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Thread: Derek Stepan Files for Arbitration; $5.2M Offer From NYR, $7.25M Ask from Stepan

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    I'm saying that forcing 1 year, $900K contracts on Miller, Fast and Etem is short sighted. They should be more in the $1.25M range for 2 years. You're talking about guys that went from $800K to $2.3-$3M. They're just not comparable at all.

    Miller, Fast and Etem aren't mid level players being forced into top line rolls (Stepan, Callahan) who then expect to be paid better because of it. That's a different management failing. Miller, Fast and Etem are more bottom 6 players that have shown that they might be able to step up into better roles. Chances are at least one of them will be able to truly shine. So ultimately for me it's about $1M more than the absolute minimum, spread across three players so if one really steps up, they don't feel like they've had the thumb on them until the moment they showed their worth.

    I was against Staal's deal, so I agree with you there. I would have traded him.
    And until they do, they don't deserve to be paid. You are paid in this league based on what you do, not what someone thinks you can do. Paying players on what you think they can do is a risk. Sometimes you get Ryan McDonagh. Other times you get Cody Hodgson.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rome 2.0 View Post
    And until they do, they don't deserve to be paid. You are paid in this league based on what you do, not what someone thinks you can do. Paying players on what you think they can do is a risk. Sometimes you get Ryan McDonagh. Other times you get Cody Hodgson.
    That's not exactly true though, because ELCs aren't all the exact same, are they? Better prospects get better ELCs.

    Miller and Fast have proven something. Fast proved he was 4th line NHLer who could step up when needed and perform well in the top 9 in the post season. Miller proved that he was a 3rd/4th line forward who could step up into the top 6 in the post season when needed.

    And you're still not debating the same issue that originally started this discussion. I'm not talking about Stepan getting McDonagh money his last contract. I'm talking about not treating Miller, Fast and Etem the way John Moore was treated. Moore was struggling to prove he was a 6th defense-man. There was no indication he could be in the top 4 at any point in his stay here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    That's not exactly true though, because ELCs aren't all the exact same, are they? Better prospects get better ELCs.

    Miller and Fast have proven something. Fast proved he was 4th line NHLer who could step up when needed and perform well in the top 9 in the post season. Miller proved that he was a 3rd/4th line forward who could step up into the top 6 in the post season when needed.

    And you're still not debating the same issue that originally started this discussion. I'm not talking about Stepan getting McDonagh money his last contract. I'm talking about not treating Miller, Fast and Etem the way John Moore was treated. Moore was struggling to prove he was a 6th defense-man. There was no indication he could be in the top 4 at any point in his stay here.
    ELC's aren't all the same, no, but none break beyond the standard rookie max outside of bonuses, and even then there's still a total cap ($3.5M) that can be applied in total. For a reason. You have to give GM's the ability to cost-control young talent while they flesh out their NHL worth.

    Miller and Fast really haven't proven anything yet. Fast has played 58 regular season games and slotted up late in the year and in the playoffs pulling spot duty. That's wonderful. I hope it continues. But I'm not paying him more than his QO for that if I don't have to, because why the hell should I? This business of giving out extra treats to young RFA players is what got the Rangers into so much shit in the first place with Dubinsky and Callahan, who also played up as needed when the team lacked options. We argued relentlessly about why over paying RFA players even by $500K is a brutally bad thing to do because of how quickly it can escalate third and fourth contracts.

    This isn't about fair treatment. It's about economics. You don't give extra money away in a salary capped world unless you have no real choice to. The goal of every GM in this league should be the get the best bang-for-buck on every contract possible. Not run a charity based on who they like most.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rome 2.0 View Post
    ELC's aren't all the same, no, but none break beyond the standard rookie max outside of bonuses, and even then there's still a total cap ($3.5M) that can be applied in total. For a reason. You have to give GM's the ability to cost-control young talent while they flesh out their NHL worth.

    Miller and Fast really haven't proven anything yet. Fast has played 58 regular season games and slotted up late in the year and in the playoffs pulling spot duty. That's wonderful. I hope it continues. But I'm not paying him more than his QO for that if I don't have to, because why the hell should I? This business of giving out extra treats to young RFA players is what got the Rangers into so much shit in the first place with Dubinsky and Callahan, who also played up as needed when the team lacked options. We argued relentlessly about why over paying RFA players even by $500K is a brutally bad thing to do because of how quickly it can escalate third and fourth contracts.

    This isn't about fair treatment. It's about economics. You don't give extra money away in a salary capped world unless you have no real choice to. The goal of every GM in this league should be the get the best bang-for-buck on every contract possible. Not run a charity based on who they like most.
    Your argument is that two players who gave a ton of value to the team considering where they were drafted and what they got paid while they were Rangers ended up wanting big money. The Rangers got value from them, but both were then looking for huge pay days. Why? Because of the way they were treated on their way up.

