NTC/NMCs - Principle and Practice

Robert Cleave
July 07 2010 02:00AM

                                                      

One of the interesting bits of news from last week's shock signing of Olli Jokinen was the fact that the Flames had included a No-Movement Clause in the Finn's two year deal. Add in Alex Tanguay's NMC, and the Flames are in a position where 10 members of their current roster have at least some restriction on their movement.

That's currently the most in the NHL, and I suspect that most of you don't consider that development in a positive light.  

Before I discuss this further, I'll disclose some information up front. I currently work under a fairly lengthy collective agreement that has a good share of arcana littering the pages, although it's certainly a better-written document than the NHL CBA. That's not really much of an achievement, of course, because the NHL CBA is a mess to navigate, and not simply for us armchair non-lawyer types.

What I do recognize in the NHL's labour agreement are certain principles that are at the heart of many CBAs, and the NTC/NMCs that we see in the NHL have some comparables in certain labour agreements, including mine. With that noted, let's look at restrictions on player movements, and I'm going to look at this not so much as a fan, but as someone attempting to analyze the balance between employee rights and organizational needs.

I'll begin with the employee POV.

1. Seniority has its privileges: 

The concept of allowing a player some control over their movement as they accrue seniority isn't some NHL anomaly. I work for a national organization that routinely moves people on an involuntary basis with relatively short notice to some pretty unsavory places, but we do enjoy certain protections from that upset as we move along in our careers.

The current NHL CBA restricts the granting of NTC/NMCs until a player would have been originally eligible for UFA status, which means 7 years from the beginning of seniority accrual, so the same principle (and the same sort of time frame) is at work as in my field.

A NHL NTC/NMC isn't automatically granted, of course, so that's one difference between our respective worlds. I don't have a problem with the general concept of movement clauses, though, and I hope people recognize that most players that get them are pretty accomplished.

Whatever I might think about Olli Jokinen's place on the Flames or the specifics of the NMC he obtained in his new deal, it isn't like he's not worthy of being a NHL player, or that he hasn't had a career of some note. We aren't talking about a Jon Sim or Tim Jackman or Jed Ortmayer here, so there is at least some fashion of meritocracy at work.

2. Stability now:

From a employee POV, I noted with particular interest a theme that Alex Tanguay kept returning to in his interview with FAN960 last week. He mentioned how it would be easier to find a good place to live based on his own past knowledge of the city and how it seemed like a really good fit for his family.

Family issues are a major factor that older players often have to account for when they have career decisions to make. In a pretty famous case, and for whatever people might want to say about the way he left Edmonton, it's quite clear that the primary force driving Chris Pronger away from Shelbyville was an unhappy spouse.

It's something that I see in my working world all the time, and the money that hockey players make doesn't make that stuff disappear, no matter how much we might want it to as fans of our particular piece of laundry. To put it another way, I'm not sure I'd be that impressed if Murray Edwards took the Cal Nichols approach and advocated a player getting a divorce just so he'd want to stay in town.

Again, from a player POV, they do live a big chunk of their lives away from our scrutiny, and matters off-ice drive more of their decisions than we might care to admit. Beyond family matters, it's certainly possible that a player has begun to establish business relationships in a city, and moving might impair those relationships. NHL careers are short, so I'd applaud any player that was trying to set themselves for life away from the arena, and if staying in one particular location is part of the business plan, that's not a bad reason to seek that extra piece of mind.

So, from a player perspective, the rationale behind seeking a movement clause is pretty clear. From an organizational perspective, the reasons for granting them aren't as clear-cut.

It's easy, in fact, to argue that a team should never do it from a flexibility standpoint. So, why do they? 

1. Stability now (sort of):

There's nothing wrong with letting people know that your cornerstone players are going to be around for a while. Offering long-term deals and the perk of a movement clause to those players is part of the messaging that any business might engage in with its customers and any current or potential employees.

