An interesting question posed by Drew Remenda
Sharks television color commenter Drew Remenda has been fairly active on the Seagate Broadcaster's Blog this summer, and the last few weeks have been no exception. After news broke that Antti Niemi would not be re-signed by the Blackhawks this summer, Remenda posed this question to readers:
The big question is will the fans understand? Would you support a management who puts together a team that wins you a Cup, knowing within weeks of that joyous day the team is going to be blown up? Would you proudly still buy the tickets, the jerseys, stand on the parade route for hours knowing that half of the guys you are cheering for now will be gone and you will be cheering against them the next season?
In other words would you make the deal with the cap devil to win you a Cup knowing that it may be some time before you can do it again? It took the Chicago Blackhawks 49 years to win the 4th Stanley Cup in franchise history. How long will it take for them to do it again?
I don't think I would have any problem with the Sharks winning a Cup and being forced to watch eight non-core players leave to different teams in the summer, nor would I be especially concerned with the amount of time it would take the Sharks to do it again. The Stanley Cup is the most difficult championship to win in all of sports, and even if Chicago had been able to retain the likes of Dustin Byfuglien and Kris Versteeg next season, there's absolutely no guarantee they would be able to re-create that feat again.
In other words, I sell my soul to the salary cap devil if a Stanley Cup win is a guarantee for the team I support.
Maybe a better question, at least for our purposes here on Fear The Fin, is this-- would you institute a salary structure like the one Chicago had in place last season (i.e. lots of young talent that hasn't had their big contracts kick in yet, lots of young players who you won't be able to afford next season) and hope that you do win the Cup in that small time frame, or do you play it close to the vest and build a team that is able to compete every single year like the Sharks have done? In other words, do you roll the dice on one season where the deck is stacked in your favor, or do you rely on long-term planning in order to ensure that your Stanley Cup window stays open longer than it would if you loaded up in one year?
I take the conservative approach every single time, for the sole reason that I mentioned above-- the Stanley Cup is the most difficult championship to win in all of sports. Sure I would love to have a stacked deck for one season, but I don't think that's an especially effective mindset to take when trying to land the holy grail. Way too many factors to contend with. You have injuries, hot opposing goaltenders, cold shooters, unknown variable after unknown variable. If just one or two of these things breaks against you all of a sudden you're on the outside looking in, your opportunity squandered. Then the salary cap hammer hits and you're struggling to keep your head above water. With a conservative approach, you're constantly putting yourself in the position to win. A more diverse portfolio, with your risk spread across multiple seasons, if you will.
I'll complain about Doug Wilson's signing of Jamal Mayers and Niclas Wallin. And I'll throw up a little in my mouth when Kent Huskins contract gets mentioned. But one thing I'll never do is call for Doug Wilson's head, because he has consistently put his team in position to win ever since the NHL lockout. There's a lot not to like about his tendency to overvalue the "rink rat," but there's a helluva lot to love about his conservative approach to building a winning organization through the addition of core players, role players, and drafting talent that eventually go on to skate in 200+ NHL games.
In other words, I never sell my soul to the salary cap devil if a Stanley Cup win is not a guarantee for the team I support. And I'm glad that Doug Wilson hasn't either.