THE RIGHT STUFF: R N-H ONE COOL CUSTOMER

Robin Brownlee
September 28 2011 10:28PM

Spend a few minutes talking to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins outside the bustle of the daily scrums that have become his routine, and it's difficult not to come away as impressed with him off the ice as on it.

Given how good Nugent-Hopkins has been at his first training camp with the Edmonton Oilers, and how it looks like he's on his way to a claiming a season-opening roster spot well before he shaves for the first time in his life, that's saying a mouthful.

While fans are giddy at what they've seen from Nugent-Hopkins this pre-season, the baby-faced 18-year-old pivot from the Red Deer Rebels is a picture of composure and understatement.

Short on bravado and long on aw-shucks is Nugent-Hopkins, who awoke Wednesday morning to rave reviews after scoring a goal and adding two assists on a line with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle in a 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes, giving him 1-5-6 in four pre-season games.

Not prone to an inflated cranium, this kid.

KIDS IN THE HALL

Just a couple of examples of what was out there this morning when Nugent-Hopkins and the Oilers filed into Rexall Place for a noon-hour skate. Over at the broadsheet, The Journal's John Mackinnon wrote:

"They will score, these young Edmonton Oilers. That’s obvious. Not only that, the gifted likes of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will swash, they will buckle, they’ll sizzle, they’ll dance, they’ll drive the net, they’ll lift the Rexall Place faithful out of their seats early and often this season."

Equally impressed was Terry Jones at The Sun, who chimed in with:

"It was a line which looked, only moments after it came together, like it could live happily ever after. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made magic with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle as coach Tom Renney decided to go forward to the future and the kid basically served notice he’s not going to be easy to ship back to his past.

"Forget about it Red Deer? Play on Rebels? You’ve seen the last of the No. 1 pick in the NHL Entry Draft? How do you send the kid back to junior after that performance?"

How, indeed.

TAKING IT ALL IN

If Nugent-Hopkins is a pumped as he has to be at the prospect of cracking an NHL line-up, he's doing a masterful job of hiding it publicly. No swagger. None. Not a trace of Rob Schremp in him.

"I came in here and I just wanted to play my game and try to earn a spot on this team," Nugent-Hopkins told me matter-of-factly. "I feel like I've definitely played my game as well as I could right now.

"I'm happy with the way things have gone. This week will be the last chance before the regular season to kind of prove myself a little bit more. I'm just going to do everything I can. Just play my game."

Nugent-Hopkins just smiled when asked about what's been written and said about him.

"The coaches told me that the only thing I have to do is play my game and they're going to give me a good opportunity here," he said. "I feel like I've done that. I just want to keep it going and make it a tough decision on the coaches."

LEVEL-HEADED

Surely Nugent-Hopkins must allow himself a fist-pump here or there behind closed doors, given how well he's performed with the eyes of an entire organization on him, no? You can tell me, kid . . .

"Obviously, I'm extremely excited about the opportunity I have, but I'm trying to just take it day by day," Nugent-Hopkins said as he peeled off his gear in a near-empty dressing room.

"If I get too high or too low, then things can go bad, so I'm just trying to keep level-headed here and have fun with it."

Nugent-Hopkins is at a stage where he'd rather have fun with it than talk about having fun with it, which is to be expected for a kid yet to play his first regular season NHL game. Better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around, after all.

The right stuff. The right words.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
Avatar
#51 sofarsogood
September 29 2011, 10:28AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Points/game= sam, overall cogs wins. Sam plays 60 games while Cogs plays 80. It has to betaken into account, just like longevity is taken into account for hall of famers. Have always thought RNH was going back. After vancouver game we will have a much better read. He is looking better than Ithought.

Avatar
#52 Quicksilver ballet
September 29 2011, 10:47AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Hopkins will make the club, and he'll become an elite player in the NHL 3 yrs down the road by doing so.

Avatar
#53 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
September 29 2011, 11:06AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Hopkins will make the club, and he'll become an elite player in the NHL 3 yrs down the road by doing so.

~What a brave prediction about a 1st overall pick~

I hope you're right.

