Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On to Plan B...again

This is starting to sound like a bit of a broken record, but Bob Gainey will have to make other plans now that it appears Mike Komisarek will be testing the free agent waters Wednesday.

This shouldn't come as a huge shock seeing as Komisarek's agent Matt Keator has a history of advising his players to take full advantage of free agency, and also when you remember Komisarek speaking about his time in Montreal in the past tense the day after the Habs were eliminated by the Bruins in the playoffs.

But if it's not a shock to Gainey, it has to be a disappointment. A huge one.

Gainey thus far has struck out on every major move he's attempted to make in this summer of opportunity, and even though Keator appears to suggest he'll give the Habs the right to match the offers his client receives, I'd be stunned if big No. 8 were back in Montreal next year.

So, no Lecavalier (so far), no Komisarek (so far), and tomorrow we'll find out if Gainey is able to nab those Sedin twins.

Over the course of Gainey's tenure as GM, free agency has not been very kind to him, to put it mildly. One of the two major signings he's managed to pull off blew up in his face, while he was left at the altar by any number of big name players. Mats Sundin, Marian Hossa, Brendan Shanahan, Brian Rafalski, Ryan Smyth, native son Daniel Briere, the list goes on and on.

Does anyone believe this time will be any different? I certainly don't.

Montreal sports radio station CKAC has an interesting comparison up on its website showing how much more a $5 million player pays in taxes by playing in Montreal compared to a few other NHL cities. Once you see that Gainey essentially would have to outbid the Flames by $500,000 per year to reach the same level of take-home pay, you start to understand the challenge that lies in front of him.

That is something that needs to be fully understood when complaining that Roman Hamrlik makes too much money, because once a player is on the open market, the Habs are forced to overpay.

So when Komisarek gets an offer from another team and Keator comes back to Gainey with the figure, Gainey will likely have to match Komisarek's take-home pay as opposed to his actual salary. Which means that whichever GM decides that Komisarek is worth $5 million a year, Gainey will need to go over that figure quite substantially just to match the offer.

Something tells me that Gainey's collar is starting to feel a little tight right about now.

Unless the Sedins happen to love poutine and strippers.


Andy J Smith illustration said...


[ said...

So if I read that CKAC article correctly, it is saying that the Habs effectively have less cap space than some teams because of taxes. Also, because the Habs have to pay more (overpay?) to be on par with other teams and attract players to Montreal they contribute to the inflation of salaries in the entire league.

It seems to me a quick-fix would be to measure the cap and salaries in "take-home" dollars. That would mean the Habs have to spend more, but still have the same player-paying ability as other teams. Also, contracts would be easier to compare if they were listed in take-home dollars.

Has this never come up in the Competition Committee?