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Thursday, September 14, 2006

An Unwritten Rule, But For How Long?

Matt did a good job by talking and sniffing through his sources. Of course, messing with other's teams RFA's is bad. It's like a 20 year old who tries to steal candy from a baby, no?

Maybe the new CBA will change that. Why? Because I think that, under the old system, this unwritten rule was followed to assure a "balance of power" between the large and the small market teams. Without a cap, those small markets were always, money wise, in trouble. So, when they had a franchise player who can make them competitive or contend for the cup, it helped the team financially. But more important, it was the only way for Edmonton or Calgary to compete against the Rangers or the Red Wings. Those teams who had, at time, unlimited ressources to add quality players to their roster. The league wanted parity. Everyone had to believe that they had a chance to win, an NFL like system. Of course, it didn't work, at all.

With a cap, it's almost everyone's ball game. Every team is at 44 million and have to decide where and when they will spend that amount. This system is made to build parity around the league and we can see a bit of those fruits right now (Chara, Dumont, Savard play in another city this year). Of course, that parity is buildomg essentially on the free agent market, for now. But it will becomes a time where the system will be assimiliated by the teams and that will lead, ultimately, to a better "farm product system". Teams will have to produce their own stars. Some will be good at it, some will not. So with a cap system, there's no really an issue to go elsewhere and try an offer sheet because everyone is under the same rule and there's no guaranties that this particular team will be able to sign the player. Look at New Jersey, they are the best exemple of a mismanagement (it was the first year so we will be easy on sweet Lou) under the new CBA. They will have to trade to be able to keep the team they want. It will change, in two or three years, when all the teams will be able to compete. The temptation to win big faster will be too strong. And the tempation will be stronger if your team is at one player to win it all. This cap era forced organizations to have to the mentality to win now.

Eventually, expect someone to pull the trigger. Maybe not this year or the next one. But it will sure happend since the old unwritten was made for the old system. NHL enter into a new era where it will be, every men for himself...


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