Who you offer those clauses to and how many of them you offer is a matter of acumen, and I'll get to the specifics of Calgary's situation at the end of this piece. Giving a NMC to Jarome Iginla wasn't exactly a bad thing, though, was it? It didn't act as an absolute guarantee that he'll retire a Flame, but it did suggest that things would have to get quite bad before he'd be sent away.

We might be approaching that point for any number of reasons, but his presence has been at the heart of whatever stability the franchise has enjoyed, and the club has certainly not been shy about using his enduring presence as both a marketing and player recruitment tool. Players and their representatives also notice which teams are willing to offer an extra inducement, and it isn't just Calgary that offers them up freely. Lou Lamoriello, often reputed to be some sort of evil genius, has 8 players on the current Devils roster with sort form of movement clause, and one might suspect if Kovalchuk signs there, that number will grow to 9. 

2. Salary Suppression:

This is a murky area since it's hard to put a fixed number to the savings, but there have been suggestions that a movement clause is often exchanged for a lower salary, which obviously helps the club in a cap world, at least initially.

It can certainly come back to bite a team if a player underperforms and won't waive, but the premise isn't without merit, and I might suggest that a modified NTC and a nice term kept Rene Bourque's compensation at a livable level. If he'd gone UFA in the current atmosphere, his actual value might have been a bit more than 3.3 million a year. In the case of Alex Tanguay, the NMC might have kept his price below 2 million. The loss of flexibility that a team trades to keep salaries lower is something I'll come back to in a bit, but as a tool for lowering certain players' compensation, a NTC/NMC has its place.

3. You don't operate in the market that you wish you did...

...but in the market that actually exists.

The current NHL labour landscape includes access to movement clauses for senior players, and absent a specific change in the CBA during the next negotiations, the availability of those clauses isn't about to end. The primary reason, in my opinion at least, that the Flames lead the league in movement clauses isn't merely because of some mental lapses on the part of the GM in specific negotiations.

It's also a by-product of the club's strategy of replenishing its player base via free agency and trades for established NHLers. In other words; older team = more NTC/NMCs. Detroit has 7, and their total is only that low a number because Nik Lidstrom will never be traded under any circumstances and Hank Zetterberg's contract rules out at least half the league on a financial basis because of the front-loaded nature of his deal.

In practical terms, they might as well have 9. Vancouver has 8. If the Hawks keep what's left of the core together, guys like Sharp, Seabrook and Bolland may well get clauses when they hit UFA status. It's just harder to avoid movement clauses with a mature roster. 

As I said earlier, the reasons for a team to offer a NTC/NMC are rarely as clear cut as the reasons behind a player's interest in acquiring one. From a management POV, I'd be a lot less concerned about NTCs than NMCs, and that would be especially true if I were running a well-heeled outfit like the Flames.

Being able to bury a contract in the minors isn't something that a GM should abuse, largely because that's a good way to become an ex-GM once the owner gets tired of setting fire to a large sum of perfectly useful money, but it's still a option that one might like to have available if need be. Sutter might well avail himself of that option with Staios and/or Kotalik this fall. If either had an NMC, the club would be in a much dicier spot than they currently are cap-wise.

Michael Nylander spent most of this past season in limbo precisely because he exercised his right to stay out of the minors. Whether that was the right move on his part is something worthy of discussion, but he did use a tool that had been willfully offered by the Capitals, so my sympathy level for George McPhee and Ted Leonsis has its limits.

At his point, a brief discussion of the most recent movement clauses handed out by the boss seems in order. As I mentioned earlier, I suspected that the combination of term and modified NTC helped to keep Rene Bourque's price tag lower, and I've seen nothing in the last week to make me feel otherwise. There weren't many worthwhile UFA forwards that actually made it to July 1st unsigned, so it seems reasonable to surmise that Bourque might have been a sought after player that could have received offers for more than 3.3 million a season. 

In contrast, Matt Stajan's modified NTC didn't seem to have much effect on lowering his contract compared to the market. Matthew Lombardi is an analogous player that got exactly the same salary without a NTC attached, which makes me think that while Sutter may or may not have overpaid when he extended Stajan, the NTC certainly didn't suppress the salary of the player. It was likely unnecessary in getting him signed.

