Need to shed some money to free up cap space? Have a big contract you regret? Why spend the time looking for a trade partner when you can just do what all the cool kids are doing and bury your managerial mistakes in the minors. It gives you the freedom to make bad deals, then have absolutely no repercussions if it doesn’t work out.
Find out how after the jump
Of course this is a win-win situation for everybody, isn’t it? I’m sure that the 34-year-old 2-time all-star defenseman Wade Redden wanted to finish his career playing for the Connecticut Whale. Yes, Redden still gets paid, but for most players pride is just as important. Years of hard work and dedication are thrown in the garbage because some poorly run team can get their mistake off the NHL books.
This is quickly becoming a problem, and if it doesn’t stop, quality players will have their career end prematurely due to the mistakes of team management. It wasn’t Reddens fault that the Rangers offered him $39M over 6 years, or that Jeff Finger took the $14M deal the Maple leafs offered after playing in only 93 games. Who will be next?
Armchair GM’s used to discuss ways of trading their problem contracts, now in every discussion you can bet there will be a few “just dump him in the AHL” comments thrown in there.
An increasing amount of NHL caliber talent is sitting in the AHL right now, simply because teams don’t want the above average cap hits on their roster. What happens when Ville Leino (currently 324th in the league) doesn’t live up to the hype of his $27M deal? Or if Brad Richards can’t handle the pressure of playing on Broadway while being the highest paid player in the NHL? (He currently sits in 65th place in scoring with 16 points)
The newest addition to this growing problem is everyone’s favorite rent-a-cup Hawks, who recently sent Rostislav Olesz down to the AHL. Olesz was due to make $3.4 million this season. He joins Cristobal Huet who was dumped last season somewhere in the Swiss Alps. Together the two make up a little over $9 million dollars worth of bad decisions that the hawks can now use to upgrade their team free and clear.
Teams need to be held accountable, they should honor the deals they offer even if it doesn’t exactly work out how they planned. Would you as a player on the open market trust a team like that? I know it would cross my mind. What if the Wings to sent Zetterberg to Grand Rapids for going on a 15-16 game slump, or since he hasn’t matched his 43 goal, 92 point season after signing a new deal?