Avatar
#54 ricky p
September 29 2011, 11:23AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Want brave predictions. Nuge is an elite player in two years, as Hall will be this year. Oh ya, don't book your holidays in the Spring because this club is making the playoffs. Tambo brings in the elite dman for the start of the season, when he moves some backlog of forwards for "that guy". And the final prediction is that Horcoff finds himself third or fourth line center by Christmas. So ya, hows that for brave, out on a limb stuff.

Avatar
#55 Quicksliver Bullet
September 29 2011, 11:30AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I have no doubt based on what I've seen and read that Nugent-Hopkins will not only stay with the big club this year, he will develop more quickly and will be one of the NHL's elite forward within 2 to 4 seasons. I hope I'm right!

Marbles?

Avatar
#56 David S
September 29 2011, 11:41AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Robin Brownlee wrote:

Who'll have more points this season, Gagner or Cogliano?

I wonder if that's a more interesting question than meets the eye. Ironman Andrew playing more games with decent linemates could possibly give Sam a run for his money.

Overly optimistic I suppose. I've always been a big supporter of him.

Avatar
#57 Stir it Up
September 29 2011, 11:57AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Gongshow

During the preseason Carlyle has been using Cogs on the wing with Selanne on the other wing and it has been working as their speed has been killing. If they keep this line up I see Cogs getting a few points. Trouble with Gagner is he has never gelled with any particular line mates since Cogs and Nillson. @ Robin who do you think would compliment Gagner as line mates?

Avatar
#58 Talbot17
September 29 2011, 01:30PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Side news but Oilers cut roster by 3, Teubert one of the casualties. I'm shocked they didn't give him a game this weekend

Avatar
#59 smiliegirl15
September 29 2011, 01:46PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Cogliano may have not been someone who makes the players around him better but I think having stronger linemates will make all his hard work pay off.

I think Cogliano will have the better year.

Avatar
#60 Dman09
September 29 2011, 01:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Just like to throw this out there for all of you who like to rag on Gagner. Vincent Lecavalier 64games 54points and a -5

Avatar
#61 Dog Train
September 29 2011, 02:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

The Gagner vs. Cogliano debate will depend on Sam's ability to stay healthy. Yes, Cogs will get more opportunities than he had here but if Gagner finds himself between combos like Smyth and Hemsky or Hall and Eberle this season then he's bound to get close to 50 points. Then again, Cogliano could have a 20+ goal season if he is not expected to carry the puck but rather just go to the net and use his speed to get to the right places on the ice.

Avatar
#62 Bleak Winter
September 29 2011, 02:59PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Cogliano vs. Gagner is a sucker's bet... Why the ex-Oiler curse guarantees Cogs is good for 10 goals, 12 assists against the Oil alone this year, doesn't it??? If Gagner's going to have any hope of keeping pace with that we'll have to trade him within the division so he can beat up on us 6 times instead of 4...

Avatar
#63 Quicksilver ballet
September 29 2011, 04:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Max Powers - Team HME Evans wrote:

~What a brave prediction about a 1st overall pick~

I hope you're right.

Appologies Max, that does come across a little vague.

I meant he'll be a dominant player all that much sooner if he stays with the Oilers this year.

Avatar
#64 Chris.
September 29 2011, 05:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Stir it Up wrote:

@Gongshow

During the preseason Carlyle has been using Cogs on the wing with Selanne on the other wing and it has been working as their speed has been killing. If they keep this line up I see Cogs getting a few points. Trouble with Gagner is he has never gelled with any particular line mates since Cogs and Nillson. @ Robin who do you think would compliment Gagner as line mates?

Gagner played right wing on that line. (Cogs was the center). You can draw your own conclusions about what has to happen for Gagner to gell on a line.

Avatar
#65 Chris.
September 29 2011, 05:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Dman09 wrote:

Just like to throw this out there for all of you who like to rag on Gagner. Vincent Lecavalier 64games 54points and a -5

I'd give Gagner a lot more credit if I thought he could beat up Iginla and lead the Oilers to a Stanley Cup by the time he's 24.

Avatar
#66 DoubleA
September 29 2011, 06:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

....great kid and he's gonna be a great player. has all the tools along with the toolbox...would be VERY disappointed to see him sent back. he doesnt have anything left to accomplish back in the "w". cant wait to watch him play for the next 10 years!

