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

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Jared Aulin not given qualifying offer

It was just brought to my attention that Jared Aulin was not given a qualifying offer by his team.



Remember the guy who the Caps ended up with as a result of two ill-advised straight up trades during the 03-04 season? Sure you do. I've written about this many times before. Jaromir Jagr was traded from Washington to the Rangers straight up for Anson Carter. Six weeks later, Carter was traded to the Kings straight up for Jared Aulin. Aulin never suited up for the Caps, but notched 39 points (11/28) in 61 games with the AHL Hershey Bears.

Last summer, Caps owner Ted Leonsis tried to justify the trading of name brand players like Sergei Gonchar and Jaro Jagr by saying something tantamount to "two birds in the bush are worth one in the hand". He'd rather have prospects and late round draft picks than bona fide stars. He didn't want to have to sell his yacht or his Ferarri in order to be able to afford Jagr. Instead, he authorized a series of incredibly stupid trades, and then triumphantly declared in an August 2005 letter to the fans
"We now have Jared Aulin in the organization as a result of the Jagr trade".

The joke is now on Leonsis, as Aulin has not been tendered a qualifying offer, and the Caps now have zero return on the Jagr trade. This season, Jagr won the Lester B. Person award, finished second in the balloting for the Hart Trophy, and was second in both total scoring (123) and goals (54). Aulin didn't play in the NHL.
To make it even more interesting, Anson Carter had a very good season, playing on the Sedin line in Vancouver, scoring 55 points (33/22). He is an UFA, and will probably be somewhat of a commodity.

What will happen when Ovechkin's rookie contract expires after the 07-08 season? Surely Leonsis won't be able to afford him then. I wonder what kind of trade will take place.

In other Caps news, Jeff Halpern is now a Star. Who will be the Captain?


JP said...

Where to begin? I guess I'll address this post player-by-player:

1. Jared Aulin - The guy was a highly-rated prospect who never regained his form after a shoulder injury. He had 175 points in his last two seasons in the WHL (in 116 games) and was a point-per-game guy in his rookie AHL season. The Caps took what they could get for a worthless (to them) Anson Carter on the chance that Aulin could stay healthy and regain form. He couldn't. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. Which brings us to...

2. Jaromir Jagr - In the summer of 2000 the Caps thought they were one scorer away from being a contender. After all, they were one year removed from a SE Division Championship, a couple of years removed from a Cup run and one year removed from their goalie winning the Vezina. So management made the boldest move in team history sending three players (none of whom has been a regular NHLer) for the best player in hockey. The move backfired, though, as Jagr showed his whiny prima-donna side and the coach couldn't control him. So management tried to appease him by bringing in his buddy Robert Lang (the biggest free agent signing in team history) and a new coach, but it didn't change anything - Jagr was unhappy in Washington, so Operation Shutdown commenced.

The team had tried winning one way - the big name player way - and it didn't work. So they had little choice but to cut their losses and try building a team the right way. Obviously the team got very bad very fast, which put them in a position to draft...

3. Alexander Ovechkin - The Caps have the pieces in place to build around AO (the Anti-Jagr, attitude-wise), and have done everything to make the kid happy (admittedly, it seems pretty easy). Not only that, but the recent run the team made at signing Zdeno Chara as a free agent (up to $7m per year, according to some reports) indicate that the team is more than willing to spend when they're a player or two away from contending. There is absolutely no reason to think the Caps "won't be able to afford" Alex when he becomes a free agent.

4. Jeff Halpern - He'll be missed, but at $2m per year for 4 years it made no sense for the Caps to sign him. My bet on the new captain? No one. I'd expect the Caps to go with alternate captains only, until someone steps up and fills that role. Alternatively, I think Brian Sutherby would be a decent choice.

Finally, I think the ad hominem attacks on Ted Leonsis are off-the-mark and unfair. First of all, implying that someone who's lost tens of millions of dollars on a sports team is cheap is kinda silly. Secondly, belittling the most accessible owner in professional sports for trying to please the fans also makes little sense. Finally, if you think Jaromir Jagr was going to put Leonsis in the poor house, you underestimate the man's personal wealth.

Dave said...

5 years ago the Caps were willing to shell out ~9M on a 30 YO proven headcase. I can't imagine they will be unwilling to pony up a little more than half that to retain a 24 year-old back-to-back-to-back-to-back 100+ point scorer who the fans actually like.

d-lee said...

Oh. I know all about his personal wealth. I know AO isn't going to put him in the poor house, but his justification for getting rid of Gonchar (good move) and Jagr (bad move, in retrospect) was that it was purely financial. Assuming he continues to play the way he has, when AO's rookie contract expires, he'll deserve something like $5M (or more). You're right in suggesting that they'll happily pay a guy like Ovechkin, but Ted should never have explained the Jagr situation as being a financial matter.
Ted contacted me after I criticized his (in my opinion) solipsistic "101 goals in life" and tried to enumerate the ways that he's just a normal guy. I know he invited you into his owner's box. I know also that he makes a lot of efforts to make the fans happy. This is admirable and quite rare. Most owners don't actually give a crap about the fans and wouldn't dream of inviting any of them into their private box.
Of course my attacks on Leonsis are a little unfair. However, I still fail to buy his "I'm just a normal guy" routine. Without the "101 goals in life" list, it might be a lot easier to buy, but I'm just not buying.

Dave said...

the descision to ship jagr was good in every respect, retro or otherwise. There is nothing - zero, to suggest that he would have been anything more than a overpaid, under-performing headcase in DC.

Leonsis, the owner of an tanking team in a league that was about to have its entire pay-structure redefined, would have been a fool to sink another 20M into a player who was an underwhleming locker-room cancer.

Jagr played well here in NY for reasons unknown to any of us, maybe he didn't like DC, maybe he hated the uniforms (I know I do) maybe Straka makes great brioche - who knows.

of course the decision was financial - it's a business.

Finally - like memoirs, diaries and hockey blogs - 101 Reasons is solipsistic, not sure how that prevents you from finding him "normal" I think you'll find that your average billionatre is a little more self-obsessed than guys like you and me (forgive me for making an assumption w/r/t your personal worth) and the drive that garnered his millions is the same drive that excluded him from the normal guy club before we even knew about the 101 reasons.

JP said...

I'm not sure why you think the Jagr deal was purely financial. To me, the deal was just admitting that the model they thought would produce a winner clearly wasn't going to. They cut their losses on Jagr, on Gonchar (we now have Shaone Morrisonn, Boston has nothing and Pittsburgh has a ridiculously overpaid defenseman), etc. and now have the foundational pieces in place that they lacked before.

Sure, there's a business side to the sport, but saying that the "firesale" was all about money isn't accurate, imo.

One last Jagr anecdote - when Bruce Cassidy coached the team he'd literally run practices where the whole team was doing drills at one end of the ice while Jagr skated around shooting pucks into an empty net at the other end. Does that sound like a good way to build a winner?

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