The C word

I am talking of course about collusion. What did you think I was talking about?

Collusion is the one flaw I see in the NHLPA reasoning, the one *lie* they are telling.
Their argument is that they want a free-market economy to decide the value of players. In truth, they do not. What if a bunch of veteran free agents came on the market but nobody was buying? I am willing to bet the NHLPA would be screaming collusion whether they were right or wrong to do so.

The truth is, salary cap, luxury tax, or not… there are going to be some changes in the climate of the NHL.

Over the last few years, there are some teams that are buying at the deadline and some that are selling. There are rent-a-players starting to happen every year. There is also a gradual trend towards teams starting to talk at least about taking a financial stand.

Look at the examples of quality players who are all but untradeable right now. Look further and see how many players contracts expire this year. The Leafs are not the only team who has structured most of their salary obligations to end before the new CBA. An example… Robert Reichel is playing well this year. He is a solid and serviceable 3rd line guy who play responsibly and will chip in a few points here and there with not a ton of ice time… he makes something like 3.25 million. He is untradeable. When he is a FA, if he continues to play… look for maybe 1 million a year. I bet there are examples like him everywhere (half of them on the Leafs LOL!)

So, what happens when the over-paid players go to sign new contracts? I don’t think that a *win* by the NHLPA will mean that things will be they way they have been for the last couple years. Are teams like the Rangers going to be so anxious to sign big name UFA’s?

My feeling is that salary cap/luxury tax or not, whether there really is collusion or not, the trend is going to go down in salaries over the next few years.

A lot of big name veterans are going to come on the market and find that people won’t pay them… I see some pay decreases. Just listen to a lot of GM’s, not just Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington and Carolina.

Two years from now a Bobby Holik will not fetch 9 million. Lapointe won’t get 5 million, Hell, Jagr won’t get 11 million. What would a half-a-season Forsberg be worth even?

Changes are coming, regardless of the CBA and if it isn’t out and out collusion I think it will be (finally) a modicum of common sense being shown by the owners.