Why the big names won’t be chosen in the Expansion Draft

By Bill Placzek
SCOOP up those Messiers. This was my thinking in the first year of this wave of expansion, but I quickly realized that if your salary starts out outrageous, you will sooner than later contend with an outrageous salary transferring over to guys on your roster who were ranked #16 on their original teams rosters. Follow me on this: The “star” comes and makes 4 mil. and plays first line wing for example. The guy you got playing second line gets lucky and scores 5 goals and 20 points less than your ‘star’, so when his contract is up, he goes to arbitration and has a strong case for a huge raise. this continues throughout your entire roster.

When there was the first wave of expansion from 6 to 12 teams, a guy could come in from an original six roster and establish himself as a let’s say, #1 or #2 defenseman, on an expansion team. An original club would see his improvement over the course of say three years, and might have a chance to trade for him. THEY would not because he would want the money level he was getting on the weaker club. (He IS worth it you say?) He may be…but when he arrives your #2-4 guys know he is as good as they are and getting paid more than he is worth compared to them. The term “it will throw off our salary base” has always been a major concern by NHL owners even when they were making a killing at the gate, and had players at next to nothing wages.

These new teams cannot do that! They can, as a tactic, draft the maximum number of goalies in the Expansion Draft. Then, no matter what they do, they get paid and auction them off ala Trevor Kidd. I thought as you did, but eventually had the management guys make it more clear from the business standpoint. As fans we just want parity fast, because everyone benefits. The Blackhawks play Nashville and Columbus about 2 dozen more times then I need to see either, and the GMS are clamoring for more separate “pocket league” play. That might be OK if the expansion teams were up to beating the top clubs consistently, but these clubs are on the par with the original expansion club, the Blackhawks!