Why the NHL needs a salary cap.

As 2004 rapidly approaches all of us hardcore hockey fans will keep watching hockey even if there is a work stoppage. Saying that, hockey has had a great year the 2001-2002 campaign is full of great stories: The Carolina Hurricanes, Jose Theodore, Jarome Iginla, Team Canada and the olympics on a whole. Many new fans have been introduced to the game the past season. But a lock-out of the players might be what the league needs to survive.Salaries are out of control, teams are stocking up on talent leaving small market teams unable to compete.

During the 1980’s the playing field was even. Teams drafting actually factured in to the success of the team. Now all you need to do is throw some cash at a free agent. Teams stacking up on talent is not going to allow the younger players on the team develop into marquee players. Would Jarome Iginla of had the opportuinty to break into the league. He was drafted by the dallas system. Dallas came to power in 1997, would he have got even half the playing time he recives in Calgary. I dont think so. Teams stacking talent are forcing players such as Simone Gagne, who is a legitamate first line center but is limited to the second line because of philles stacked line-up. Eric Cole in Carolina for a first year rookie got third line duties and matured quickly because playing time is availible. Is Pavel Datsyuk going to get the time next year to crack the forth line?

My personal opinion is that salaries are out of control. However some dont feel this way. Ok. But the Nhl is not a healthy league. A salary cap is going to force teams to develope talent. Detroit, Phillidelphia, Washington, Colorado, Dallas, are going to be forced in to either moving their star players or removing their future. Limiting player salaries is not the problem, But what owners are willing to pay for players is outrageous, for example look at paul Kariya’s new contract. For 10 million a season, he better get a heck of alot of ice time, and with recent aquasitions, is Andy McDonald going to get the ice time to develope in to a prominent forward.

Teams like Calgary, Edmonton, Minnesota, Vancouver, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Boston, better themsleves through trades of their exsisiting talent, drafted talent, to work out. And because no prominent players on the team players like Todd Bertuzzi, Jarom Iginla, Marian Gaborik have chances to become stars. These teams have made excellent trades as well. The Florida/Vancouver deal, wich involved Ed Jovonoski, couldnt have worked out better for Vancouver, but Florida, well, not so much. Another Great trade was Cory Stillman to St, Louis for Craig Conroy, Where in Calgary, Conroy got the ice time and showed that he could produce.

I Belive that capping how much an owner can spend will make the Nhl a more competitive league. Talent will spread out and all 30 teams will be in the hunt for the playoffs. The Nhl does not need a Detroit Lions, in the league. Cap Salaries, Talent will spread out and choose to play where they want to play and where they are needed. And for once I think it would be nice to see a player accept to play in a place he enjoys, rather then the dollar amount.

Thats how I see things.

M.W.