The hockey season is so far away, and even the offseason has started to slow to a crawl. Some teams are still scrambling to put together deals for the few big name talents out there, some teams are hemorrhaging money like a hemophiliac piggy bank. Here are this week’s highlights from around the league:
Semin Stays in North America, Gets Ridiculously Overpaid
It has finally happened, someone rolled the dice on Alexander Semin. I predicted someone would, but I also thought he was looking at a pay cut, and boy was I wrong. The Carolina Hurricanes signed him to a 1-year, $7 million dollar contract. I understand the ‘Canes want to make a move that will give them that little push they need to break into the postseason, but this was a bad move. Thankfully this mistake will only last them a season.
His cap hit is going to be more than certain people with names like Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, or Jonathan Quick which is just absurd for a player who will notch maybe 50 points this season. Semin’s point totals have dropped for the last three years, he takes shifts off, has had motivation problems, and has been called a ‘coaches nightmare’ by Dale Hunter. If Semin had motivation problems in Washington playing alongside fellow countrymen and superstar Alex Ovechkin, how is he going to fare playing for a team with much less depth and talent?
Shea Weber is Officially Worth More Than the Team He Plays for
Now there are plenty of players out there who outshine their own team (Rick Nash, Jarome Inginla, Steven Stamkos) , but none can say they cost more than their franchise’s founding. Unless of course you’re Shea Weber. In 1998 the Nashville Predators spent $80 million dollars to join the NHL. Think about that when you look at Shea Weber’s new contract of $110 million dollars for 14 freaking years!
That is the second longest contract currently in the NHL, one year shy of the super bust Rick Dipietro. I understand that under no circumstances could the Nashville Predators let Shea Weber jump ship like Ryan Suter, even if he wanted to. Weber is their captain, and face of the franchise, if he would have ran off to Philly like almost everyone thought he was going to the Predators would have become irrelevant as a NHL team and their already small fan base would have ran off.
Preds GM David Polie vowed that they would match any offer for Weber, when the Flyers offered the original 14-year, $110 million dollar sheet the Preds office went quiet. It took an entire week (and the last day they were able to make an offer) for Polie to step forward and open up his checkbook, even though the team is already dangerously close to bankruptcy.
Even if Weber becomes the next Nick Lindstrom, he is going to need a team to work with to bring wins to Nashville, and right now that is not at all what he has in front of him.
Winnipeg Jets are the NHL’s Detroit Lions
If you can’t herald your return to the NHL with a playoff appearance, you might as well make the police blotter. That was the team effort the Jets put forward this offseason. First it was defenceman Dustin Byfuglien who managed to get arrested for operating a boat while drunk off his ass on Lake Minnetonka (10 points if you remember the Chappelle’s Show joke).
Then fresh off signing his new contract worth millions of dollars, starting net minder Ondrej Pavelec was arrested in his native Czech Republic with a blood alcohol content of 0.2 (yes you read that correctly) in his brand new BMW M6. Thanks to this well thought out decision, he isn’t allowed to drive for 20 months, though at least wasn’t banned from drinking. At the very least, the Jets lead the league in players facing DUI charges, so congratulations on that one guys!
I guess that’s what $19 million gets you. Good luck this season Winnipeg!
Shane Doan Surprises no one, Still Free Agent
Rumors abound, though he has yet to sign with anyone. Doan is obviously still waiting for an offer from the Coyotes, the only franchise he has ever played with. He is the face and heart of the team and led them past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history this past season. If the Coyotes don’t re-sign him expect the 10 or 20 people who watch their games to be effectively cut in half.
Now Doan is getting up there in the years, and has yet to really have a chance at a championship ring while playing in Phoenix, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that he is looking for a team in contention with an open checkbook. His agent has stated Doan wants a 4-year, $30 million deal, which is a big commitment for a guy who will turn 36 before the start of the season.
Is he making that demand to scare off teams that aren’t the Coyotes? Doubtful. The ongoing ownership issues in Phoenix have to be at the forefront of his choice to tempt the open market and I’m sure he is sick of being on a team in constant limbo.
He gave Coyotes owner Greg Jamison until the 27th to make progress on his deal, and that date has since passed, and Doan has yet to sign with anyone. Only time will tell what game is being played here, and who will come out on top.
Rick Nash Escapes Columbus
Finally, the trade has happened. After five long months of talking and asking for a price no one on earth would pay, Blue Jackets’ GM Scott Howson got a return people are laughing at for the face of his team and the only real star the Blue Jackets’ have ever had.
Nash has headed to the New York Rangers in return for Brandon Dubinsky, Arten Anisimov, and Tim Erixon. Seem like a good deal to you? Yeah didn’t think so. With this trade the Rangers are again included in talks about next year’s Stanley Cup, and by losing Nash, the Blue Jackets have all but guaranteed they will disappoint their fan base (That was a good one right?) and end up at the bottom of the division once again.
It also shows the Jackets need to go into a full rebuild phase, which is something they never really got over since debuting in the league 12 years ago. Hopefully for the sake of the NHL and hockey in general Howson, can figure out how to put together a team for once, and maybe add a few games to the wins column while he’s at it.
Joe Kassabian is a contributor for Outside the Redzone. Follow him on Twitter @jkass9966