First you get money:
- Cap space is one form of money, and the obvious one.
- Real spendable income is the other.
For some teams, the only thing that matters is the cap, not every team can (or is willing) to spend to the cap. And spending money for the sake of appearing competitive doesn’t do much good. Even with the salary cap rising and rising since the end of the lockout, getting rid of bad contracts requires you to find a fool to take the contract, wait it out, buy it out, or bury it (if possible) in the minors.
Then you get the power:
- One type of power is the ability from ownership to move and get a big name with presumably a big contract.
- Another is having few enough contracts signed to make it possible to take in multiple contracts if need be.
- Assets like draft picks and valuable prospects are highly useful.
- Fan support. Moving a big player in or especially out can have an effect on ticket sales and merchandise sales, and tv ratings.
- Manageable non-movement and non-trade clauses.
The balance of these powers isn’t always apparent, but they all play into the equation and whatever teams management say, the last one is a huge thing. Dennis Wideman was traded from Boston (in part) because he was being actively booed by the home crowd. Vincent Lecavalier wasn’t traded out not just because of his contract before Stamkos hit the team because he was the only name the casual Tampa Bay fan knew.
After you get the power, then people will respect you:
- Respect the other management enough to offer what they need at a reasonable price.
- Be honest about the condition of the players.
- Respect they players you are thinking of bringing in.
- Respect what your team, and coach do.
- The fan bases respect once lost (if ever acquired) is hard to get back.
Does anyone doubt the Canadiens fans would have been furious if two days after the Pacioretty hit the front office traded for Zdeno Chara? How well received do you think even the (apparently) reformed Matt Cooke would do with the Bruins fans (and players)? Can anyone anyone see Marty Broduer welcoming Sean Avery to the New Jersey Devils? I can’t see any of those things either.
When it comes to respecting what players do, if you’re looking to find a large physical pair of first line players who skate well and play gritty, trading for the Sedin twins is probably not your best option. Likewise Mike Green has several good qualities to his game, but if you need a premier shutdown defenseman, you’re shopping for a burka at Victoria Secret’s.
If you have a coach with a mouth like Boudreau’s, bringing in a guy like ‘hockey Tebow’ Rocco Grimaldi may not make for a great mix. Coaches who are well known for riding their veterans over young players, may not be the right guy to have in town if you’re attempting to rebuild with young talent. And of course a fairly young coach who played in the NHL recently might not be the best guy to put in charge of one of their former teammates or a player they had a contentious relationship with.
Coming up a look at who could land some of the big fish.