Avatar
#67 DSF
September 29 2011, 09:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
smiliegirl15 wrote:

Cogliano may have not been someone who makes the players around him better but I think having stronger linemates will make all his hard work pay off.

I think Cogliano will have the better year.

And the better career.

Avatar
#68 OILERSORDEATH
September 29 2011, 09:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

So Doughty finally signs with LA.

Avatar
#69 melancholyculkin
September 29 2011, 09:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Archaeologuy

The argument for sending Hopkins down, just like with Hall last year, has nothing to do with size, strength, skill or speed.

It has everything to do with a little thing called the Salary Cap and the fact that the clock was already started on 3 ELCs last season.

Keeping Hopkins on the team past 9 games makes a whole lot of sense from a merchandising standpoint, but no sense whatsoever from an asset management standpoint.

Avatar
#70 Kodiak
September 29 2011, 10:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Dman09 wrote:

Just like to throw this out there for all of you who like to rag on Gagner. Vincent Lecavalier 64games 54points and a -5

And Vinny is physical, wins faceoffs and is solid defensively. There is a lot more to the game of hockey than points and the problem with Gagner is he doesn't possess any of them.

If Cogs had Gagner's linemates, icetime and PP time he'd already have outscored Gagner. Cogs played 135 more even strength minutes and 120 less PP minutes than Gagner and only scored 7 pts less than Gagner last year. I don't even think it will be close this year, mainly because I see Cogs playing a lot more games.

Avatar
#71 DSF
September 29 2011, 10:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Kodiak wrote:

And Vinny is physical, wins faceoffs and is solid defensively. There is a lot more to the game of hockey than points and the problem with Gagner is he doesn't possess any of them.

If Cogs had Gagner's linemates, icetime and PP time he'd already have outscored Gagner. Cogs played 135 more even strength minutes and 120 less PP minutes than Gagner and only scored 7 pts less than Gagner last year. I don't even think it will be close this year, mainly because I see Cogs playing a lot more games.

Precisely.

Cogliano is scoring a PPG in the pre-season and is over 50 percent in face-offs.

Amazing what playing with actual NHL players will do.

Avatar
#72 Robin Brownlee
September 29 2011, 11:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
melancholyculkin wrote:

The argument for sending Hopkins down, just like with Hall last year, has nothing to do with size, strength, skill or speed.

It has everything to do with a little thing called the Salary Cap and the fact that the clock was already started on 3 ELCs last season.

Keeping Hopkins on the team past 9 games makes a whole lot of sense from a merchandising standpoint, but no sense whatsoever from an asset management standpoint.

You have no idea what Edmonton's payroll will be two full seasons from now when Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi are up and if it'll mean a damn thing if/when Nugent-Hopkins needs a contract a full season later.

"Asset management?" How about keeping Nugent-Hopkins if he is ready to play and is capable of developing his skills at the NHL level now and sending him back if there's any question that's not the case? What a concept.

Asset management does not necessarily translate to delaying the first year of an entry level contract.

Avatar
#73 dougtheslug
September 30 2011, 01:03AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@DSF

Not exactly sure how "playing with actual NHL players" wins faceoffs, and I'd wait until the regular season before jumping on that bandwagon if I were you. My bet is is more of the same in Anaheim - point every 2-3 games, 40% or worse on the dot. Good riddance! We have better things to talk about now.

Avatar
#74 Archaeologuy
September 30 2011, 07:19AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
melancholyculkin wrote:

The argument for sending Hopkins down, just like with Hall last year, has nothing to do with size, strength, skill or speed.

It has everything to do with a little thing called the Salary Cap and the fact that the clock was already started on 3 ELCs last season.

Keeping Hopkins on the team past 9 games makes a whole lot of sense from a merchandising standpoint, but no sense whatsoever from an asset management standpoint.

Thankfully Robin already addressed this post, but since it was directed at me it will be my turn.

The argument, like it was for Hall, is good on paper at first glance but doesnt work at all in real life. It is focused solely on numbers and ignores all human elements at the cost of reason.

1) Everyone will know that RNH was sent away for contract reasons, including RNH. If you want that 7 year count down to truly represent his 7 years in Oiler Blue then let his first experience in Edmonton be a reminder that money IS everything. Then consider what it says to Hall and Eberle, that hockey doesnt matter here, just contract status and greed.

