Monday, September 12, 2005

Bondra comes cheap

From The Fourth Period:

TFP has learned that the Atlanta Thrashers have agreed in principle to a one-year deal with veteran winger Peter Bondra.
According to a league source, Bondra's deal is filled with incentives, while his base salary is just over $500,000.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is also reporting that the Thrashers have agreed to a deal with the 37-year-old, which can see him earn more than $3 million if he reaches all of his incentives.

"What surprised me was that he really wanted to come here and kept coming back to us with so many alternative ways," Thrashers GM Don Waddell told the Journal-Constitution. "I didn't want to tap too much money with Ilya [Kovalchuk] being out there..."
Bondra had also been negotiating a contract with the Washington Capitals, as Caps GM George McPhee and Bondra's agent, Ritch Winter, met over the weekend but could not come to terms on a deal.

Meanwhile, the Thrashers have pitched a few offer to Kovalchuk that, according to the Journal-Constitution, is "the largest in league history for a player coming off his first contract."

Waddell expects to speak again to Kovalchuk's representative, Jay Grossman, some time today.

"Our goal is to get him in here as soon as possible," Waddell said. "It's in everyone's best interest."

Now that, my friends, is how you sign a still theoretically skilled question mark like Bondra without putting yourself in a bad financial situation. In fact, I'm surprised that more teams this off-season didn't hand out similar offer sheets to more high-risk players (actually, come to think of it, calling Bondra "high-risk" is probably a little excessive; the guy has, after all, scored 140 goals and 256 points in 312 games since the turn of the millennium. Certainly, there are far worse ways to spend a $500,000 base. And hey, if he scores like he should, $3 million's not even that bad.)

My point? As usual, why the fuck can't the Oilers make a deal like this? Seriously. Christ, people, it's possible to add scoring to your team without committing yourself to a multi-million-dollar, four-year deal, you know.

Bah... but good on Waddell. He's made some smart moves. Though he remark about the potential Kovalchuk deal is a little foreboding for those who hold fiscal sanity in high regard.


mike w said...

Nice picture. That has to be the most boring toys ever.

Yeah, I was surprised by the free agency period and more surprised contracts weren't more structured along these lines, especially after such a long layoff.

Maybe it will be a few years before GMs have to contend with bloated payrolls and dead space on within their salary caps. I know Curtis Joseph and Jason Allison signed bonus-laden contracts, I think with raises mostly for games played, which makes sense.

Kevin Lowe is one bad move away from making me think he's an okay judge of talent, but not much of a negotiator (Messier's almost-contract for almost any price was a close shave). We haven't had a "steal" for awhile.

Some of the Restricted Free agent signings seem nice and sane (Hemsky, Torres), but I worry Lowe might end up proving guilty of blowing his load on big names down the line.

You could even argue that Pronger was well overpaid for too long (6.25 x 5 years), when you think we gave up 3 players, one of them a possibly great defencman, and St. Louis was screwed fiscally, with Pronger wanting out anyway. Peca is overvalued, but we'll see about that, won't we?

She got the Jack said...

The problem with a contract like this is that either it pays off or it doesn't.

If it pays off, you have to keep enough cap money aside to ensure you can pay him.
If the guy tanks, the GM is twisting in the wind along with the player (i.e. leaving cap space and getting nothing for it). It seems politically dangerous.

Every situation is different. It seems like a good fit in Atlanta. If Bondra plays his way into a $3-4 million paycheque, it's worth it. If he tanks, big deal, but a more savvy fanbase would eat the Thrashers alive if the balloon pops.
Also, no one is reading this because tells me that Smyth just signed. 2x$3.5 million. Huh.