Archive for June, 2010

Latest on Lilja

Update (11:04 PM): It is term for Lilja more than it’s money. Understandable, but again, not something the Wings can really offer him given what they have coming up. - Matt

Update (9:26 AM): Don’t miss Petrella’s take on this. He notes the line from the original Khan piece that puts the lie to Diamond’s claim about 8 minutes a night: Lilja averaged 14:08 in 20 games this past season. Yeah. - Matt

George has it. Basically, it sounds like he’s got an idiot agent who’s lying about the Wings’ side of things and distorting the numbers. (8 minutes a night? Come on.) Unless Lilja doesn’t get many bites on the open market, it looks like he’s gone. The Wings have already made their offer and it was pretty much take-it-or-leave-it.

I’m now thinking Lils isn’t just looking for an increase in salary. He wants term when he says he wants to secure his economic future. And the Wings probably can’t offer him that given their systemic defensive depth. That’s very unfortunate from a short-term perspective (though obviously great from a long term perspective).

Followup: Keeping Lilja

In light of the analysis of others, I think I should rework my chart:

Player Old Cap Hit New Cap Hit
Total salary commitments $57,292,045
Cap space for signing Lilja/Meech $2,107,955
(Calculations via CapGeek) (cap hit values in millions)
Darren Helm $.599 $.850
Patrick Eaves $.500 $.750
Justin Abdelkader $.850 $.800
Drew Miller $.500 $.700

Bullet points:

  • The consensus seems to be that Justin Abdelkader is going to have to take a cut in terms of cap hit if he’s looking for a one-year deal that will allow him the opportunity to shoot for more next summer. If he takes a multi-year deal (a tiered one, perhaps), his cap hit could go up. But I wouldn’t expect it to go up much. So yeah, my original tossed out number of $1 million is almost certainly way off base.
  • I do think Helm will earn more than Abdelkader. The guy has proven his worth and however high the Wings are on Justin, they are more so on Darren.
  • Eaves and Miller are sort of interchangeable to a degree, but I think Eaves offers more at this point. Hence the higher number.
  • These numbers leave about $2 million to coax Lilja into staying or for paying Derek Meech to watch games from the weight room. They save money going the second route, but do they really gain value that way? I don’t think so.
  • I’m not sure what exactly Lilja is looking for to shore up his financial future, but the Wings’ cap space isn’t likely to fill his need there. If they can offer him the possibility of breaking out of the confines of the third pairing and relief from babysitting either Ericsson or Kindl, maybe that’ll be enough. If the guy thinks no matter how good he plays he’ll never get to enjoy a quality partner, keeping him around will be tougher.
  • But the Wings do need him to do some babysitting: those two aren’t going to grow playing with some random veteran defenseman pulled in from outside the organization like they would playing with Lilja.

Lilja’s Side: I Kinda Want More Money and a Bigger Role

That’s what he told Helsingborgs Dagblad, anyway. He wants a chance to crack a team’s top four and earn some money for future financial stability. Understandable, though I wonder if a guy with his footspeed can really hold down top matchup responsibilities in today’s speedier NHL.

The “kinda” part comes in with his hedging comment about getting a chance to win the Cup if he stays in Detroit. To him, the issue is that he’ll just be a 5th defenseman at best here.

But, as Garth pointed out, you have to wonder what kind of market there is for -or at least what kind of money would be offered to- a defensman who spent an entire year on the sidelines due to a concussion. As thin as the free agent defenseman market is, it may be more than you’d think, but I’d say Lilja not likely to get the combination of money and playing time he wants with that history. At least not on a winning team.

Stick around and contend, Lils.

Keeping Lilja

Sorry for the lack of posts on the Draft this weekend. We were Up North and I didn’t have much computer time. But you’re probably already read up on the Wings’ picks, so I’ll leave it at that.

I tweeted about this on Friday, but wanted to expand on it here:

Fiddling w/ numbers on CapGeek. w/ a $59.4m cap, DET can keep Lilja even w/raises for Helm, Eaves, Abby and Miller. Just no Meech. Do it Ken

Unfortunately, CapGeek doesn’t offer permalinks for mocked up rosters using their cap calculator feature (feature request!), so I won’t dump the full generated roster on you. But here are my numbers for Helm, Abdelkader, Miller, Eaves and Lilja (cap hit values in millions):

Player Old Cap Hit New Cap Hit
Total salary commitments $58,942,045
Cap Space $457,955
Darren Helm $.599 $1
Patrick Eaves $.500 $.750
Justin Abdelkader $.850 $1
Drew Miller $.500 $.750
Andreas Lilja $1.250 $1.250

I figure Helm and Abdelkader are important enough to the team now to deserve that kind of raise. Conceivably, they could get less, of course. Maybe just to $900/$950. Miller and Eaves have obviously earned a paycheck higher than the half million they earned last year. I kept Lilja at the same rate because he didn’t necessarily earn a raise or a pay dock with that limited playing time. And the Wings can’t afford it.

This assumes Ken Holland sees the value in a guy like Lilja over a guy like Meech. I know I do. Meech is a nice utility player, but I thought Lilja looked great after returning from his concussion and I think he can be a more valuable guy to keep around. Especially when you think about the possibility of an all-youth third pairing on a Lilja-less team: Meech-Ericsson or Ericsson-Kindl or Kindl-Meech. Any way you cut it, that’s a recipe for disaster. One thing the Lebda-Ericsson experience showed is that there needs to be some experience anchoring down that end of the blueline.

Lilja may not be the first guy that comes to mind when you think “valuable experience,” but I’d much rather have him babysitting Jonny than Meech, who has been watching games from the stationary bike so much over the years that I have serious doubts about his ability to actually play hockey over the course of a full season any more.

So, give the forwards their raises, but in such a way that allows you to keep Lilja, Kenny. Please.

Cap Increase Voted Through

Update (4:57 PM): If the cap goes up over $59 million as Pierre Lebrun has been suggesting, maybe Lilja’s not out of play after all. – Matt

Red Wings Fan Hat

Great news:

NHLPA votes to keep 5 per cent growth factor in the salary cap. Expect a cap of $58.5- to $59-million to be announced by Friday.

The Wings need that space to finish their signings. So that’s great news for them as they’d be pretty well screwed otherwise.

Hockey fan/NHLPA Supporter Hat

That said, not sure this is so good for the PA. This isn’t the way to create unity between the top end players and the rest of the gang, as the guys at the bottom of the pack are going to take a hit due to escrow. That the Executive Board is ignoring that aspect of their constituency isn’t exactly encouraging for those of us who will side with the PA when CBA negotiations pick up. The NHL will bend the union over the barrel if the players aren’t united.

And I don’t like what this likely means for the agents’ role in the union. It’s time for the players to take control of their own fates and to stop letting those guys drive them.

Whatever further detail comes out on this is going to be interesting to watch.

Mark Your Calendars for H2H2

Update (4:30 PM): It’s actually looking like March 11th is going to work better, given that the 26th is likely to be sold out. That creates difficulties for us in getting a large enough section of seats. So, tentatively mark your calendars for the 11th and that weekend. - Matt

Don’t make any plans for the last second weekend of March 2011: per @jennyquarx, it’s looking like H2H2 will take place then, with the game against Toronto Edmonton on the 26th 11th as the centerpiece.

You have 9 months to get ready.