Alex Tanguay's NMC is virtually irrelevant, IMO. He wouldn't go to the minors on a one year deal, and if he's good enough for teams to want to acquire him at the deadline, he'll likely be good enough that the Flames won't want to move him. It's cheap piece of mind for the Flames to offer, and it might have lowered his paycheque a few hundred K. No harm, no foul, as far as I'm concerned.

As always when the recent state of the Flames gets discussed, we have to talk about Olli Jokinen. I'm in accord with Kent's premise that Joker didn't exactly have a lot of leverage this summer, so the NMC seems like overkill. Again, I doubt that Joker would be buried in the minors this year, but next season might be a different matter.

Cynically, I suppose one might argue that Olli Jokinen's performance since leaving Florida acts as a de-facto limited NTC in its own right, of course. So, Bourque and Tanguay I'm good with, Stajan's isn't great but at least it isn't a full NMC, and Joker's will likely hurt more next season than this if it hurts at all, but I doubt I'd have offered it to him under the circumstances.

In fact, if I were a GM, I wouldn't offer NMCs unless I was dealing with a franchise player and by practical definition, teams only have one of those players at any one time. It's simply too restrictive to have 6 or 7 seven players that can't be moved or minor-ized without getting them to waive. I have less of an issue with NTCs that force players to submit a list of preferred destinations, because at least you have something to work with as a GM.

As a last point, I can't imagine players giving up the right to veto trades even when they request them, but if any team I ran were offering a NTC, I might insist on a player giving me a small (5 or fewer) list of places they wouldn't go to if they decide they want out. It only seems fair that the party wishing to terminate a relationship have the onus on them to be more flexible.

IN CONCLUSION

To end this off, I don't hate players, and my own life and work experience almost certainly makes me more sympathetic to a player that wants a bit of control over his life once he's accrued some time in the league. I don't doubt that I'm in the minority of fans on this matter, but again, I always try to remember that hockey's a job for the players, and anyone who worked in a field where they were able to use their ability and seniority to leverage a concession from their employer would likely do just that. 

1a1030a8151ca7a0d81aea58f0fb1dbc
Robert Cleave is a perpetually grumpy Winnipegger.
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#1 Kent Wilson
July 07 2010, 08:31AM
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Like you, I understand the value of the NTC from both angles.

As you mention though, the Jokinen NMC makes absolutely no sense. Jokinen turns 32 in December, has 4 straight seasons of diminishing point totals, is coming off his worst season to date and was considered so detrimental to this very club just 5 months ago he was dealt for a toxic asset.

Now, I understand why Jokinen would want such a thing, but not why Sutter would grant it.

On a somewhat related note, how many NTC's did JFJ leave in his wake?

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#3 walkinvisible
July 07 2010, 09:49AM
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everything about the jokinen signing is suspect, IMO. as i suggested over at mine, i find it very unlikely that olli had his choice of suitors, and my guess is that sutter overpaid. the nmc seems like overkill on a deal that could have been done two weeks later.

i'm exaggerating a bit but i make my point.

as for jfj, wikipedia suggests sundin, kaberle, tucker, mccabe, & kubina. all, except kubina, could reasonably have been considered franchise guys.

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#4 Kent Wilson
July 07 2010, 09:57AM
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Robert Cleave wrote:

On a somewhat related note, how many NTC's did JFJ leave in his wake?

Too many, especially for a lousy team. I can at least understand rewarding quality in some fashion, but that Leaf team was much worse off than the Flames have been under Daz, and the NTCs weren't the reason they stunk in the first place.

Yeah, NTC's are never the reason a team is lousy...it just makes it tougher to fix things if it is.

The Leafs really fell off the map in 2007-08 under JFJ. They'd been 90+ point clubs up until then. That year, they finished 12th in the East with 83 points. The team wasn't terrible on paper (Sundin, Ponikarovsky, Antropov, Kaberle, Kubina, Blake and a still somewhat effective Darcy Tucker). The thing that sank them was the deadly duo of Raycroft and Toskala (.876 and .904 SV% respectively). TOR had a shot differential of +1.7 that season.

