Low free agency age actually works FOR the owners in one way

Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by Crazy_Ike, Apr 3, 2005.

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  1. Crazy_Ike

    Crazy_Ike Cookin' with fire.

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    As long as it's low enough. Doing so dumps a large amount of players into the UFA pool, and because supply is higher, the player's leverage in negotiations is lower and you actually get more reasonable contracts for the low and mid tier players. Someone like Holik would never get contracts like he did if there were twenty more guys just like him available.

    It falls apart for the high tier players, unfortunately, since there can never be a high enough supply of those to go around. Like in baseball, the wide disparity in potential player skill along with so many positions (reducing supply) makes free agency salary inflation almost certain. The same force would not be nearly as strong in the NHL at low and mid end, but it would probably be there at the high end.

    Still, the NHL shouldn't reject a low free agency age just on principle.
     
  2. Here's why free agency at the age suggested does not work. Player development costs. Teams that actually develop players, and invest time in money into that aspect of the game, will not see any payoff for their investment. Teams will stop making the effort to develop players and the talent level will continue to erode. You need to have player development as a key component to the game and reward the teams that develop their own talent IMO. If you don't the rich will always be better than the poor.
     
  3. Crazy_Ike

    Crazy_Ike Cookin' with fire.

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    It doesn't take nine years to develop a player just to the point of being an NHLer, unless they were just barely going to make that level in the first place.
     
  4. hockeytown9321

    hockeytown9321 Registered User

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    But doesn't the salary cap make it so all the teams can hold onto their players? Isn't it supposed to stop Detroit and New York from stealing everyone else's players? If it works, then it shouldn't matter what the free agency age is, right?
     
  5. That is correct. It takes on average four to five years for a player to make it to the NHL after being drafted, much of that time working with the team that drafted him. After he makes it it takes a season or two before he starts performing. So a team invests six years in a player before the player attains the level that the team hoped for and spent countless hours working with the player to get there. For all that work they get two or three years of service before the guy has a chance to bolt? I don't see that as a good return on your investment IMO. I think that 29 is the optimum age for free agency with 28 being a rock bottom number. That gets a team the first four years of a player's prime years that they developed. I think that with free agency at such a young age you will see teams start to give up on projects (like a Todd Bertuzzi) earlier and these players will not get that chance to develop and become the players they should. The economics of the systen dictate that IMO.
     
  6. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    If UFA starts at age 31, and say there`s only one quality goalie available, then that guy`s agent starts playing the teams against one another ( i.e. my guy wants to sign with your team, but you`re only offering $5M while this other team is offering $6M), it becomes a bidding war and the goalie ends up with more than he`s worth. That`s what`s happened the past few seasons.

    If UFA starts at age 27, there`s likely to be more than a few quality goalies available any given year, then the teams start playing the goalies against each other (i.e. "why should we pay you $5M when this other guy is just as good and we can sign him for $4M.")

    Anyone with half a brain can figure this out. Of course, since the average NHL owner has less than that, it`s taken them a lot longer. Lowering the age for UFAs benefits players who want to get out of the city they`re playing in, other than that it benefits the owners. So the owners, even though they won`t mind lowering it for the above reasons; will act like it`s a huge concession and demand something huge in return. The NHLPA won`t fall for it.
     
  7. Sure, if the cap is at a realistic level. When it surpasses the level that the majority of the teams spent to last year the cap will not have much of deterent, especially if revenues drop as expected. If you base the revenues dropping down to $1.5 billion as some have (generously IMO) projected the cap level the players just proposed is equivalent to a $59 million cap in last season's revenues. That doesn't do a thing to change the system. This is exactly the mindset the NHLPA is counting on when they try and sell this proposal. They are going to hope that people do NOT consider the change in economics and revenues when they consider the dollars levels being discussed. Once you do the math (which most people are too lazy to do) it shows the flaws in their proposal and where this would lead the league and the teams.
     
  8. And why would age be a factor in "quality" anything being available? The fact of the matter is that it does not play much of a factor at all. The only factor that would help would be in area of "lesser" players and keeping those costs down. There is always a shortage of the top end players, and age will not change that. In fact it will likely make it more likely that there will be fewer because teams will not continue to develop players past the age of 22 or 23. If they haven't made the jump by then they will be cast aside and other players will be invested in. More players will be free agents long before 27 because teams will give up on the development of so many players.
     
  9. chriss_co

    chriss_co Registered User

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    it takes much longer for NHL players to develop in comparison to other sports because the NHL is much more of a team oriented sport than other sports.. thats why its more difficult to market stars in the NHL than say the NFL/NBA/MLB because a star can't exactly do it all in the NHL... they can come up huge but not to the extent of marquee players in say baseball or basketball

    its because of this that players take longer to develop and wouldn't make sense to have free agency at 23-24 because most prospects aren't exactly franchise players yet... most dont even make the team in a regular position until about 21-22..

    thats why a low free agency age would kill the NHL.. even if it worked in favor of the owners financially
     
  10. hockeytown9321

    hockeytown9321 Registered User

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    So is the $37.5 million cap proposed by the NHL realistic?
     