Nice message youve got going there to our young core. How are those "Assets" being affected by this decision?

2) There is no reason to believe that another year of juniour will help him develop into the player we want him to be. Sending him to a league with no challenges for him is supposed to make him better how? Did it help Tavares, who was extremely highly touted, to become a mega-star when he returned for his final year in JR? Obviously he had no choice, but he had missed the previous draft by only days and had petitioned to be included but was denied. He went on to play another year of JR even though he was already a dominant player. His NHL career doesnt appear to have been helped by that extra year at all.

So why is it good asset management to put such a highly skilled player back into a position where he wont face any challenges?

Consider the possibility that asset management and contract management are not the same thing. What's best for this "Asset" might be to develop under the tutelage of Tom Renney and the Edmonton Oilers.

Try to remember that we're talking about people, not numbers.

Avatar
#75 Robin Brownlee
September 30 2011, 07:38AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

@Archaeologuy

Just throwing out a term like "asset management" makes some people feel smarter, even if they don't have the slightest clue when it comes to applying it effectively.

And, as you point out, there are other factors at play, like the reaction of the "asset" to having the opportunity to earn a lot of money delayed, even if they've earned the right.

If RNH's entry level contract kicks in this year, he'll need a new deal for 2014-15. The Oilers will be rid of Gilbert and Khabibulin's contracts by then, to name just two, and will have one year of Horcoff left (at $3 million).

Avatar
#76 melancholyculkin
September 30 2011, 09:01AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Under the salary cap, the only way to compete is to have players that either provide value for their cap hit, or outperform their cap hit.

The simplest way to do this is to have talented young players on ELCs.

From a management perspective, players aren't players. They are cap hits and contract lengths. Sorry if that seems a little cold, but it's the reality.

Sit Hopkins down and explain to him that there is a plan. Explain to him that the goal is to make a deep run in 2013-14 or 21014-15 or whenever.

Explain to him that Hemsky, Gagner and Omark all need new contracts this summer and are all going to be requiring raises.

Explain that Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi, Petry and Whitney are going to need new contracts in two years time.

Explain to him that in order to make a run in spring of 2014 they are going to need to keep all those players, or replace them with someone of equal or greater value.

Explain to him that the CBA expires this season and nobody is quite sure what the landscape will look like in fall of 2012.

Tell him how great he is, how much they love him, how good the team is going be in a few years, give him his $93 000 signing bonus and send him on his way.

I'm pretty sure Hopkins' ego can handle it.

Avatar
#77 DSF
September 30 2011, 09:02AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
dougtheslug wrote:

Not exactly sure how "playing with actual NHL players" wins faceoffs, and I'd wait until the regular season before jumping on that bandwagon if I were you. My bet is is more of the same in Anaheim - point every 2-3 games, 40% or worse on the dot. Good riddance! We have better things to talk about now.

Playing with actual NHL wingers who can win a puck battle can go a long way to improving a centre's face off percentage.

Avatar
#78 melancholyculkin
September 30 2011, 09:18AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Robin Brownlee

I don't have a crystal ball, so I don't know what the Oilers salary structure will look like, but I can hazard a guess.

I can guess that Hall isn't going to be keen on giving up UFA years, so Tambellini will probably have to give him above market value in order to get him to commit to anything past 5 years.

Ditto for Eberle and Paajarvi. And Gagner this summer.

I can reasonably assume that long term, front loaded contracts are going to be illegal as part of the new CBA. Same with burying salary in the minors.

I can also guess that eventually the players are going to stop invoking the 5% inflator, and the cap could drop by up to $4 million anytime.

Avatar
#79 Robin Brownlee
September 30 2011, 09:23AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@melancholyculkin

How academic of you. Yes, from a "management perspective . . ." What a concise and obviously sensible approach. Agreed, one must plan for the cup run of 2014 because we all know it's going to work out exactly that way.

Good grief.

Avatar
#80 Bleak Winter
September 30 2011, 10:43AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@melancholyculkin

No matter whether his ego can take it or not, the gist of your explanation is that "we want to pay the others before we play you".

If he does everything to make the team and gives no compelling reason to cut him, you want to trot out some of the names on your list and explain why the need to pay them in the future is sending him down to junior? Omark hasn't even earned a raise yet and Petry may not crack the lineup out of camp himself this year. Any potential components in the AHL right now who's future contract concerns will take precedence? Be sure to mention those ones to him as well. It will only help him understand.

