A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

they've broken out the crack pipes in st. louis.

Yesterday, the St. Louis Blues surprised me by flashing their team logo-emblazoned crack pipes.

They already had 14 players under contract for $24.566 million, including Keith Tkachuck ($7.6 M) and Doug Weight($5.7 M). The club has vowed not to buy out either of these guys. Nothing wrong with that. These are both point-a-night type of players. I might argue that Tkachuk is a little overpriced at $7.6 M, but that's not the point. Actually, I'd argue that he's way overpriced, but I digress. Weight, though starting to get old, is worth every penny. Still almost a point-a-night guy, he brings a lot more to that to the ice. His leadership abilities and his character make his teammates much better.

Here's where the crack comes in.

They announced yesterday that they've made a qualifying offer to RFA Chris Pronger for $7.22 million. Don't get me wrong. Pronger is an outstanding player. One of the best defensemen in a long time. Not only is he a brilliant defenseman, but he's got really good offensive skills as well. He won the Norris Trophy in 1999-2000, and was runner-up to Niedermayer in 2003-04. I think it's absurd that Niedermayer won an arbitration for a $7 million contract, so of course I'll think it's crack-headed for Pronger to get $7.22. Keep in mind that the maximum allowable salary with a $39 million cap will be $7.8 million. I don't know. I just don't like it.

Anyway, if they keep him, their salary obligations will be $31.786 million for 15 players. To fill out their 24-man roster, they'd only have $7.214 million left for 9 players. That comes to a little over $800k per player. The league minimum is $400k. This doesn't seem like a good situation for them.

Of course, there's rumors going around about an intent to trade. The one that I've heard is that they want to trade him to Altanta. For what, I don't know. They may also have something up their sleeve. Since they qualified him, that means they would be the recipient of draft considerations if another team outbids. My question there is who the hell is going to pay more than $7.22 million? He's a great player, and I think all 30 squads would absolutely love to have him, but not at that price. Same thing with Niedermayer. That's just too damn spendy. Actually, whether he's worth $7.22 million or not isn't the real issue. If you've got room under the cap, then it's a worthwhile price to pay. If you don't, it isn't. The real issue here is that they're not watching the cap.

The Blues have, in a crack-induced haze, spent themselves into a proverbial corner. They may have a plan to get out, but right now it looks bad.

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