Cap Anxiety

NHL Free agency is just days away, so it’s time to prepare yourselves for disappointment. That’s not to say Ken Holland won’t have a good summer or that the Wings won’t be able to fill all of our perceived holes. When I say to prepare yourself for disappointment, I mean someone is going to get paid more than what you want them to and you’ll probably experience what I like to call “cap anxiety.” (I just made that up. I like it, though. I think I’ll put it in the title. Note to self: put that in the title. Also: delete this note so you don’t look like an amateur.)

More after the jump:

Cap anxiety is that feeling you get when you realize your team doesn’t have much space to work with even though their roster might be complete for the year. “What about the trade deadline?” “What about next year when we also have to resign so-and-so?” Cap anxiety. Think back to 2001. When Holland signed Hasek and Robitaille and then added Hull later on, did you think “How can the Wings possibly afford this!?” Probably not. I know I didn’t. In fact, I had no idea how much any of them were making back then. It’s a different time now, though.

Now we have fans who think this way: “I hope Datsyuk comes back and takes a pay cut for the good of the team.” Translation: “You’ve made enough money, Pav. Now take a $5,000,000 a year pay cut so as to ease my stress.” No matter who is resigned and for what price, you’ll see the following comment on Twitter or the comment section of hockey blogs: “Wow, that’s a bit much for Player X. Were they not thinking about the team’s cap situation when they signed that contract?” I know I’ve used it before. Mostly when a rival signs a player or when we offer money to Mikael Samuelsson.

Before you suggest that the players are selfish for wanting as much as they can get, think about what you’re asking of them. “Please take a pay cut so that our GM can offer that money to other players. That way I’ll have even more fun watching my team play.” Unlikely. We only see them for 2.5-3 hours a few nights per week. When they finish their game, they have bills to pay and retirements to plan for. Some guys run small businesses or have clothing lines. Others invest in real estate. Point is, they’re about as likely to take a pay cut for the benefit of their consumers as you are to benefit yours.

I said all that to say this: Vincent Lecavalier might be a Red Wing in the next few days. Brunner might resign here. Both of them are going to get paid as much as they possibly can and it’s up to Ken Holland to make it work. And as a bonus to help you relieve some of the cap anxiety, I’ve included a few tips that have helped me along the way:

1. Even if Holland offers someone an insane contract, we now have two Bertuzzi’s available to mysteriously keep them on LTIR.

7. There are no NHL teams in Switzerland, so if we lose Brunner it won’t be for that mind-numbingly irritating reason.

9. Most of the top UFAs this year are left-handed shots, so Ken Holland will not rest until he has acquired them.

10. We’re not the Flames.

12. We’ve got a full roster, $10 million in space and both compliance buyouts still.

19. Mikael Samuelsson isn’t a UFA this year so Holland can’t resign him!