    They weren't overpaid except in the mind of someone who thinks that "The goal of every GM in this league should be the get the best bang-for-buck on every contract possible." This thinking only works until players gain leverage. And once they do, it costs you more or you lose players.

    The ideal way to GM isn't to get the most value from each individual contract, it should be to set up a relationship with the players you're likely going to want to keep so that you get the best value over the time they're with your team. Saving $600K on a second contract that then costs you $3M on the third contract is a failure at management.
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    I think locking up Stepan could effectively make Hayes a winger, and that wouldn't be worst thing in world. Having Hayes,Kreider and Miller for now with the sense that Nash and Zuccarello won't be here in the future. That leaves a spot for Buchnevich etc.

    I mean at center in the system they have Lindberg and also Boo Nieves who at this point could end up being your third line center at some point. I get what Hayes could bring down the middle, but there is flexibility with him if you keep Stepan. Maybe you move Brassard toward end of deal for an asset?

    There are a number of ways it can go, but I think they are a better team with Stepan, and keeping him is a priority unless terms are too radical.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    I'm saying that forcing 1 year, $900K contracts on Miller, Fast and Etem is short sighted. They should be more in the $1.25M range for 2 years. You're talking about guys that went from $800K to $2.3-$3M. They're just not comparable at all.

    Miller, Fast and Etem aren't mid level players being forced into top line rolls (Stepan, Callahan) who then expect to be paid better because of it. That's a different management failing. Miller, Fast and Etem are more bottom 6 players that have shown that they might be able to step up into better roles. Chances are at least one of them will be able to truly shine. So ultimately for me it's about $1M more than the absolute minimum, spread across three players so if one really steps up, they don't feel like they've had the thumb on them until the moment they showed their worth.

    I was against Staal's deal, so I agree with you there. I would have traded him.
    If these guys are too foolish to understand that the Rangers can't do that due to the cap situation, which opens up when Boyle and Yandle leave, then I don't know what to say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    Your argument is that two players who gave a ton of value to the team considering where they were drafted and what they got paid while they were Rangers ended up wanting big money. The Rangers got value from them, but both were then looking for huge pay days. Why? Because of the way they were treated on their way up.

    They weren't overpaid except in the mind of someone who thinks that "The goal of every GM in this league should be the get the best bang-for-buck on every contract possible." This thinking only works until players gain leverage. And once they do, it costs you more or you lose players.

    The ideal way to GM isn't to get the most value from each individual contract, it should be to set up a relationship with the players you're likely going to want to keep so that you get the best value over the time they're with your team. Saving $600K on a second contract that then costs you $3M on the third contract is a failure at management.
    No, they were looking for big money because they were advanced enough through their careers to that point to argue for it. They had arbitration rights and in some cases were signing or negotiating deals that would bring them to, or eat UFA years.

    The mathematics for asset management in the NHL is actually really simple. Hammer 'em hard early for your best bang-for-buck and pay 'em when they control their own fates, once you have a large enough sample size to know what you are investing in long-term.

    To me, getting the most from each individual contract trumps the relationship with the players, especially players who try to buck the system early before they even have arbitration rights.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    If these guys are too foolish to understand that the Rangers can't do that due to the cap situation, which opens up when Boyle and Yandle leave, then I don't know what to say.
    And if you are talking about the relationship side of things, those conversations are easy ones to have "you use [insert CapGeek related site here] just like we do. You know what our cap looks like. Take a one-year qualifying offer and we'll take care of you next year when Boyle is off the books".
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    And let me add this...This is a byproduct of having a competitive and cap team every year.

    The Rangers have, even when they started building internally, spent on UFA's and divvy'd the leftover cap to RFA's. So if you want the team to keep it's home grown talent, then you can't be active in free agency. If you can't be active in free agency, you better be sure you have a crop of prospects ready to fill holes. You can't do that by trading futures every year at the deadline.

    It's a vicious cycle, and unfortunately to build a proper team in a cap era, you have to have some years where you are bad. Queue up the "tank" fear mongering, which in reality is the cyclical nature of all teams in every US sport.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    And let me add this...This is a byproduct of having a competitive and cap team every year.

    The Rangers have, even when they started building internally, spent on UFA's and divvy'd the leftover cap to RFA's. So if you want the team to keep it's home grown talent, then you can't be active in free agency. If you can't be active in free agency, you better be sure you have a crop of prospects ready to fill holes. You can't do that by trading futures every year at the deadline.