Then Sundin left, JFJ was fired and the dismantling began in earnest.

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#5 icedawg_42
July 07 2010, 09:58AM
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@Robert Cleave

-ugh...every time I look at this growing roster/contract mess I think more and more of JFJ....but, i'll take a deep breath and wait and see...

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#6 walkinvisible
July 07 2010, 10:40AM
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i've been touting the jfj leafs & current flames situation for like six months. welcome to the wagon.

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#7 Domebeers.com
July 07 2010, 12:01PM
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Good read.

Remember when he signed Ference to that 4 year (I think) contract? Remember when he traded him the moment the ink dried?

I think agents notice that type of stuff. I think that is one of the reasons Sutter had to give, for example, Stajan a NTC.

Darryl has a reputation. Because of that, I think he has to give NTC's and NMC's. The players agents probably demand it, to avoid getting Ferenced.

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#8 CA Flames Fan
July 07 2010, 12:34PM
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Great article which got me thinking ownership, the impact ownership could have the operations of a team (including players), the various structures it could look like, the present ownership structure with Calg and the merits of a sole owner, focussed on the quality of the product vs a group of owners (all with potentially differing levels of influence and goals related to their investment).

The community ownership structure that Edmonton had wouldn't work long term...too many conflicting agenda...herding cats. Katz will rebuild this team. The Oilers are starting to remind me of the Blackhawks of a few years ago, minus the cranky old owner. They have a plan, they are executing and they are rebuilding. This concerns me as a Flames fan.

The Canucks will be a better team this coming year, stable ownership and generally a GM with a plan that he is patiently executing. As much as Cannot fans ignore it, Luongo is still a weak link for that team to take the next step. But I love the fact that Luonogo is long term with the Cannots!

Here in Calg the appearance of an ownership group's blind faith in a President and GM (that may have stayed together too long) may not work either. Many discussions in this forum relate to the pros/cons of King and Sutter, their dynamic, and view that they lack vision and a real plan.

What kind of report card should the owners get? Ignoring said Pres & GM issues, where does the accountability rest with ownership in terms of improvements / development of the Flames? They may not all be hockey guys, but they are business people with an investment in an asset that from many accounts and comments, may be eroding this value through its actions in the last 12 months.

But as King said at the end of the season, the seaon ticket renewals were strong, so where is the catylst for change?

As long as we keep paying to see marginal product, with the odd flashes of potential, then I can't see what would wake ownership up to [1] look at the management of the club and its assets and [2] look at diminished value of its overall investment. But at the end of the day, they are the owners, not us as fans, and they have more tangibly at stake then we do. But we all share emotional capital and a passion for this team that has been a great part of this city for 30+ years.

Would the Flames have more clear direction with a sole owner vs the group model in place now? The group model worked in 1986, 87, 88, 89, but is this a relevant model now?

So in all the discussions on who is / isn't signed, who is kept / let go / brought in from managemenmt, how does ownership fit in?

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#9 Bob
July 07 2010, 12:51PM
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Very good read Robert. As DomeBeers pointed out, Darryl's reputation has taken a hit the past few years. Another thing to consider when trying to attract players is to make it appealing to come here. Just 4-5 years ago that was not much of a problem. We were still fresh off the play-off run on 2004, Darryl had a reputataion of being that guy who could find the odd hidden jem and get them for a snowball during the summer, and guys wanted to come play with Iggy, Reg and Phaneuf.

That shine the team had then has dimmed somewhat and I wonder if adding NTC's or NMC's is one of the few bargaining chips Darryl still has to get some guys to sign (see Stajan as example). It still doesn't solve the dilemma of why Jokinen got a NMC...the report I get is that Joker and his family are looking for the personal/home stability that Robert talked about. When Darryl called him so quickly on the 1st I thought Ollie would have jumped at whatever was offered.

