Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Hold Please

Doug Gilmour did it. So did Felix Potvin. Bryan Berard and Dimitri Yushkevich did it at the same time.

When Keith Tkachuk did it, Cam Neely went to the media to question Tkachuk's values.

Petr Nedved once did it for nearly 18 months straight and Alexi Yashin did it so frequently fans, GMs and team-mates were more than a little sore.

But nobody seems to be doing it much anymore.

For much of the 1990s, it was commonplace for NHL players to hold-out or even walk out on their teams as part of contract negotiations. If a player was represented by Mark Gandler it was almost a certainty that they'd do it each time they even so much as heard the word "contract."

But the hold-out seems to have gone the way of the 125+ point season. What was once an annual occurrence for a handful of players is now a rarity.

A quick google news archive search revealed that almost every player who has held out since the new CBA was signed was a Restricted Free Agent at the time. Gaborik might be the lone exception.

With NHL camps set to open in the next week, Bobby Ryan is the only big name player without a deal that I can think of - and if you believe what you read on twitter, a signed contract is imminent. There may be others, but none spring to mind...

What killed the hold out?

Was it the CBA with it's hard cap, ascribed amount for total player salaries and set values for ELCs and max salaries?

Was it the emergence of the KHL as a viable alternative for players?

Or is it a little bit of both?

I certainly don't miss the hold-out, but I'd love to know what has made it disappear.

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7 comments:

  1. James Neal doesn't have a contract either, that's 2 RFA ~30 goal guys with no contracts. I think it's just a money game and GMs want to firm up their roster so they know how much they can commit.

    I don't think Neal or Ryan are holding out and I doubt either of them are worried about their contract.

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  2. Isn't it technically impossible to hold out these days?

    If you have a signed contract, then you can't renegotiate under the CBA. And if you don't have a signed contract, you're not really holding out in the traditional sense.

    I suppose we might some day see a player in the final year of a deal hold out until they get their extension, and we've almost seen players hold out to force trades, but I think you're right -- it's pretty much a dead issue

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  3. DGB - RFAs can certainly hold-out, but you're absolutely right, only a guy in the last year of his deal is in position to hold out for an extension.

    Still, I find it surprising that it doesn't happen more frequently with players in either of these categories.

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  4. You could probably consider Kessel "holding out" last year. But really the Bruins just couldn't pay him I suppose.

    If Burke hadn't made the deal, I wonder how long it would have been before another one was completed.

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  5. What would the compensation be if the Leafs offered Neal a contract?

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  6. eyebleaf - I don't know that the Leafs own their own draft picks to make an offer for Neal.

    According to NHL.com, the compensation is as follows (I'm guessing the formatting here is going to make this one helluva mess, so you can also just go visit: http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=34760)

    OFFER COMPENSATION
    $994,433 or below None
    $994,433 to $1,506,716 3rd round choice
    $1,506,716 to $3,013,434 2nd round choice
    $3,013,434 to $4,520,150 1st and 3rd
    $4,520,150 to $6,026,867 1st, 2nd, 3rd
    $6,026,867 to $7,533,584 2x1sts, 2nd, 3rd
    Over $7,533,584 4x1sts

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  7. Paul Steckley12:36 p.m.

    If the CBA is the reason holdouts have ended then count me as loving the CBA. I always hated holdouts, almost as much as I hated the GMs and owners that invariably succumbed and renegotiated the players contract. You sign a contract, you live with it.

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