Dear Curtis Glencross,
I’m being told I need to delve deeper into this, so I guess that’s what I’ll do.
In reference to this interview you gave, Mister Glencross, the one where you’re talking about working on a contract extension now for some reason, the one where you go on record saying you’re not willing to play for a hometown discount? That one? Yes, we the undersigned have a few issues with it, and if it’s okay with you, we’d like to go over them in some detail? Good? Good.
We’re all aware of what you’re doing, Curtis, and it’s a pretty smart move if you ask me. Your contract is up at the end of the season, and you and your agent are being proactive out there on trying to get a new contract out of the team. That makes sense. They haven’t talked to you yet, so you talk to them.
But your timing, my friend, is off. Consider the mind of Brad Treliving like a warm, delicious pie. Do you see pie in your head right now? Yeah? Me too. I’m also very much craving pie right now, but let’s focus on the task at hand. If you cut the pie that is Bred Treliving’s brain into pieces, you’ll see the individual sections are of unequal size. These slices are Treliving’s priorities. The big pieces, you’ll see are as follows:
- Get T.J. Brodie extended
- Get Mikael Backlund extended
- Find a quality depth defenseman so Deryk Engelland and Ladi Smid aren’t things you depend on
- Get Brian Burke to tell him he’s doing a good job, or say hi, or even look at him
The medium sized pieces are all about getting RFA’s (Joe Colborne, Lance Bouma, Joni Ortio) all locked up. Which leaves the smaller pieces of the pie for Treliving:
- Acquiring skill
- Sign Curtis Glencross
This is not to say that signing you is not a priority, or that it’s not important, because it is. You just need to wait your turn, pal. It’s not time yet. And this is potentially, a very good thing for you, if you play your cards right, because of value.
There’s one part of your interview that really struck a chord with me, Curtis, and I think it’s worth repeating:
“It’ll be a little bit different this time around,” Glencross explained. “I told them when we did the last deal that I love playing at home and I’ll take kind of a hometown discount hit so we could make this team a better team.
“I might only have a couple more contracts left in my career, and this is probably the biggest contract of my career. The Flames have to know that as well, and hopefully they take it into consideration, what I did the last four years.”
Okay, look, there’s no doubt that your current contract is one of the best values in the NHL. After you signed that deal in 2011, it was mere months before we saw players nowhere near as good as you get richer with some pretty madcap and wacky deals, and it wasn’t cool. When you’re on your game, you are a fine hockey player. You’re not a huge possession driver, but you’re not a liability either, and when you’re in the lineup, you put up points. In a full season, we can probably reasonably expect you to be a ~45 point guy with a shooting percentage in the 15% range. That’s not bad. That’s good second line stuff.
But let’s face the facts. You said it yourself, you probably only have a couple of contracts left to sign (I would say it’s more than that, because towards the end of your career, I suspect you’ll only be re-upping for one year at a time until we all retire and die). You’re going to be 32 years old when your contract expires this year, and we know what that means. You’re still a young man, sure, but as a hockey player, you’re on the brink of twilight, and you’re never in that point of your career where you’re ever going to get better. Players regress, and the way you play the game, Curtis, you’re not going to be any different. It’s a punishing style, and you’re not the kind of guy who lurks around on the periphery looking for the fast break. You’re more an Iginla than a Selanne. And that catches up with you eventually.
Which is why you’ve never skated through a full season. Injuries always happen, and I don’t think the term “injury prone” is actually a thing at all. I’d suggest playing a full season in the NHL takes a good degree of luck. It’s a random game, and at it’s heart it’s a violent game, to come away unscathed is hard to do. What I would say, is that you have bad luck. It’s hard to justify paying a full season’s worth of work when you’re only around for half of it.
Which is not to say you won’t rebound and have a lush, full season where you play the finest hockey of your life. That’s entirely possible, just much more implausible.
Which is why you should use this season as your resume for the contract you’re going to sign at the end of this season. It would be swell if the Flames recognized that you took a healthy hometown discount on your last pact, and that it’s very clear that Southern Alberta is where your heart is, but at the same time, it’s a business, and it’s ill advised to go around signing players to legacy contracts if they’re going to also be expensive. You’re as aware of this racket as anyone, as you’re willing to go to the open market to get more money in a city you don’t necessarily want to be in (because who would ever want to live in Buffalo? Yech).
If you were to rebound from last year and be the Glencross we all know and
tolerate love (and maybe decreased the amount of flagrantly stupid penalties you’re wont to take), then would we all be smitten kittens if you inked a 2-3 year deal worth 3.5 million a year? I’d say that’s very fair for someone in your position. It’s not as if you’re really able to hold the team hostage over this – there’s not a lot of depth on this team, but at LW it’s stronger organizationally than any other roster spot – so how much leverage do you really have?
Not to say you don’t bring a lot of value to the Flames, Curtis, because you really do, but it’s not cool to be a veteran forward who offers all the “intangibles” and “clutchiness” to his team but can’t stay in the lineup due to injuries and commands a 5 million dollar a year contract. I know that sounds crazy, but I swear to Lanny’s Mustache I’ve heard that one before.
Don’t go full Bolland, Curtis. (Even if it would play out a hunch of mine)
Play the season out. Take a step back and assess where the team is heading and how you fit into it. Wait and see how the Brodie and Backlund negotiations go. Wait to see how the market shakes itself out. Become the market, and earn that next contract. Or earn that next bigger one somewhere else. Trying to win the big ticket right now before training camp even opens is your weakest move.