Speaking of NTC's and NMC's, did anyone catch the interview on the Fan960 with Ian White's agent. Sound like they are having good talks and it's just a few issues that they are working out and both are wanting to avoid arbritration. Term was brough up and it was mentioned there is not worry about it being short term or long term. I don't think White qualifies for a NTC as of yet, so the term being thrown out was 2-3 years, which would put him in line after that expires to get a NTC or NMC if he choses. I think he has 2 more years before he's eligible...so don't be surprised to see that a signing of that length.

Now...can it be confirmed if we are indeed over or under the cap as the roster currently stands???

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#10 Kent Wilson
July 07 2010, 01:00PM
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With the addition of Stone, the Flames have 650k in cap space currently. That's with Kotalik counting towards the cap.

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#11 R O
July 07 2010, 01:28PM
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What does the structure of ownership have to do with anything?

The two relevant ownership issues: do they hand out the money and do they leave the GM alone to run the hockey side?

If the answer to both is "yes, reasonably" then everything else falls at the feet of the GM and his subordinates.

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#12 R O
July 07 2010, 01:37PM
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Re: NMCs and NTCs.

Yeah, RCleave, it's not really a bad thing per se, certainly our GM is not alone in handing out these things to people. I do wonder about some of the smaller names like Stajan but hey, there's nothing in the rulebook saying you have to be ranked in the top 30 by TSN in order to get this clause.

In any case, the outrage about the NTC/NMCs is a bit over the top I think (and I detect that RCleave thinks the same way). Giving NMCs to bad players is just penny-foolishness on top of pound-foolishness. No sense bitching about the former if you can just bitch about the latter.

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#13 R O
July 07 2010, 02:07PM
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The Canucks will be a better team this coming year, stable ownership and generally a GM with a plan that he is patiently executing. As much as Cannot fans ignore it, Luongo is still a weak link for that team to take the next step. But I love the fact that Luonogo is long term with the Cannots!

Finally, I can't let this go, because it's so patently false on every level.

First: The Canucks basically have the same top-end talent as last year and moved more or less laterally in their depth, I doubt they will be any more or less truly skilled than ever before. In fact with the inevitable drop that their insane team-wide shooting percentages will take, it's hard to see how they can possibly keep scoring goals at the rate they have been over the past season.

Second: The GM basically re-signed players that the team already owned the rights to when he took over. That's like giving Sutter credit for Iginla and nobody here does that, not even me. The manager's new acquisitions had a number of decent bets (Demitra, the 1-year Sundin) but a number of stinkers and marginals (the 2-year Sundin, Samuelsson at 2.5, Malhotra at 2.5, Bernier at 2.0, Burrows at 2.0, Ballard at 4.2, the list goes on really). There's no plan there, unless it's to overpay depth. Which as a Flames fan I realize is a bit of pot-meet-kettle given Sutter's recent moves, but there it is.

Third: Luongo is the best goaltender in the league. At the very least he's top 3 and there's no if's and's or but's about it. Serious claims about him being a "weak link" are based entirely in fiction, imagination and wishful thinking.

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#14 nolan
July 07 2010, 03:03PM
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WHAT? the Joker got a NMC? Wake me when the nightmere ends! A few years ago when the Leafs re-signed Nik Andropov the guys at The Fan590 were very curious as to the photos he had of Quinn and/or JFJ. I really want to know about the photos Jokinen has of Sutter?

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#16 Rain Dogs
July 07 2010, 04:23PM
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RO said:

Third: Luongo is the best goaltender in the league. At the very least he's top 3 and there's no if's and's or but's about it. Serious claims about him being a "weak link" are based entirely in fiction, imagination and wishful thinking.

I curious to pick your brain RO. I don't have much contention with this statement, but I am surprised to hear you say it, especially when slagging Kipper so badly and so regularly.

Do you know something I don't know, or do you just have a bias preference for one and not the other?

You've said on select occasions that:

"I mean we pay the guy enough to be a difference-maker, he better damn well be making a difference." (per Kipper)

"I haven't seen any evidence one way or the other that minutes played or games played does anything to SV% that is outside the realm of good old-fashioned luck."