  11. Not any more. The longer this thing drags out the greater the impact on revenues. Based on the drop in revenues that offer the NHL dropped on the table is equalent to a $52.5 million cap. That number will likely be pulled off the table quick enough as things drag out. The best deal the players were going to get was given over a month ago. That is gone. The players better understand just how hard a hit the league is going to take and just how much money they are going to lose if this drags out any further. If the $37.5 million number was based on $2.1 billion in revenues, that number shrinks all the way to $26.8 million on $1.5 billion in revenues. The pie is getting smaller and smaller. The players better define their slice quickly as the pie getting eaten up by revenue losses.
     
  12. hockeytown9321

    hockeytown9321 Registered User

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    Just so I'm clear, you don't think the NHL's last proposal will work?
     
  13. mooseOAK*

    mooseOAK* Guest

    That is certainly true of goaltenders in that it is the rare few that are teady to step in in their early 20's. Hasek didn't become a starter until he was 28 for example, as was Marty Turco.
     
  14. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    It`s strange how so many pro-owner fans will say things like: "Bring on the replacement players, fans cheer for the team, not the players. Because the fans are firmly behind the owners, they will enthusiastically support the league when it returns with replacements.The league will be more popular than ever when it comes back due to improved competitive balance and exciting rule changes. The players need the NHL more than the NHL needs the players. etc. etc."

    Yet when it comes to a cap number then it`s "The cap has to be small because revenues will be so much lower when the league returns"
     
  15. Crazy_Ike

    Crazy_Ike Cookin' with fire.

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    That's because it will take some time to win back the burned and vindictive fans. Duh.
     
  16. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    But if the fans are "100% behind the owners and the league" they wouldn`t have to "win them back"
     
  17. Peter Griffin

    Peter Griffin Registered User

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    Don't know if this has been mentioned yet, but another plus for having a lowered unrestricted free agency age is that the players will get their big "payday" when they somewhat deserve, in their prime, not when most are starting the decline. I think that 27 years is a bit young, but 28 or 29 years old is workable on both sides I think.
     
  18. Crazy_Ike

    Crazy_Ike Cookin' with fire.

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    Wrong. Some have (or at least say they have) simply stopped being fans, have stopped caring about hockey and the lockout at all. Those folks need to be won back.

    Who said the fans are "100% behind the owners and the league", anyways? What I see is a number of people suggesting they would support the new NHL even if it meant replacements for a while, not the entire fanbase.
     
  19. Habsfan 32

    Habsfan 32 Registered User

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    I think that 29 is the right time to be a free agent.
     
  20. Well that's because the PA supporters don't understand the economics of the game. They don't understand that many sponsorship deals are going to have to be reworked for less money and that advertising dollars are going to decrease on what is generated and increased on what is spent. The TV deal is going to have to be worked on quite aggressively to see any money out of it in the immediate term is unlikely and affects the bottom line. All media revenues are going to be hurting and that, along with the vindictive component of the fans, is going to hit the bottom line. No one said the teams were not going to take a fiscal hit. That has been a given all along and has been pointed to by the fans saying that the players better be prepared for the big drop in pay. I know, its probably way to complex for the PA side to figure out. God knows the players that have commented on the topic sure have hammered that point home with gusto!

    :biglaugh:
     
  21. txpd

    txpd Registered User

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    Really...hmm. How long did it take to develope Kovulchuk & Heatley as stars in a southern market, on a losing team?? They developed pretty fast as marketable stars. Some players develope slowly as players, but developing a star into a brand name player isn't any different. 23-24 would be too young, but the suggested 27 is about right.
     
  22. Epsilon

    Epsilon #TeamHolland

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    Here's one: if "it's the name on the front that matters, not on the back" why should any of you pro-owner guys care about the free agency age? After all, it's just players changing teams, and since you don't care who those players are, this should'nt matter at all.
     
  23. hockeytown9321

    hockeytown9321 Registered User

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    That's nice, except you completely missed the original point. All those revenue streams are going to decrease. Nobody's arguing that. The philosophical question is if the fans are so gung ho in support of the owners as some here want to beleive, why would revenue decrease?
     
  24. Crazy_Ike

    Crazy_Ike Cookin' with fire.

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    Because there's a difference between advertising and similar revenue streams and the ticketbuying fanbase?


    What a load of hooey. First of all, free agency affects the balance of power among the *teams* in terms of who can afford what - see MLB - so of course people who cheer for the teams are going to care. And secondly who said you don't care who the players are if you hope for a team? I very much care who the players of my team are, but that doesn't mean I'll stop hoping for the team if some of them are traded.


    The pro-player faction sure seems to be digging from the bottom of the barrel now for these arguments.
     
  25. Epsilon

    Epsilon #TeamHolland

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    Read all the threads about replacement players. It seems that a lot of people are taking the attitude that "the players don't matter, only the team does". If the players are to be viewed as automobile workers (which is what people like Iconoclast would have you believe) then exchanging one for another shouldn't matter at all.
     
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