    It's a vicious cycle, and unfortunately to build a proper team in a cap era, you have to have some years where you are bad. Queue up the "tank" fear mongering, which in reality is the cyclical nature of all teams in every US sport.
    Tanking is losing on purpose, or sabotaging your own team to ensure they fail (like Tim Murray trading every goaltender who actually performed well enough to win). Being bad and selling assets off in order to get better is part of the natural cycle you talk about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rome 2.0 View Post
    Tanking is losing on purpose, or sabotaging your own team to ensure they fail (like Tim Murray trading every goaltender who actually performed well enough to win). Being bad and selling assets off in order to get better is part of the natural cycle you talk about.
    Precisely.

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    Thing is, the Rangers really haven't hit the low end of that cycle yet. They might be approaching it soon though, based on Hank's age, the Girardi/Staal situations, etc.

    The "window" I see is still like 2-4 years, give or take.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rome 2.0 View Post
    No, they were looking for big money because they were advanced enough through their careers to that point to argue for it. They had arbitration rights and in some cases were signing or negotiating deals that would bring them to, or eat UFA years.

    The mathematics for asset management in the NHL is actually really simple. Hammer 'em hard early for your best bang-for-buck and pay 'em when they control their own fates, once you have a large enough sample size to know what you are investing in long-term.

    To me, getting the most from each individual contract trumps the relationship with the players, especially players who try to buck the system early before they even have arbitration rights.
    And when you do that, you get guys like Stepan and Dubinsky who will sit out rather than sign your low ball offer. Eventually you might break them on this negotiation, but then you're stuck hoping they don't put up numbers once they do have arbitration rights. If they do, you've exercised your might on contract negotiations when the difference is hundreds of thousands and put the player into a position where they're more likely to exercise their might when you're talking about a difference of millions.

    Sure, you can say, "I'll just walk away then if they don't want to be here". Except replacing them with UFAs often costs more and you get less.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rome 2.0 View Post
    Tanking is losing on purpose, or sabotaging your own team to ensure they fail (like Tim Murray trading every goaltender who actually performed well enough to win). Being bad and selling assets off in order to get better is part of the natural cycle you talk about.
    Tanking is making player management decisions that sacrifice near term success in order to optimize long term success. It is losing on purpose from a management perspective.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    And when you do that, you get guys like Stepan and Dubinsky who will sit out rather than sign your low ball offer. Eventually you might break them on this negotiation, but then you're stuck hoping they don't put up numbers once they do have arbitration rights. If they do, you've exercised your might on contract negotiations when the difference is hundreds of thousands and put the player into a position where they're more likely to exercise their might when you're talking about a difference of millions.

    Sure, you can say, "I'll just walk away then if they don't want to be here". Except replacing them with UFAs often costs more and you get less.
    Not at all. If anything, you hope they do put up numbers to prove to you they are worth what they were unrightfully demanding coming off their ELC without arbitration rights.

    I'd have little to no problem signing a four to five year NHL player who shows the consistency Stepan did, for example. I know what I'm signing then. I didn't know what I was signing two years ago, which would have made me reluctant to give him the deal he wanted for more reasons than just the fact that he didn't have arbitration rights, so fuck him.

    Ryan O'Reilly is the poster boy for contract negotiations gone horribly wrong in this league for a reason. It all started with him demanding shit he didn't deserve out of his ELC. If I were the Avs, I'd have taken the draft picks and wished Calgary the best of luck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    Tanking is making player management decisions that sacrifice near term success in order to optimize long term success. It is losing on purpose from a management perspective.
    No, that's your definition of it. By your definition, any team that doesn't spend to the cap is tanking, because they aren't doing as much as they possibly can to win.

    Your perspective on rebuilding (which you call tanking) is skewed. When you tank, your goal is to lose games. That's at the forefront of your plan. When you rebuild, you accept that you will have a young and inexperienced team that is still developing, and the byproduct of that is losing.

    There is no possible way that 30 teams report to camp with the goal of winning the Stanley Cup. The goal of each team at the beginning of the season is very different. For some teams, just making the playoffs is the goal. For others, nothing less than a deep playoff run will be deemed a success. For rebuilding teams, ingraining work ethic, culture, developing players, and jut getting reps in is the goal for the season. It's not all about wins and losses for everyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    No, that's your definition of it. By your definition, any team that doesn't spend to the cap is tanking, because they aren't doing as much as they possibly can to win.

    Your perspective on rebuilding (which you call tanking) is skewed. When you tank, your goal is to lose games. That's at the forefront of your plan. When you rebuild, you accept that you will have a young and inexperienced team that is still developing, and the byproduct of that is losing.

    There is no possible way that 30 teams report to camp with the goal of winning the Stanley Cup. The goal of each team at the beginning of the season is very different. For some teams, just making the playoffs is the goal. For others, nothing less than a deep playoff run will be deemed a success. For rebuilding teams, ingraining work ethic, culture, developing players, and jut getting reps in is the goal for the season. It's not all about wins and losses for everyone.
    No, by my definition, any team that significantly spends under their normal budget while trading away useful players for picks and prospects is tanking. Edmonton, for instance, was tanking, but then was just poorly managed for a while. The net result was the same (lottery picks), but the intent was different. If you choose to field a less capable team than you can because you realize your chance of full filling your organizational goals are almost nonexistent (be it to win a Cup or simply to make the playoffs), you are tanking.

