Ray Shero: Big Dick Playa

I had originally written a post explaining the Tyler Kennedy situation and the consequences of non-tendering a viable player. Basically, non-tendering is generally something you do to someone who A) you don’t want on your team, and B) has no value around the league as a trade commodity. Kennedy, a young, lightning-bolt skater coming off a 21-goal season, has both value to the Penguins and value around the NHL. The move was very unusual, but there was method to the madness.

Today, as I suspected, the desired outcome: RW Pascal Dupuis re-signs with the team for below market-value, earning a very slight raise and a new two-year deal worth $3 million. Read about it here: http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/news;_ylt=AiPVg8VLCSzcaHKzvMHF_LV7vLYF?slug=ap-penguins-dupuis

How does this tie into Tyler Kennedy? I’ll explain shortly. First, let’s give some props to Penguins executive vice president Ray Shero, he of a massive dick and giant steel balls:

Congratulations, Ray. Because you took your sack and swung it like a wrecking ball, the Pens’ corps of Hired Help at forward will now get back in line behind the offensive talent (where they belong) and knock it off with the unrealistic salary demands.

My view is that Kennedy’s camp asked for a massive raise on his expiring RFA deal, which netted him $725,000 last year. Who knows, maybe they asked for $3 or $4 million dollars. You and I will likely never know.

Ray, being the cowboy that he is, shrugged his shoulders. “You’re right guys; TK can get that money on the open market. But he’s not getting it from Pittsburgh, because I have to pay for Sid, Geno, Mario’s tabs at Scores and Quaker Steak and Lube, and Jagr’s impending gambling debts. If your client wants to keep playing for a first-class organization and winning Cups, he needs to leave money on the table. Otherwise, he can enjoy collecting his $3.5 million per from the fucking Florida Panthers.”

By taking the hard line with Kennedy, the Pens’ most desirable free-agent to retain and a player drafted and developed under Shero’s watch, a precedent was set: the Pens can, and most likely will, win future Stanley Cups without you. The Pens win because they have five All-World talents at key positions, not because they overpay third and fourth-line types to run the forecheck (see the ’09 Cup run versus the ’11 Game 7 loss in the Eastern Quarterfinals).

Pascal Dupuis, quickly smartening up and remembering where his bread was buttered, did the smart thing and signed a manageable contract. This is the same thing Craig Adams did two weeks ago (of course, Adams is a Harvard man, and can read market dynamics as well as use common fucking sense). I think you will see one or two others players follow suit, with a couple of the dummies electing to go to July 1st and signing with some also-ran club.

For the record, here are my predictions based upon Ray winning the Battle of Wills with a bunch of low-rent sports agents:

* By Friday,  RW Tyler Kennedy will re-sign for three (or possibly four) years at a manageable Cap number between $1.5 and $2 million.

* By Friday, the Pens will announce a tentative one-year deal with RW Jaromir Jagr. The salary may or may not be announced, as it could be subject to further negotiation based upon how Shero decides to flesh out his roster

* C/LW Mike Rupp will come to his senses and sign a two-year, $900,000 deal. He’s a nice guy to have around, but if he decides he wants more money, I’m sure the Islanders would be happy to give him $2 million a year to help them finish in fourth or fifth place in the Atlantic.

* C/W Max Talbot will take more money to play elsewhere and severely regret the decision. I think Tampa Bay, the New York Islanders, Montreal, and Minnesota are the likeliest destinations. Max made $1.025 million against the Cap next year; market-value for an undersized checking center with big-time Stanley Cup experience is probably $1.5-$2.5 million, depending on if you see Max as more like fellow French pest Max Laperriere or an in-his-prime John Madden.

* RW Eric Godard will re-sign for a very similar Salary and term (I say two years, $800,000) after everyone else is taken care of.

* RW Aaron Asham will test the market and find someone willing to pay him market-value (which I gauge as a shade under $2 million – Philadelphia? New York Rangers? He seems to enjoy Atlantic Division hockey)

* Chris Conner will take more money and a higher spot on the depth chart to play elsewhere. No idea how much or where.

* Later in the summer, Shero will add some gem veteran forward who wants to take an under-market salary for a great chance at winning the Cup. He’s done this in previous summers with Matt Cooke (two years, $1.2 million per), Jay McKee (one year, $800,000), Aaron Asham (one year, $700, 000) and Mike Comrie (one year, $500,000). While some of those guys worked out and some didn’t, they were all low-risk/high-reward signings. A player or two of that caliber will decide they would rather take less money and win than take extra money to sign with a Cap floor team and struggle to make the playoffs.

Don’t forget, Dustin Jeffrey and Eric Tangradi are relative locks to make the team, while guys like Ryan Craig and Nick Johnson have outside shots. The difference between paying Craig the league minimum ($500k) and overpaying a Rupp or a Talbot to play essentially the same role on the fourth line is probably the difference between signing a difference-maker (like Jagr) or picking up a rental at the Trade Deadline.

Ray Shero has a bigger dick and more brains that both you and player agents at-large. Don’t you forget it.

About sfarrell11000
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2 Responses to Ray Shero: Big Dick Playa

  1. PensFan1103 says:

    We have 3 Forward slots available at the moment and you have 7 guys slotted into those slots, possibly more with Craig and Johnson having outside shots. How does that work exactly?

    • Last year, the Pens carried two extra forwards for the duration of the year, in addition to one extra defenseman

      As you may recall, Lovejoy and Engelland basically had to alternate spots before the injuries piled up. This situation wasn’t ideal, but either of those guys who have been snapped up on waivers had the Pens tried to send them to Wilkes-Barre.

      As for the forwards, the Pens lucked into Mike Comrie and Aaron Asham, plus Mark Letestu played his way onto the team out of camp. NHL rosters permit 23 players, and teams typically dress 12 forwards, 6 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders for a total of 20 in the lineup.

      After the Dupuis signing, the team looks like this:

      Neal – Crosby – Dupuis
      Staal – Malkin – _______
      Kunitz – Letestu – _______
      Cooke – Adams – Jeffrey

      Most reports have the Pens signing Jagr and Kennedy. I’m cautiously optimistic.

      If those one or both of those guys can’t be signed, the team debates filling one of those right wing spots internally (with Tangradi or Jeffrey) or externally (somewhat from the vomit-inducing free-agent list).

      Count on the Pens signing a fighter, most likely Eric Godard. If the Pens sign both Kennedy and Jagr, that would allow two additional forwards on the roster; presumably Tangradi and Jeffrey. I repeat, it’s extremely unlikely Ray Shero will sign external free agents unless they want to play below market value for Pittsburgh (like Asham and Comrie last year). If you recall, we entered the year with 13 forwards on one-way deals despite wanting to give Letestu, Jeffrey, Conner, and Tangradi a fair shake to make the roster.

      If the Pens do not sign Jagr and/or Kennedy, that slides Jeffrey and Tangradi up the depth chart. At that point, fringe guys like Ryan Craig or Nick Johnson could possibly play their way onto the third or fourth lines with strong training camps.

      Hope that answers the question

      TFK

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