"Anything you can do, I can do... worse"

So Kevin Lowe and Darcy Regier have hijacked this off-season and seem to be playing a classic game of oneupmanship, except they are trying to show up each other's complete incompetence.

Apparently Lowe offered a 7-year $50M contract to Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres. While that number is only slightly absurd (he's an excellent young unproven player). The really bizarre (and by bizarre I mean completely utterly insane) part is that since Vanek is a restricted Free Agent the Oilers would have had to deal Buffalo 4 first round draft picks as well as pay Vanek an average of $7.14M for the next seven years. Considering Edmonton is likely to suck big time for the next 4 years this would pretty much set Buffalo up for the next decade or so, meaning in about 5 years they would start to resemble the new Penguins.

Luckily, for the Oilers, Buffalo GM Darcy Regier completely bailed Lowe out and matched the offer, meaning he turned down 4 first round draft picks from a crappy team to pay one player, and here's the key point, more than he offered either of his co-captains. The good news for Oilers fans is that Regier saved the Oilers from giving away 4 first round draft choices, the bad news is.. Kevin Lowe is probably going to be doing the drafting.

From here on out any "The big market teams are outspending us again WAAAAHHHH" talk just has to stop. Both these markets, the poster children for small-market disadvantaged franchises, were willing to give up both more money AND 4 first round draft picks than they were willing to offer their former captains.

So if we're keeping score, Edmonton has:
* Could have locked up Ryan Smyth for as low as $5.25M/year (give or take $100k).
* Bad-mouthed him on his way out of town
* Cried about being small-market
* loses out on almost every decent free agent blaming, among other things, Edmonton's location.
* Misses out on Nylander because the agent pulled the ol' "yeah he'll sign the papers in the morning" trick.
* Then offered a $50M/7-year contract, and 4 draft choices for a very nice young player.

And Buffalo:
* Could have locked up Drury for $21.5M/4-year, but forgot to send him the contract
* Didn't negotiate with either Co-Captain much before free agency
* Cried about being small-market saying (Paraphrased from NHL Fanhouse:) " Regier said the other day that he and other GM's were being punished by this system for drafting and developing good talent"
* Matched a contract offer that was well over what it would have cost to sign Drury during the season (less per year than what the Ranger's signed Drury for BTM), PLUS 4 first round draft picks from a team likely to be in the basement.

I'm getting tired of every time a "small-market" team loses a player to free agency they whine about being small market. Both these franchises obviously had the money necessary to sign a player, but for whatever reason chose not to. But lets stop the "It's cause we're small market excuse" and start telling the truth. "We don't think his performance over the next few years will be worth that kind of money. We would prefer to invest it elsewhere." Maybe the reason these two clubs can't sign Free Agents is because of good ol' fashioned Incompetence.


  1. Seriously, we need to get the word out. I just read the same "We're small market, that's why we can't sign anybody" crap in one of my email newsletters about the NHL. IT even had some stupid diatribe about Edmonton not being a coastal city and that was why Drury and Gomez didn't want to sign there???

    The truth is the Sabres wanted their superstars on the cheap. The superstars disagreed. The Oilers wanted the ex-girlfriend back on the cheap, but they bad-mouthed him so much, he wouldn't take them back. Nobody wants to play in Montreal because of the taxes (supposedly) and the Isles can't sign anybody because they are the Isles and Garth Snow is the GM.

    The Flyers have a ton of cap room because they shed salary and talent last season like Elizabeth Taylor sheds husbands. They had 3 forwards and the equipment manager under contract for next season so the HAD to spend big to get players if they wanted to field a team. The Rangers have two superstars and a ton of role players. Now they are maxed out. Like you, DLS, ITCS, and others have said, the Avs have only spent what they spent last year, once bonuses, Turgeon and Breezy-by came off the books.

    Parity is there and the CBA is working so far. It's just that there are more whiners and poorly run franchises than there were two years ago. And really, are we going to rip up the CBA after two years? Forget about it...

  2. Yeah every one of those stories looks pretty absurd today after these two small market teams ponied up more dough for 1 player than pretty much every other team.

    Yet they will ignore that and still pitch that garbage.

  3. I'm thinking that "Kansas City Oilers" would make a pretty good team name.

  4. I am getting so sick of Kevin Lowe's complaining I'm not going to lie...he was well aware of the fact that the Sabres would match...UGH. And, I hope for the Sabres sake that this kid is as good for the rest of his contract as he was this past season.

  5. Lol see, I'm not sure the Oil ned to move, just clean house. I think they can make revenues, but the staff is too stuck in this "We're small market"tantrum and mentality

  6. Jibblescribbits....it scares me how we're in sync. Always a pleasure.

  7. I'm simply tired of people in hockey making the game a personal area for a vendetta to be carried out. In any case, Jibble, I've tagged you. Check out this blog for more info.


  8. 1) Nice run down on GM incompetance. The new CBA does NOT prevent trams from making dumb decisons
    2) Buffalo SHOULD hav elet Vanek go, BUT had to keep him after screwing up the Drury contract.
    3) Also, don't shed any tears for Buffalo. We would bet that the Sabres could have signed Vanek on a long term deal themeselves LONG before the Oilers even had a shot and probably saved millions.

  9. Hey, Jibble. I wrote my examination of the Avs today. Have a read if you like.