If he proves himself NHL ready and you send him to the dub, you're telling him you don't want him as a part of the growth and rebuild, but its okay if he jumps on a moving train later and comes along for the ride.

He may not say it to the media, but he'll probably take your explanation in the worst possible way. And if he doesn't, his agent will, and will surely bring it up at some point. That too will be "just business".

Avatar
#81 Robin Brownlee
September 30 2011, 10:44AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@melancholyculkin

"I'm pretty sure Hopkins' ego can handle it."

You are "pretty sure" because . . .? You've talked to Nugent-Hopkins? You've talked to his agent?

I wonder if there's room to doubt and dispute the surety of your assumptions here.

-- Give him his $93,000 signing bonus and send him on his way? Sounds like great cake for an 18-year-old, but might Nugent-Hopkins have a problem with that knowing he could earn 10 times that in salary alone or more than 40 times that amount this season if he trips all his bonus triggers?

-- Might Nugent-Hopkins and his ego have a problem with your logical approach if he's proven beyond any doubt he's ready to play in the NHL (and earn that money) and his GM has put a big-picture plan for 2014 ahead of that? "Sorry, kid. It's for the greater good. This is a business, you know? You'll have to deal with it."

A detached, all-business, here's-the-facts bottom-line approach has its place. Accounting departments and business offices are full of analysts and bean-counters who make valuable contributions to their companies and are paid well for doing so.

There's also a reason why it's prudent keep them as far down the hall as possible and away from the reception area and coffee room, thus avoiding that uncomfortable human interaction thing. You know, dealing with anything not found in a database or on a balance sheet. That, after all, can be so perplexing, confounding and convoluted -- like, for example, dealing with teenaged hockey players.

I'm pretty sure that, while you might have a firm grasp of the "management perspective" as it regards the hard, fast bottom line, you don't have the first clue (or regard) for the other side of the equation -- the people you call "assets."

Avatar
#82 dougtheslug
September 30 2011, 11:32AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Robin Brownlee

Not to mention the fans, who ultimately pay everyones salary. Do I really have to watch Gilbert Brule instead of RNH for a season because it makes "good business sense" in the long run?

Avatar
#83 Robin Brownlee
September 30 2011, 11:47AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@dougtheslug

Get serious, Doug. The smart people are going to get really pissed off. You want to drag consideration of the players AND the fans into this equation? What are you thinking?

Avatar
#84 Bleak Winter
September 30 2011, 11:59AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Robin Brownlee

Hey, I resemble those remarks! I may be an analyst/bean-counter, but even I think RNH should play this year. Often the most important assets a balance sheet has are the intangibles.

I admit I'm the bleakest, most pessimistic Oilers fan these boards may ever see, but I have a heart! Or at least, my doctor likes to listen for one once in a while...

Avatar
#85 Robin Brownlee
September 30 2011, 12:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Bleak Winter

True. I should use a *

*Not all bean-counters and analysts are heartless, soul-less, detached and incapable of social interaction because they got their heads flushed in the toilet too many times during PE class or after band practice in high school and have retreated to the sanctuary offered by the little office at the end of the hall. There is some variance.

Avatar
#86 dougtheslug
September 30 2011, 01:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Robin Brownlee

You're right. How foolish of me.I often hear knowledgable hockey people talking about the "business of hockey" yet I am struck by how clueless they are about what they think is being sold and what the customers(ie., the fans) are actually buying. If I want to watch a well run business I'll drive out to the airport and watch Westjet planes take off and land. But I doubt I'll do that 42 times in the middle of an Edmonton winter. What gets me out to the rink is something far different, far more difficult to articulate, than an accountant's bottom line.

Avatar
#87 Quicksliver Bullet
September 30 2011, 03:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Appologies Max, that does come across a little vague.

I meant he'll be a dominant player all that much sooner if he stays with the Oilers this year.

I completely agree with you; he will dominate. It's going to be a very interesting year.

Avatar
#88 melancholyculkin
September 30 2011, 06:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Are you guys familiar with Arbitrage? It's the practice of buying one asset for less than it is worth, while selling another asset for more than it is worth.