"I mean it's just tending nets, compared to any of the skating positions it's a damn walk in the park."

"Cup Wins are so much more affected by puck luck and skating strength."

"I'd like somebody cheap as well (2M range per goalie if we can swing it) to tend nets..."

"I really hate the goaltending position. It's such a volatile thing, puck stopping rate, it seems wiser to pour more money into offense."

"You know what they say though, defense wins championships! Hyuk hyuk. As if."

and on and on and on.

Anyway, we get the idea. From these comments, you've seemed to lay the framework that Goaltending is volatile, high workload and consistency over said high workload is not worth valuing, it's a position best with lower pay (~2million cap hit) and goalies really have little influence on winning compared to offense and puck possession.

Kipper and Luongo aren't that different. Both play a ton of games, both have had much consistency over their careers and are top 5 ev sv% goalies with large samples 9000+ ev sa:

1. Luongo: 13588 - .928% 4. Kiprusoff: 9321 - .924%

and both make huge dollars with long contracts: Luongo - 5.33, 12 more years, 10mil real, NMC Kipper - 5.83, 4 more years, 7mil real, NMC

As well, Kipper's best 4 years have been better than Luongo's best, as has his most recent season: 2. Kiprusoff - 4968/5316 - .935 ('10,07,06,04) 3. Luongo - 5189/5560 - .933 ('09,08,04,01)

So, I'm curious why you seem to refer to Luongo with such value, and contend that he is not a weak link and then Kipper with disdain, and constantly request his trade.

I understand you said "Luongo is the best goaltender in the league." , which perhaps is said as a truism, and doesn't change you views of goalies, as he's just the best of the same 'problem'

BUT, then you say..."Serious claims about him being a "weak link" are based entirely in fiction, imagination and wishful thinking."

I wonder why, when he sucks up so much money and cap hit, he's not a weak link? They got similar performance from Raycroft .911sv% (.913% ev), Luongo .913sv% - 17th in the league (.925%ev - 12th in the league) and Raycroft cost 500k. about 10% what Luongo cost!

Wouldn't it be better to have a ~2 mil goalie or less, and invest in forwards?

Doesn't that make Luongo a weak link, like you've eluded to so many times of Kipper?

??????????

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#17 R O
July 07 2010, 04:58PM
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Lawrence:

You wrote about 9000+ EV shots against goalies a few weeks back and I didn't respond, but the first thought that popped into my head was "how many could there be"?

Assuming about 22 EV shots against per game started (that's based on around a 30 EV/60 rate, perfectly reasonable) it works out to 410 games played which is the equivalent of five Dryden seasons or 7 seasons of 60 starts each, more or less.

When I try and think of how many goalies today there are that actually meet this requirement... I'm not too impressed by Kipper's ranking there.

But, Kipper's EV SV% does look decent as a raw number, so I'll give you that point. Maybe he's not as bad as I thought.

Though I don't know. His established level at even strength according to you is 4 points lower than Luongo and the latter has basically been established that # for about 8-10 years now and the former only about 5 years really.

Regarding this:

Anyway, we get the idea. From these comments, you've seemed to lay the framework that Goaltending is volatile, high workload and consistency over said high workload is not worth valuing, it's a position best with lower pay (~2million cap hit) and goalies really have little influence on winning compared to offense and puck possession.

Indeed. Most NHL goalies' true skills don't exert influence on the game (more than any other NHL-calibre goalie, that is) - the biggest part of it is just dumb luck.

But with a guy like Luongo - he's established superiority in that area, and for so long, that you pretty much know that he's an above-average goaltender. He is as affected by puck luck as any other goalie, in that the range of reasonable expectations is wide. But, I'm pretty sure he can provide you with league-average puck-stopping even at the very extreme low end of his range of reasonable outcomes. None of these $1M goalies can do that, league average is their midpoint.