    The Toronto Maple Leafs are tanking right now. They've always been a cap ceiling team, yet right now, with the meat of free agency over and mostly scraps left to pick, they have 22 players signed and still around $8M in cap space and that includes dead cap space in a buyout and retained salary trade. Not to mention they traded their best player for picks and prospects.

    They determined their team was flawed and so they've decided it's better to lose in the near term and restock through the draft while ensuring their own draft picks will be more valuable by fielding a vastly inferior team than they need to.

    Nashville is a perfect example of a team that is not tanking, but is, a the moment, below the salary cap floor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    No, by my definition, any team that significantly spends under their normal budget while trading away useful players for picks and prospects is tanking. Edmonton, for instance, was tanking, but then was just poorly managed for a while. The net result was the same (lottery picks), but the intent was different. If you choose to field a less capable team than you can because you realize your chance of full filling your organizational goals are almost nonexistent (be it to win a Cup or simply to make the playoffs), you are tanking.

    The Toronto Maple Leafs are tanking right now. They've always been a cap ceiling team, yet right now, with the meat of free agency over and mostly scraps left to pick, they have 22 players signed and still around $8M in cap space and that includes dead cap space in a buyout and retained salary trade. Not to mention they traded their best player for picks and prospects.

    They determined their team was flawed and so they've decided it's better to lose in the near term and restock through the draft while ensuring their own draft picks will be more valuable by fielding a vastly inferior team than they need to.
    That's not tanking. That's rebuilding.

    What you're suggesting is that they should go out and spend money on all the wrong UFAs just because they can, otherwise they are intentionally trying to lose. That's just flat out false.

    If a cap team determines that they don't have the right mix of players, trade some away for futures, realizes that none of the UFAs are going to help them, so they keep their checkbook in their pocket on July 1st, that is simply in no way, shape or form tanking.

    Tanking means the goal is to lose, for whatever reason. Tanking is what Buffalo did this year...Because then they traded a ton for Kane when they knew he couldn't play for them that year, and then they threw a ton of money at ROR. They could have tried to sign some UFAs last year. They signed just enough to be shitty. And they have money to burn.

    Rebuilding means losing is a byproduct of the rebuild. The goal isn't to lose, the goal is to build the right team. That's what Toronto is trying to do, and if they lose in the meantime, so be it.

    Tanking: We want to lose to get a great draftpick. <- Intent
    Rebuilding: We will deal with losing while we build the right team. <- Byproduct

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post

    That's not tanking. That's rebuilding.

    What you're suggesting is that they should go out and spend money on all the wrong UFAs just because they can, otherwise they are intentionally trying to lose. That's just flat out false.

    If a cap team determines that they don't have the right mix of players, trade some away for futures, realizes that none of the UFAs are going to help them, so they keep their checkbook in their pocket on July 1st, that is simply in no way, shape or form tanking.

    Tanking means the goal is to lose, for whatever reason. Tanking is what Buffalo did this year...Because then they traded a ton for Kane when they knew he couldn't play for them that year, and then they threw a ton of money at ROR. They could have tried to sign some UFAs last year. They signed just enough to be shitty. And they have money to burn.

    Rebuilding means losing is a byproduct of the rebuild. The goal isn't to lose, the goal is to build the right team. That's what Toronto is trying to do, and if they lose in the meantime, so be it.

    Tanking: We want to lose to get a great draftpick. <- Intent
    Rebuilding: We will deal with losing while we build the right team. <- Byproduct
    That's just it. The UFAs they could potentionally sign could help them. They could trade a guy like Kessel and get someone back that helps them be more competitive now. Look at what Columbus did with Nash or what we did with Gaborik. The Leafs could have made a similar type trade. They didn't though. Because right now they want a terrible team. They want to fail to get higher draft picks. Because they are tanking.

    The rebuild starts after they have the assets from tanking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    That's just it. The UFAs they could potentionally sign could help them. They could trade a guy like Kessel and get someone back that helps them be more competitive now. Look at what Columbus did with Nash or what we did with Gaborik. The Leafs could have made a similar type trade. They didn't though. Because right now they want a terrible team. They want to fail to get higher draft picks. Because they are tanking.

    The rebuild starts after they have the assets from tanking.
    Help them do what? "Compete"...? So they should sign guys to long term deals for big money just so they won't be bad? That makes no sense whatsoever.

    By your logic, any team that isn't spending to the cap and that makes responsible personnel decisions is tanking. Because you can always spend more.

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