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Poor Buffalo (and Other Small Market Teams) ...

According to Bucky Gleason, who discusses front-loaded contracts in his Sunday column in The Buffalo News.

In fact, big-market teams do have a distinct edge. Teams from larger (see: wealthy) markets, such as Philadelphia and New York, can offer longterm deals loaded with more money up front because they can afford to buy out players toward the end of the contract. The structure of the deals helps them circumvent the salary cap while still drawing the better players.
Understand, the big-market advantage wasn't the reason the Sabres lost Drury and Briere. They could have kept both for less money over fewer years than the co-captains eventually received as unrestricted free agents. It wasn't until Drury and Briere hit the open market that New York and Philly could impose their leverage.

Read the whole thing here.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  July 15, 2007; 11:44 AM ET
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Poor Buffalo? They had the opportunity to win it all last season with Drury and Briere and they simply blew it.

Posted by: Mo | July 15, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

F buffalo

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Buffalo's problem was/is thier "policy" of not negotiating contracts during the season. In addition, it should be noted that Drury and Briere weren't even approached until the final week of June.

Posted by: Big Dave | July 15, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I think there's a lot of small-town boosterism going on by people who don't want to think about it critically and realize that poor management, not big money, is the reason for a lot of what's going on.

Does the current structure have problems? Of course it does. Is it the fault of the salary cap every time a free agent leaves a less glamorous small market team that didn't pursue them until the last minute for a big, glitzy city that had an offer in at the bell at above market price? Of course not, but it sounds better if you're a home fan.

Posted by: KurtYungel | July 15, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Uh: Buffalo is stupid, ergo woe are small-market teams? Lame.

Posted by: TLGDC | July 15, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

A small market team like the '05-06 Canes? Or the '03-'04 Lightning?

If anything, the big markets (with the exception of the Detroit of 10 years ago) are proving that you can't buy a cup.

KurtYungel nailed it in his first sentence, and at this point Edmonton and Buffalo are the official poster-children for mismanaged teams crying foul over "big money" tempting players elsewhere.

I feel for a small portion of the Buffalo fans - the ones who aren't obnoxious twatwaffles. There aren't too many, but I've met a couple. Everyone else can go cry me a freaking river.

Posted by: HolyOlie | July 15, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

ha, you said twatwaffle

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2007 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, let's all pile on Buffalo. The point is not about feeling "sorry" for any small market teams, it's that New York and Philly pulled in all the major talent with the megabucks contracts. Washington said up front they were not going to "overpay" to attract any of the first-tier free agents, so naturally they didn't get a sniff. It's about the money not "management". You'd think someone like Scott Gomez would jump at the chance to play with OV and feed him the puck for the rest of his career - even for less money - but no way, it's about chasing the dollar. That's what free agency is about. Except for Nylander - thankfully.

Posted by: tokyo fan | July 16, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I could care less where Scott Gomez is playing, or where he signed. But to use him as an example of a player who "went for the money" may not really be fair. He DID sign for big bucks, but maybe he wanted to stay in the same geographic area, maybe he wanted to play for a team that went to the 2nd round last year and is willing to spend to put a winner on the ice. Or maybe he really likes playing with a huge whiner in Jagr. The thing is, he likely got the same offers from a lot of different teams. NJ likely would have put up the $ if they had the cap flexibility.

I don't see why the players are the evil ones when teams can't manage their freaking caps to keep their key players. Buffalo was right against the cap, decided to wait to negotiate contracts, and then lost their players. That's their fault...they could have afforded to keep at least one of them.

Notice how the Caps are (in theory) pro-actively trying to sign OV. Then look at Buffalo with Vanek...they let him hit RFA and he signed a monster deal and then Buffalo was forced to sign him for more than they probably would have if they had proactively negotiated. So be it.

Posted by: Jeff | July 16, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Who cares about Buffalo?

Posted by: Finn | July 16, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

no one thats the point

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Still think the fans will come out to Verizon by the bus-load if they have just an 'ok' year? No Drury, Briere...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I still don't think it's correct to say that these teams are "circumventing" the salary cap. The CBA foresaw and expressly allowed for deals like this. It's not like this is some loophole someone cleverly discovered. In the back years of those contracts, the salary cap hit will be higher than the salary paid, which is a another kind of limitation on the team. And even if they enter these deals with the idea that they can buy them out in the later years, then they are commiting themselves to always having dead money under their caps. I don't see this as being nearly as big an advantage as Gleason does.

Posted by: norske | July 16, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if this guy hears the world's smallest violin playing for him?

Posted by: Turner | July 17, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

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