Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

All-Star Ballots: Do NOT vote for these guys

(Author’s note: the top graphic in the photo is one of my favorite Photoshops from Hodge at Waiting for Stanley, a true graphics guru.)

Now’s about the time when a lot of bloggers get political, and tell you why their team's guy(s) should be getting your All-star vote. Well, I’m here to tell you the opposite. Stop voting for Ducks.

Now I don’t know if there’s much I can do about the Niederpronger “Twins”, as really, they are celebrities in this league and whether I like it or not, they will be on the western team. But Giguere? McDonald? Selanne? These guys are more on the fringe, so perhaps I can actually dissuade some votes. Don’t vote for them, especially you rare-breed Duck fans.

“But Sleek, why are you against Anaheim representation at the All-Star Game?”

a) It’s pointless. At this point the Ducks have bigger aspirations than participating or winning in an All-Star game. At this point, I would think a few days off would be more beneficial than a silly promo game.

b) Other than the d-men and possibly Giguere, they don’t deserve it. Currently Selanne is sitting 42nd in overall scoring and McDonald 108th. Even Giguere, after his bad outing, dropped to 8th in GAA and 10th in sv%, meaning that there are 6 or 7 better statistical goalies to select in the west.

c) Most importantly, both Selanne and Giguere are headed for unrestricted free agency after this year. What good is it for the Ducks to have these guys chosen as all-stars in a salary-cap environment? Really, it’s just another excuse to drive up the offseason signing price. The problem in this league with “feathers in your cap” is later, you have to pay for them.

In fact, the real theme of this post is to talk about individual success vs. team success. While individual success is nice (say, a scoring title or an all-start bid), a franchise will have to pay a player for these individual accomplishments, whether they bring a team to the playoffs or not.

That’s why I’m so excited about Anaheim’s W-L record thus far, because it is being done without scoring leaders. Despite being the 4th best offense in the league (and best in the west), there is no point-a-game player on the team. Selanne’s 42nd-best 17 points leads the team.

Compare this to other teams: Carolina has five players outscoring Selanne, Buffalo and the Rangers each have four, and Atlanta, San Jose, Toronto, and Washington each have three. What does this mean? Well, when it comes time to re-sign these rosters, which will be the cheapest?

I got nothing against scoring leaders per se, but we should keep in mind the ever-looming salary cap. Franchises with league leaders on their rosters will have more difficulty keeping the team intact, as all-stars negotiating contracts get to use other all-stars as comparables. What teams stand a better chance of keeping their rosters together? Well, look to Anaheim—those that can score goals without putting any of their players in the scoring race. Long term, it’s a cheaper way of producing a winner.

Side note: To date, the eastern conference has scored 840 goals, compared to the western conference’s 718. That’s a huge disparity, and to tell you the truth, I think eastern teams are generally going to have to pay bigger premiums later for their higher-scoring superstars than the lower-scoring superstars in the west. It’s a weird disparity, but as a guy concerned about future salaries, I’d rather be on the lower-end side of that scale.

One last paradox of success is the NHL trophy race, as tracked by Mirtle. Looking at his votes, does Pittsburgh really want Malkin winning the Calder trophy? What will that cost them later? Or does Atlanta really want a Hart trophy for Hossa? What will that cost them later? Is it worth it for a team to have a trophy winner any more, especially if that person will be coming up for contract negotiation in the near future?

It’s a weird environment to think about how a player performs today will affect what you pay him tomorrow, but that is in fact the reality of our new league. Especially teams that are smaller-market should be paying attention to Anaheim’s current team model: how to win games without making any of your soon-to-be-free-agents into superstars.

Thank god Niedermayer and Pronger have their salaries locked in long-term, or I’d really have to start an anti-Norris Trophy campaign.

p.s. Jeez I'm getting preachy lately, aren't I?


Hodge said...

Hey, Guru = Superstar, and I'm heading into free agency. Zanstorm will never be able to afford my services next year. lol

Anonymous said...

I couldn't disagree more, the contract is going to be based on his numbers of that year, the numbers aren't going to change if he was on the all star team or not, it's just if he was all star calliber, so if they are going to have good numbers then they might as well make the all star team because it's not going to make a difference. soon your going to be saying that we don't want our players to be scoring goals or playing well becuase in the future that "might raise their price tag." yeah well thats how things are, you pay a player for what he is worth and I would rather have a bunch of good players worth alot of money than your alternative sleek.

VeryProudofYa said...

When they mention people for the hall of fame, or when they look back on great careers, you always. ALWAYS. Hear them mention how many all-star selection were made for that player. It IS a big stamp for a player, and he could make more demands because of it.

Because at the end of the year, he can look at what another comparable player made that didn't make the all-star team and say, "Look, I'm worth than that guy, I made the all-star team. Only 5 other players made it onto the starter team, and I was judged to be one of the top 6 players in the entire conference" Of course it'll drive up the contract price.

Earl Sleek said...

soon your going to be saying that we don't want our players to be scoring goals or playing well becuase in the future that "might raise their price tag." yeah well thats how things are, you pay a player for what he is worth and I would rather have a bunch of good players worth alot of money than your alternative sleek.

It's not that I don't want players playing well, but frankly, to be a scoring leader makes it tough to hold teams together. It might be more worth it if scoring leaders meant team success, but look at guys like Crosby or Ovechkin.

Lots of points, lots of money coming, and two teams that were the suck of the league last year.

Might it not have been better, in a financial sense, had they scored less but the teams got better?

At any rate, look at the Ducks vs. the Thrashers. Both teams are winning plenty, but one team has three of the top four scorers and an early Hart candidate. That will be pricy. I'd rather have the results without the "flash", frankly.

And as to the original point (All-Star game), sure maybe it won't have a huge salary implication, but what's the real benefit? Playing a game in the middle of the schedule that won't count for anything?


Charity said...

*scowling* do you always have to make sense? I'm still voting for them anyway... hahaha.

Doogie2K said...

Too late. I already voted for the Norris Twins.

(Bwah ha ha ha ha!)

Bartcal said...

Ok, even I, a hardcore Sharks fan voted for some of your Duck's D-line. (Of course,I voted for more Sharks, but that's just to be expected ;)

VeryProudofYa said...

You should organize an uprising of people to utilize the write-in option, and get Sammy on the All-star team.


Anonymous said...

too late, voted eveyday so far for the Ducks

Earl Sleek said...

That's OK; your vote doesn't matter anyway.

Anonymous said...

Earl, I think you're worried too much about nothing. All-Star or no, Jiggy is going to get mucho dinero on the free agent market, All-Star game or no. I think Teemu will renegotiate with the Ducks depending on how much he thinks he's worth, All-Star or no. We got a nice bargain from him this year after a 40-goal (very all-star worthy) campaign. It's probably only going down from here on out. Andy Mac doesn't have a prayer in hell of making the team. At this point, Kunitz is more likely (of being selected, not being voted in).