Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Detroit Red Wings - The Template of a Successful Franchise

The Detroit Red Wings have been a template of a successful NHL franchise. Dominance in the win-loss category over the past 15 years, exceptional scouting, and a strong desire by players to play for the franchise. GM Ken Holland has done a masterful job negotiating contracts. There are quite a number of players significantly overperforming their contract's cap hit.

They include:

Kronwall, Niklas (3.000)
Zetterberg, Henrik (2.650)
Holmstrom, Tomas (2.250)
Samuelsson, Mikael (1.200)
Chelios, Chris (1.150)
Franzen, Johan (0.942)
Osgood, Chris (0.850)
Filppula, Valtteri (0.733)
Cleary, Daniel (0.662)

Of course many of these players will (already have) receive(d) significant raises in their next contract, but it's remarkable how none of these players are in their entry level contracts, when the window opportunity for ''bang-for-your-buck" is at its peak. I also have confidence in Holland to replenish that talent when one of these players prices himself out of Detroit.

Players like Cleary (2.800) and Osgood (1.417), Lidstrom (7.450), Draper (1.583) have recently signed extensions at very reasonable dollars. One can argue all of these have potential for overperformance of the contract.

You can look at the entire cap list and find it difficult to locate an overpaid contract. Perhaps Hasek, but that is for only 1 year. Rafalski may slow down by the end of the contract - but we'll see. Other than that however, this is an astute job by GM Ken Holland.

What inspired me to look closely at Detroit's situation?

Recent rumblings by Robin Brownlee, who posts on the Oilersnation blog (link on right), suggest Curtis Glencross is asking in the neighborhood of $2M. Can't say I don't like the player - he provides energy, hits, and has improved his scoring touch over the past few years. Yet, Kevin Lowe must exercise skeptism in this case, given the fact Curtis boasted a 22% shooting percentage in Edmonton, wasn't a full-time NHLer in Columbus, and played very soft minutes pn the 4th line. Anywhere near the 1.5M range and the Oilers aren't getting a player who will likely overperform his contract. With this topic on the table, how do the Oilers fare in terms of getting value from their contracts?

Let's examine closely to next year's cap situation.

Overperforming Contracts
Hemsky, Ales (4.100)
Horcoff, Shawn (3.600)
Gagner, Sam (1.625) - Entry Level Contract
Cogliano, Andrew (1.133) - Entry Level Contract
Stortini, Zack (0.534) - Entry Level Contract
Brodziak, Kyle (0.497)
Garon, Mathieu (1.100)

Reasonably Performing Contracts
Pisani, Fernando (2.500)
Reasoner, Marty (~1.00) - projected in next contract
Nilsson, Robert (2.000)
Staios, Steve (2.700)
Greene, Matt (1.150)
Grebeshkov, Denis (1.500)
Smid, Ladislav (.886) - Entry Level Contract

Underperforming Contracts
Penner, Dustin (4.250)
Torres, Raffi (2.250) - Slightly
Moreau, Ethan (2.000) - Slightly even when healthy
Souray, Sheldon (5.400)
Roy, Mathieu (0.500)
Roloson, Dwayne (3.667)

*Too early to tell:
(RFA's) Pouliot, Pitkanen, Stoll.
(UFA) Glencross
*Tempted to throw Gilbert in the underperforming contract for next season

Many of the overperforming contracts come in the form of rookie contracts. Horcoff and Garon becomes less of a bargain in their next contract. Likewise, as good of a player Pitkanen is, he'll be getting reasonably paid in his next contract, and like Gilbert's contract, it will be of the ''pay for potential'' variety. On the flip side of the coin, Roloson and Roy will cease to be in the underperforming list when their contracts expire next summer. It's also probably not fair to include Penner, since it was REQUIRED to overpay to obtain him.

In Summary, Kevin Lowe has done an OK job negotiating contracts.

But, he's no Ken Holland.

1 comment:

Mac said...

When you say the word 'Franchise', most people immediately think of business-based franchises like those that are top listed in popular business magazines every year. But, it is important to remember that there are hundreds and thousands of franchises out there, some that are spectacularly successful, others that are total failures. Obviously, you want to avoid the latter.

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