Monday, August 3, 2009

When The Rich Get Richer

We cannot pretend to know the finances of the KHL. According to this site, the KHL salary cap for the 2009-10 site is 620 million rubles, with one 'franchise player' exception. 620 million rubles is approximately 20 million dollars. We do not know how the KHL makes a profit, or if it does.

Jiri Hudler received a 2 year, 10 million dollar (tax-free) contract in Russia. This is probably equivalent to receiving around $20 million playing hockey here, considering taxes and cost-of-living. However, many players who played in Russia during the lockout of 2004-05 did not like the rigorous practices and more strict discipline that Russian teams tend to have. It remains to be seen whether Hudler will stay in the KHL when his contract is up.

However, the Red Wings got a serious boost when an arbitrator ruled that Jiri Hudler would receive a 2 year, 5.75 million dollar deal if he returns to the NHL. According to BehindTheNet, Hudler was third on the Wings in Goals/60 minutes. In fact, Hudler receives well below average ice time given his skill level - Hudler was 333rd in the NHL in Even Strength Time On Ice for forwards. His even strength shooting percentage was not out of line with the rest of the Red Wings either, shooting a 7.9%. This is a tremendously skilled player.

The Red Wings are lauded for their remarkable ability to find skill players, but that time may be at an end. We are not convinced that of the trio of Leino, Abdelkader, and Helm who so wowed the NHL establishment in the post-season, that the Wings have tremendously skilled players on their hands. Abdelkader may develop into a 2nd line LW, Leino may as well, but their numbers for the AHL squadron were not overly impressive, and according to Hockey's Future, 'Detroit should look to address its top-six depth if at all possible'. We are not casting aspersions on these young players, depth is certianly important, but we do not think these are the next Franzen, Zetterberg, and Datsyuk. The Wings are going to need a skill injection, and now they have a player who just might return to the NHL in two seasons, right when Pavel Datsyuk could be starting his decline, and who might be an NHL star for a very reasonable price.


  1. I agree, Detroit could be in a bit of trouble next year. Losing all of Hossa, Hudler, and Sammuelson will turn out to be pretty decent blows to the team and like you I'm hardly convinced that those guys can be replaced from within, even considering the abundance of young talent they have in Leino, Helm, and Abdelkader among others.

    With Chicago improving (mostly from experience than the addition of Hossa) and most other Western teams staying the same or getting better I think Detroit really has their work cut out for them this season. The bright side is that they still have their defensive corps intact and haven't lost any of their core players. Overall I see Detroit regressing this season but likely finishing as one of the top four seeds. With their playoff experience they have about as good of a chance as anybody, but we'll see.

  2. i actually didn't indicate that that the wings are in trouble next season in this post. i mean, they are still really, really good. a lot depends on nicklas lidstrom - he remains an incredible player, but he will be turning 40 during the 1st round of the playoffs next season, and his ice time has been going down for the last 4 seasons. if lidstrom retires next season, the wings defense is in trouble.

    i certainly believe that on paper they are now worse than the blackhawks.

  3. By in trouble I mean that for once I don't think Detroit is the favorite in the West. I think in the playoffs they'd still be a favorite against any team in the West, even Chicago, though, but I look for their regular season dominance to slow down a bit.

  4. Two things I know. Never bet against Detroit and the Devils. I like both Leino and Abdelkader. Now watch Patrick Eaves bud into a solid player in that system for a bargain price.