For Shero, Less Is More
Let’s take a second to ponder some of the truly insane things that went on in the free-agent market today.
The Washington Capitals signed Joel Ward to a deal worth 3 million dollars per year.
Max Talbot will be making 1.9 million dollars per year in Philadelphia.
The Avalanche traded a first round pick to the Capitals in exchange for a goaltender that has not done a single thing worthy of a first round pick and isn’t even a lock to play in North America next season.
And if that wasn’t enough, someone out there in hockey land is about to pay Brad Richards an insane amount of money in a deal that will barely pass the NHL board of governors CBA standards. I’m talking one of those 9 year, 70 million dollar deals that’s front-loaded so Richards is making somewhere in the realm of the U.S. national debt next season.
In times like these, it makes me thankful to have a general manager like Ray Shero.
The Penguins adopted a more-is-less strategy on day one of the free-agent frenzy, and that might be a good thing. Shero himself said this isn’t the type of market you want to be in, and rightfully so. Overpayment was the theme of the day as teams scrambled to nab talent from a fairly weak pool of players.
When the dust settled, the Penguins had re-upped Tyler Kennedy and added former 30 goal-scorer Steve Sullivan to the mix, deals that totaled 3.5 million dollars.
That’s .2 million dollars more than Jaromir Jagr will make in Philadelphia next season.
And what about the former Penguins that hit the free-agent market?
Try and wrap your brains around this one, folks. Max Talbot will make 1.9 million dollars next year and Mike Rupp will make 1.5 with the Rangers.
To give you some perspective here, let’s compare these deals to that of Pascal Dupuis.
Dupuis has netted 17 goals and 37 points last year playing in various roles throughout the season. He’s a staunch defensive presence and is an excellent asset to the penalty-kill. While he may not fit in perfectly with Kunitz and Crosby on the top line, he’s more than serviceable there and did a great job this season plugging in when injuries rendered our top forwards inactive.
By comparision, Talbot has registered only 12 goals in the past two seasons and was by-and-large invisible after his performance in the Cup finals in 2008/09.
Mike Rupp, who plays little to no role in the special teams department, netted only 17 points last year, plays short minutes, and somehow managed to be a -4 in his last season with the Penguins.
How much more do you appreciate Ray Shero having read that information?
The Penguins steered clear of nightmare deals and solidified two guys that, barring any unforseen incidents, should score 20 goals next year in their various roles.
Meanwhile, and I only want to mention this in passing because the subject of these next few sentences really isn’t even worth my time, the Flyers ended up the victors in the Jaromir Jagr fiasco.
The kudos to Shero (and Detroit GM Ken Holland) come for withdrawing his offer to Jagr approximately 30 minutes before the feeding frenzy began, allowing the GM to direct his efforts elsewhere.
Shero was quoted as saying he never intended to get into a bidding war over Jaromir Jagr.
The reason Shero never intended to get into a bidding war was because Jagr made statements that again proved to be empty and as immature as ever.
What we learned is that Jaromir Jagr is still money hungry, still immature, and still a pathological liar.
It wasn’t but two years ago when Jagr spoke with media overseas and swore his hockey career over to Mario Lemieux, stating that he’d glady accept the league minimum to return to the city of Pittsburgh, where his heart remained.
Shero and Lemieux, who spoke with Jagr directly, actually did one better. They offered him a modest deal at 2 million dollars, a chance to return to the city that drafted him and repair the image that so many fans were left with; the “dying alive” Jaromir Jagr.
Instead of watching a storybook ending play out, we saw Jagr sign with cross-state rivals for approximately 1.3 million dollars more than the Penguins offered.
So, apparantly, that’s the asking price of a legacy.
If Jagr thought he was treated with hostility before, the Flyers first trip to CONSOL this year might require added security by the benches.
Whatever the case, there was absolutely no way that Ray Shero was going to pay 3+ million for a 40 year old winger that hasn’t played in the NHL for 3 years. But good for Jagr, he ends up with a team that features Max Talbot as the second line center in a city that’s a mere hour away from Atlantic City.
One more reason, among many, to be thankful that we have Ray Shero behind the reigns.