Friday, June 27, 2003

-- Some more details on Pavel's contract: It's 1 year, $1.5 million with bonus clauses and a club/player option for a second year at the same salary. Pavel turned down a higher offer from Ak Bars Kazan, his old Russian Elite League team who called him constantly, to stay with the Wings. It's nice to see some team loyalty these days. While Pavel never signed with Kazan, the offer did affect negotiations and the Wings gave Pavel more than they would have. He only earned $650,000 last year. The Wings offered 4 or 5 years at a lower salary but Pavel's agent pushed for one year at a higher salary to give Pavel a chance to make more next season and leave him free to negotiate afterward. The two sides compromised with the option year. If Datsyuk reaches certain statistical marks, the option will be his and he'll be able to negotiate with the Wings as a restricted free agent. If he doesn't reach the mark, the Wings get the option and can bring him back at the same salary. They won't say what the marks are but Pavel's agent thinks they are very fair. -- No more real news on Hasek's return yet. I've come to the conclusion that Hasek is the best of the Wings' two options. First, he is the better goalie, year off or not. He may be out of shape and out of practice but he will be able to get that back by the playoffs. The Wings don't need him to play great during the season, they can use Manny if they have to then. As long as he's ready for the playoffs, that's all that matters. It's a gamble but with Dominik's work ethic, I think it's a gamble worth taking. Second, he only has one year left on his contract, this next season. After this coming season, the CBA expires. Most people expect a lockout and a loss of the '04-'05 season. A lockout alone will tear apart the Wings. The majority of their veteran players will either retire or go back to Europe to play there. The Wings will be a much different team for the '05-'06 season, even if their isn't a salary cap. I think having Hasek in net gives the Wings the best chance of winning a Cup before they become that much less of a great team. Third, a salary cap will further rip the Wings apart. Having a goalie that costs $8 million a year when the salary cap is $32 million is not very smart. The Wings need to get rid of that $8 million now so they don't have to after the new CBA comes into effect. Keeping Hasek and dumping Joseph will leave the Wings in a fairly good position in '05-'06. They will have Manny Legace in net and perhaps Stefan Liv or Jim Howard backing him up. The league overall will be a more even playing field, though with much less talent. The Wings will remain competive and still have room for other players that they wouldn't have if they keep Joseph and his $8 million contract.


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