I think that when you're a GM and you're planning for an upcoming season, eliminating potential season-ending outcomes by guaranteeing league-average goaltending at the very minimum, then you should do it. The thing is, most of the goalies making $5M+ aren't this type of goalie, so the next best thing is just to cheap out on goaltending (i.e. setting the midpoint of your goaltending expectation to league-average) and then trying to compensate with better skaters. The Detroit model, so to speak.

Where you and I differ, is that you think Kipper is in Luongo's league in this. I don't, but the number is nice-enough looking that I'll look into it further, when I'm inclined

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#18 Rain Dogs
July 07 2010, 05:55PM
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RO:

"You wrote about 9000+ EV shots against goalies a few weeks back and I didn't respond, but the first thought that popped into my head was "how many could there be"?"

I thought this was a good thing, the largest sample as possible? There are plenty of goalies with over 9000 ev sa, and many of them are highly regarded:

Turco 8811/9552 = .922 Brodeur 14584/15829 = .921 Biron 9054/9838 = .920

and there are plenty worse.

We could take a lower ev sa number, where you could include Thomas for example 5710/6163 = .926, but how low do you want to go? Thomas dropped from .929 to .926 in one season! now they can't get rid of him fast enough although he just won the Vezina the season before this. Will he even see 9000 ev sa?

"But with a guy like Luongo - he's established superiority in that area, and for so long, that you pretty much know that he's an above-average goaltender...where you and I differ, is that you think Kipper is in Luongo's league in this. I don't, but the number is nice-enough looking that I'll look into it further, when I'm inclined"

No, RO, this isn't true. I'm not trying to convince anyone that Kipper's career is equal to Luongo's, but you often seem to try to convince us that Kipper is equal to Raycroft. In fact, that comparison was thrown around a hell of a lot after the 08/09 season.

When I try and think of how many goalies today there are that actually meet this requirement... I'm not too impressed by Kipper's ranking there."

Kipper is basically the same degree better than Brodeur than Luongo is Kipper, and most of Luongo's truly great numbers came in the dead-puck era. I think people put too much weight on one poor season by Miikka.

And you know something, Brodeur is pretty darn good. The list I show aren't flash in the pan goalies, they are a list of the elite, consistent performers, who have had long careers and Kipper ranks pretty high on that list.

I guess where you and I differ is this:

I could be wrong, but it seems you think if your goalie is the very best, the number 1 on the list then he is worth 10million dollars and 12 year contracts, and anyone else ain't worth much, and that if someone thinks so, they only think about "video games and fantasy hockey."

I can tell you this.. a .004 career difference doesn't change the fact that I would currently take Kipper on my team with 4 years left on his contract and two years until the NMC is done vs a goalie who is signed with a NMC for the next 12 years, until he is 43, and costing 64million dollars, who comes with his own serious question marks.

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#19 Balthazar
July 07 2010, 10:09PM
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NMC's and NTC's are what they are... but having 10 or so limits flexability.

I expect we'll have 11 with White.

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#20 R O
July 07 2010, 11:30PM
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they only think about "video games and fantasy hockey."

who comes with his own serious question marks.

When I talk about the obsession with the video-game or fantasy model of hockey I talk about this latter comment.

There are, as I see it, two legitimate (i.e. based in reality) complaints about Luongo. One is his 08/09 injury, which has a very real chance of affecting his future performance. Though you'll have to pack a lunch to convince me of that, I'll listen at least.

Two is that he won't be good in the last four or so years of the contract, and I'm with you on that brother. But, it doesn't stop him from being the best goalie for the relevant future. Certainly over the remainder of Kipper's contract.

The other complaints as I see them are usually classified either as "inconsistent game-to-game" or "not clutch in big games" which as I am sure we all know is a pair of gigantic loads. The fantasy model of hockey may very well pay attention to big games and wins and particularly high-GA games but here in the real world it looks an awful lot like the clattering of dice.

So, I'm pretty harsh with goalie pontification but to be fair a lot of it is junk. I like your approach Lawrence, and it is informative (maybe I'll be less pessimistic about Kipper and contrary to what you might think I'd rather he be an elite goalie than the alternative) but I still want to know what the "serious question marks" are w.r.t. Luongo.

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