Thursday, July 7, 2011

Brian Burke Against Front Loaded Contracts

Fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs must be comforted by recent comments from Brian Burke that he has missed out on top quality free agents because he is morally opposed to signing front loaded contracts. Congrats Brian on being a moral man and sticking to your principles; but if most NHL teams are willing to sign these deals and many top free agents are seeking these deals, how are you making your team better by refusing to consider them? Perhaps you think they circumvent the spirit of the salary cap because you don't trust players to play to full term of the deals, but don't you think your team would be better with Brad Richards than Tim Connolly?

We also know that Brian Burke does not tend offer sheets to restricted free agents. While he has suggested in recent months that he'd be willing to consider them (my source being my Leaf fan friend who wants Burke to offer Stamkos a max deal), he has again ruled out this potential strategy in the same press conference where he condemned front loaded contracts. Personally I don't think that signing offer sheets should be taboo, but it isn't a terrible strategy to avoid offering them because generally you have to overpay so that the other team won't want to match. Burkie went nuts when Lowe signed that Penner contract, but with the signings we've seen in the years since, that Penner contract ended up being a very fair price (even if he sucked in his 1st year in Edmonton).

So Brian Burke has his morals, and won't use strategies or options which could improve his hockey team because he wants to make a stand on principle. Burkie gets to keep his integrity intact, but if I'm a Leafs fan, I'd be more than a little bit annoyed...

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