Archive for July 2009

Methot to Arbitration

Columbus defensemen Marc Methot has filed for salary arbitration, as reported by multiple sources over the last day.  This is a very normal trend for unsigned RFAs and typically those who file for arbitration are able to reach an agreement with their team long before the date of their arbitration hearing.

Columbus fans should be confident that his number will not be that substantial, considering his role on the team last year.  Not only was he benched at times for arguably better players, he rarely moved past the position of 5/6 defender.
I can hardly anticipate this will be any sort of cut throat negotiations between the team and Methot, and I definitely think this will get done before the hearing.
Carry the Flag!

Nash Signed..

Expectedly, over the last couple of days, I have taken some serious heat from reputable (at least in the spectrum of my life) Blue Jackets fans over my hard nosed opinion of the value of Rick Nash.  While I fully anticipated the flak I would receive, what I did not expect, was the way in which it was received.

I do believe they overpaid him.  Based on a number of contracts currently in the NHL, Nash could have easily signed a contract for 1-1.5 million dollars less and been comfortable knowing he was in good company at that salary.  It is rather hard to argue that statement, considering it is a fact throughout the NHL.  I also will not ignore the fact that based on a clearly inflated ‘fair market value’ system spewing around the NHL right now, Ricky boy could have easily scored closer to 10 million with a team he had zero history with.  Again, my opinion rests solely on the home discount I believe he should have accepted (and others CLEARLY have) in order to see Columbus succeed not this year, not necessarily next year, but the years following.
What IS true in all of this, is that Rick Nash is to Columbus what Gretzky was to hockey in the United States after his move to Los Angeles.  Nash has had a number of highlights that have single handedly made fans out of naysayers in that city, and his legacy as a Jacket will be long standing within the organization and fanbase for the foreseeable future.  I never once questioned his talent, and am fully aware that he remains the best player on this hockey team, although I absolutely have and will question whether one of Columbus’ prospects will eclipse him prior to or directly after their next contracts come.
My main issue with the last couple days was the way he slapped the organization in the face after the first offer.  Yes, it was 100% a reactionary decision by Nash, and likely one that was spoon fed by his agent to really shake up the negotiation process, but it does not bode well as the captain of Columbus, nor should it in the eyes of every fan who had to deal with what players like adam foote did to the organization.  It was a big red flag for me, one that I will not soon forget when thinking about what Nash has done for this team, and no, I am most certainly not ignoring what he has done for the community as well.
I hope this provides some clarity into my reasoning.  There is absolutely no question that I value Rick as a part of this hockey team, and I do believe that he is a big piece of the puzzle when talking about going deeper into the playoffs, but for me, I feel that he could have given the organization a break when dealing with him, although, based on some of their more recent contracts, they overpay for pretty much everyone (see RJ, Commodore, Huselius)
Carry the Flag!

Nash and His “Reaction”

Most everyone knows at this point about the contract offer sent by Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson to all-star captain Rick Nash.  Most also know, thanks to our friends at the Columbus Dispatch, that Nash was extremely vocal in dismissing the offer, suggesting that the going rate for a player of his caliber was substantially higher, and that if the offer was not adjusted to a reasonable number, he would have no issues heading to free agency next summer.

Let me begin my response by saying, simply, bad move Rick.
The first issue that arises here is his intent to vocally belittle Blue Jackets management.  I do not be they would come to the table with anything less than a reasonable number, as they suggested their main off season priority was signing Nash.  There are appropriate ways to interact with a hockey club as that team’s captain, and I believe we saw signs of adam foote in the way Rick acted Wednesday night.  He is not, nor will he ever be bigger than the team, and he needs to fully take that into account.
The second issue I have with his argument, is his source.  He is citing free agent signings that many fans are laughing at.  Gross overpayments are running rampant in the NHL, and Nash needs to understand that if he wants to play for a competitive hockey team, his salary must be comparable to those players who choose team over max dollar.  He can quote at least four contracts handed out on Wednesday that could value him in the 8-9 million dollar range, but frankly, that is only one side of it.
Consider the contracts of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, the Sedin twins, Mike Richards, and Ilya Kovalchuk.  These players are worth substantially higher contracts by “Free Agent Market Standards” but in reality, they remained with their original team at a contract that allows their team to sign other players and remain competitive.  The numbers of these palyers are easily comparable to Nash’s, and their contracts do not exceed 6-7 million per year.  If Howson is smart, he will offer Nash a lengthy contract somewhere in this range of 6-7 million, and hope Nash uses some common sense when responding for the second time.
My final issue is regarding where the team is headed.  Not only do the Jackets have to worry about RFA contracts of some of their best young talent over the next two years, they have to make sure the holes are filled around them.  Nash is their best player at the current moment, but that could quickly change with development of players like Brassard, Voracek, and Filatov.  Nash may believe he was the teams saving grace over the past 6 years, but frankly, things are changing quickly.