Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bobby Clarke Working The CBA

Bobby Clarke is showing that he knows how to use this CBA not only to build a competitive team but also to hurt your opponent. Last year I asked why the GMs are not signing any restricted free agents. Bobby Clarke has begun this process.

In the old CBA there was little to no reason to sign a restricted free agent. Most of the time, the team that had his rights would just match the offer. It would drive up salaries around the league and you had nothing to show for you efforts. Even if you did sign the player you gave up a restrictive number of draft picks as compensation.

In this CBA, things have changed. Driving up salaries on another team accomplishes something. It puts them in salary cap trouble. Also, the draft pick penalties for signing RFAs have been substantially reduced. It can make good sense to sign an RFA.

Philadelphia finds themselves with a little extra money to spend now that Keith Primeau will be retiring. Why not attempt to steal a good young player from another team? Vancouver's Ryan Kesler is a restricted free agent. So Bobby Clarke signed him to an offer of $1.9 million. This would only cost the Flyers a second round pick in compensation. If Kesler is as good a prospect as they think he is this could be a good deal for the Flyers.

It is expected that Vancouver will match the offer and thus be pushed very close to the salary cap. The Canucks had hoped to sign Kesler for much less money than this. Philadelphia has put Vancouver in a worse position. And they can try it again with another team that has a good young unsigned RFA if they want to.

Here is TSN's story on the Ryan Kesler offer sheet.

Nice piece - I wonder if putting the squeeze on Vancouver might take them out of the Anson Carter market, and he's another guy Philly could use.

I've posted a link to your blog over on mine, "On The Forecheck". Good stuff...
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