THE BLUELINE REPORT
The revelation this week that the Buffalo Sabres are indeed the team that has offered Shane Doan a massive four year, $30 million contract is not a surprise at all to those following the situation closely, as it’s been widely believed for weeks that the Sabres were the team with the insane offer to the soon to be 36 year old. The offer was made in mid July, so it’s not like the offer is suddenly a game changer in the Doan situation but looking at the bigger picture, the ridiculous offer put forth by Sabres management is another example that having a rich owner in Terry Pegula who is willing to spend big bucks, doesn’t mean Sabres management has learned to spend wisely after being cautious spenders in the past.
Pegula is great for the organization and has given the Sabres fan base a sense of security that they can compete financially with the big market teams but this is a non playoff team that has taken on and given some notable bad contacts since management has been given the green light to spend big and chase premier free agents.
Buffalo though is not an ideal destination for top free agents, and have been relegated to overspend for mid-tier players, highlighted by trading for Brad Boyes bloated $4 million a year salary in February 2011 and last years signing of Ville Leino to a six year, $27 million contract that included $9 million in signing bonuses in the first two years of the deal and Leino scheduled to earn $12 million during that span.
After dishing out $67 million to free agents Leino and Christian Ehroff last July, it’s been a quieter summer for the Sabres, well for only one reason in that Shane Doan hasn’t accepted their cap suicide offer to this point.
1. I’m not big on predictions for the upcoming season just yet but my No. 2 team after the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference in a power ranking scenario would be the Boston Bruins right now who I feel are destined for a big season with a healthy Nathan Horton, Tuukka Rask taking over No. 1 duties and Dougie Hamilton joining the blueline.
2. CBA talks were cancelled on Wednesday after a brief meeting in the morning between the top guns from both sides. Negotiations will resume on Thursday and the logjam will continue until one side caves on the issue of revenue sharing. To be easily put, the players want the wealthy teams to take the burden while the league wants to increase revenue sharing from last years $150 million mark to around $190 million but not at the expense of the wealthy teams (like in the players proposal that calls for $240 million in revenue sharing, placing burden on wealthy teams) but at the players expense of coming down to a more 50-50 split that the NBA and NFL has adopted and the players revenue percentage staying at one number, not increasing like the players proposal last week. Each percentage point of revenue is so important because it’s reportedly worth more than $30 million. As Kevin Allen of the USA Today pointed out earlier this week, if a 50-50 split were established, an additional $210 million would go to teams each year. My feeling on the situation hasn’t changed in that the players are going to have to be the ones to cave for any progress to start happening.
3. The Edmonton Oilers signed forward Taylor Hall to a seven year, $42 million contract extension on Wednesday. In his second season, the 2010 first overall pick had 27 goals and 26 assists in 61 games. The Oilers still in rebuilding mode, ranked 29th in the NHL last season with a 32-40-10 record and have not been fortunate like some young teams with star talent in the past coming up at the same time who were able to emerge as a Cup contender with the bulk of their core players still on their entry level contracts. The Penguins are a great example of that, where they reached the Cup finals in 2008 with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal all on their entry level deals and Pittsburgh won the Stanley Cup in 2009 with Malkin and Staal still on their entry level deals.
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