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Yzerman back in stealth mode, FA market crash

October 14, 2020, 8:36 PM ET [23 Comments]
Jeremy Laura
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Yzerman has revamped Detroit’s roster with a series of decisive signings (and non signings plus 1 buyout) and things went quiet again. We know that Mantha is at the table, and Bertuzzi will be next. With Tyler’s arbitration filing, there is at least a timeline. By October 25th, things will be near completion if not finished. In all honesty, if Yzerman “stands pat” at this moment, I think it’s a job well done for the offseason. Even without Tyler Johnson in tow (as I’ve been a huge advocate of acquiring him).

Tyler Johnson’s value is obviously at its low point. He cleared waivers and no team was willing to take on his salary. Mark Easson wrote a piece (follow the link) suggesting that TB will have to add players and/or picks to move the centerman. Alex Killorn is mentioned (I’d take that deal). Easson also gives some insight into the free agent market and what players and agents are dealing with.

Here’s one quote on free agency:

“I can give an example of a player who was making between $3 million and $4 million last year – a very good player – who has had teams offer a lot of one-year deals at $1 million or less.

Read a little further down and you’ll see that players are complaining about the salary floor (not the cap) and exploring the franchise tag. I can guarantee more than a few players regret not taking offers made a few months ago. Due to lack of revenues (we still don’t know the full affect yet) offers are low. Very, very low. No wonder Johnson didn’t get picked up. If he was a free agent, teams would be offering 1/4 of his current contract.

Brace yourselves ladies and gentlemen, at some point we’re going to find out the revenue gap and it will be more than the initial 1 billion reported. It is harder to get “hard” numbers on the NHL Playoff views than the NBA. The NBA was down more than 50%. The NHL measures viewership differently and between multiple carriers. IE, viewing “not at home” has entered the equation and makes the numbers look much better. The benchmark will be calculated in dollars. Hard Revenues will be reported at some point. “Non traditional viewing” doesn’t create near the same dollar amounts as television deals. We’re also waiting to see if there is a “make good” on several markets where the TV deals recoup penalties if the NHL season is less than 82 games.

The final sprinkles on this sundae for the free agents is an agreed upon 20% fixed escrow. So, not only are the deals going to be lower, kiss 20% goodbye. If I’m a player, I’d attempt to work without an agent or get my agent to agree to greatly reduced fees for now. Claim your maximum deductions and work closely with an accountant. The days of easy dealing are on hold at this point.

Yzerman still has cap to work with, but holding out now seems smarter than ever. Players aren’t fighting the cap as much as they are fighting internal budgets and GMs who are well aware of their leverage. The frenzy may have slowed down, but things are getting interesting in the “business” of hockey.
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