Delaying the clock on Hopkins' contract meets the first part of that definition. Until RNH plays more than 9 NHL games, the Oilers have not "bought him". As soon as he plays that tenth game his contract kicks in and the Oilers have to begin paying him for his services. Purchasing him, if you will.

Not only have they bought Hopkins for that season, but for the next 3. At a fixed price of $3.75 million.

I think it is likely that Hopkins at 23 is going to be better than Hopkins at 21. If, by delaying Hopkins' start in the NHL, his 23 year old season occurs while he is making $3.75 million then the Oilers have essentially bought him for more than he is worth.

Avatar
#89 melancholyculkin
September 30 2011, 06:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Robin Brownlee wrote:

How academic of you. Yes, from a "management perspective . . ." What a concise and obviously sensible approach. Agreed, one must plan for the cup run of 2014 because we all know it's going to work out exactly that way.

Good grief.

The Oilers are rebuilding. That means they are looking to win at a later date. This involves more than simply sucking and drafting high. A proper rebuild should involve managing the cap 3 or 4 years down the road.

So yes, if the Oilers goal is to make a run in 2014, and then be competitive for the forseeable future after this date, then they should plan accordingly. This means managing the Salary Cap in order to make this feasible.

Cramming a bunch of talented kids on ELCs, and wasting their value years in the process, and hoping that they become a good team is not good management.

As far as I can tell this is the Oilers strategy.

Avatar
#90 melancholyculkin
September 30 2011, 06:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Bleak Winter wrote:

No matter whether his ego can take it or not, the gist of your explanation is that "we want to pay the others before we play you".

If he does everything to make the team and gives no compelling reason to cut him, you want to trot out some of the names on your list and explain why the need to pay them in the future is sending him down to junior? Omark hasn't even earned a raise yet and Petry may not crack the lineup out of camp himself this year. Any potential components in the AHL right now who's future contract concerns will take precedence? Be sure to mention those ones to him as well. It will only help him understand.

If he proves himself NHL ready and you send him to the dub, you're telling him you don't want him as a part of the growth and rebuild, but its okay if he jumps on a moving train later and comes along for the ride.

He may not say it to the media, but he'll probably take your explanation in the worst possible way. And if he doesn't, his agent will, and will surely bring it up at some point. That too will be "just business".

Players get held back for contractual reasons all the time. It's part of the business reality of sports.

Evan Longoria was held back but still signed a long term deal. Spezza was sent back to junior and has signed multiple contracts with the Sens. Bobby Ryan was sent back to junior twice, and then to the AHL, but still signed.

Why did all of these guys sign instead of trying to screw the organization that "held them back"? They thought they had a chance to win.

If sending Hopkins back to junior for another year gives the Oilers a better shot at being in a position to win in a couple years, as I believe it does, then any sort of hurt feelings Hopkins may have will be washed away by the knowledge that he is playing for a good team with a legitimate chance to win.

Where is the evidence that spending an extra year in junior is going to harm RNH's development in any way?

Avatar
#91 Bleak Winter
October 01 2011, 01:05AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@melancholyculkin

If we were waiting for RNH to be perfect for working a deskjob in a cubicle your scenario would be flawless. Otherwise I don't agree.

Hockey players don't exist in a vacuum and they don't develop in one either. They don't all appreciate in value if you just leave them on the shelf for long enough. They are influenced by and likewise have an impact on their teammates' play and development. Where is the evidence to suggest the progress he can make in the WHL is equivalent to the progress he can make in the NHL?

Comparing 23-year old RNH to 21-year old RNH is pure speculation if the development tracks they've taken are different, and how do you determine whether the difference between two future imaginary RNH's is worth the differential in contract amounts? His second contract amount is also speculation. You're dealing with a boatload of variables! I suspect you trade options or futures?

You can manage contracts all you want but sooner or later you have to manage people. If he proves he's ready, and all we have to send him down is the contract argument, I hope we have some bloody convincing charts to show him.

As for smoothing things over with a "run at a cup"... There's no way to project or quantify that the oilers have any more shot at a cup 3 years out from now than at least 15 other teams in the league whether we manage RNH's ELC or not. If we're going to use that as a carrot, we better hope we can deliver. We have yet to prove we're better than 30th.

Comments are closed for this article.