his contract in return for him lowering his salary demands, a trade-off for both sides. His overall salary isn't as high as a few other defenders with a similar talent level, such as Alexei Zhitnik at $3.5 million per year and Adam Foote at $4.5 million per year.

I hope these are the calculations, because this deal only makes sense if they are.
David Staples

Black Dog said...

David, thanks for a great comment. Honestly, do I think the contract is too long? Sure I do. Moreau's is too. And if they sign Smyth it will be as well.

Its a gamble but the Oilers obviously wanted to keep Staios. If they didn't well they'd be trying to track down a replacement and on the UFA market they'd be overpaying in money and years, I think. Or they'd be having to trade for a guy, so they'd be giving up an asset.

I think they get two, maybe three years of value, hard to say of course. The fourth year is the pot sweetener but, as I said, you can always find a place to dump a contract if need be. NJ dumped Malakhov who is making more money and is retired to boot. I think if the Oilers find themselves strapped in 2010/2011 because of this they can move the contract with a midround pick to a team looking to reach the cap floor.

I guess we'll see. Ideally it would be a three year deal but that's what they negotiated so fair play to Steve.