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That Salary Cap's No Joke | March


Last night Jim Jackson said something that I found interesting:

"Shawn Thornton's one of the best 4th liners in the league."

Well, I didn't actually find that interesting because I also think that to be true, but it got me thinking about the make up of a team.

Say Shawn Thornton is one of the best 4th liners in the league, whether you believe it or not. What if he gets better. What if somehow he turns into pre-batshit Chris Simon and pots 20, and all of a sudden is a third liner? What do you do then? Because it's not like you've got all this extra money sitting around and your 3rd line's been playing with 2 guys for the past 2 seasons.

"Finally, the Bruins are going to have a full third line!" howls Jack Edwards.

It's a really strange world, this salary cap world, when you think about it. Sometimes when you get better you just have to go. Just look at the Blackhawks.

If you're a GM you're handed the template the first day you get the job:

       LW           C           RW
5,000,000 4,000,000 3,000,000
2,500,000 3,000,000 3,000,000
1,000,000 2,000,000 850,000
900,000     500,000   750,000
500,000     750,000

6,000,000 6,000,000
5,000,000 4,000,000
2,000,000 1,000,000
1,000,000 800,000


Total 57,550,000

Now, you can get as wild as you want in there. Try to get some lucky bargains from the dollar bin, hope some rookies step it up and become key performers while they still make relatively little. But, and I don't mean this to come off as sounding incredibly stupid even though it might, you're really jammed up with that salary cap. That shit's no joke.

The name of the game seems to be investing. AKA gambling. Gambling on someone like Mike Richards for 12 years when maybe he'd get Briere money on the tail end of a shorter contract. Offering someone what might be too long of a contract for a lower price.

It's funny that in sports with salary caps guys can literally get to good for their own niche. They can become a different level player. Possessing the type of skill that makes them too good to stay on their team. Too good to not trade.

This conversation won't ever happen, but it could for someone else, maybe even Ville Leino:

"Shawn, we signed you at $800k and we told you to work hard and you did exactly that. But now that you're actually good, we're going to have to let you go. We already have guys taking up those salary ranges and we don't want to lose any of them so, thanks for your service but we can' keep you around. You're very good."

Which also begs another question. Why didn't the Flyers of the 1990's or the early 2000's put together a dream team? They always seemed to want to win. Why not the Big E centering the Legion of Doom with Rod the Bod on the second line being flanked by Petr Bondra and Pavel Bure? Scott Neidermayer and Chris Pronger playing behind Ray Bourque and Kevin Hatcher? When was the last real dynasty in the NHL and why was it broken up? Was it all Wayne's fault?