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Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Deal or No Deal


Even after sleeping on it I am still in shock over Nash's quotes from last night's Dispatch. Let's take a look at them again:

“Things didn’t line up the way I anticipated them lining up,” Nash said. “I thought we had a solid chance of getting (a contract) done, especially with all the interest they said they had going into this.

“If this doesn’t happen in the next week, and we can’t hit a number where we’re both satisfied and we both feel it’s fair … if they want me that bad, they’ll get it done.”

“There were tons of teams throwing some pretty big money around (yesterday),” Nash said. “If this doesn’t get done, I’m sure I won’t have a problem getting signed by somebody next summer.”

“This is part of the process,” Resnick said. “We’ve begun, and we’ll continue to work through and reach an agreement.”

“The Blue Jackets have a blue print for the organization, and what they want to do with it,” Nash said. “If the numbers don’t work out, if they don’t match, that’s just the way the business side works.

“We’ll come back with something and see what they have to say. I would be nicer to be closer, but I have another year either way. I’m in no rush. I can play out the season.”

I read those again and I still cannot believe those comments actually came from the Rick Nash we have gotten to know through the media over the years but they did.

Portzline checks in this morning with a reality check post.

This is a high-profile negotiation, and Nash holds all of the leverage.

At some point, Nash had to play his leverage. At some point, he has to put the fear of God into the Blue Jackets and put a little heat on GM Scott Howson.

The first contract offer was well below what he expected/wants, so he played his cards. It’s a side that few have seen of Nash, and I don’t know that it came naturally to him. But these situations are not, by their nature, always clean and friendly.

Nash has lots of people looking at him to sign the “right” contract. The NHLPA would not look kindly on the matter if he signed a deal at less than $7 million per season. That’s what he’s making in 2009-10, so why should he take a paycut.

Some decent points.

First off I'd really love to know what Howson's first offer was. As I stated in the live blog last night, that would tell us an awful lot without having to say an awful lot.

Without that knowledge let's get to some theories as to why Nash would come out swinging so hard so early in this negotiation.

Theory 1
Howson really did lowball Nash with an offer. Nash then looked at what guys like Gaborik got (7.5 mil) and got angry when he compared it to what Howson offered.

Theory 2
He wants out and to stall stall stall...and I don't mean Eric, Jordan or Mark. This is the first step towards an stage left exit out of Columbus.

Theory 3
More leverage/posturing/hardball. Nash coached by agent to come out heavy regardless of initial offer after he previously publicly announced his desire to stay in Columbus. They thought Nash hurt his value and negotiating position by going public with intention to stay. All about maximizing the contract.

Theory 4
Backdoor tampering. A GM like Brian Burke has used backdoor channels to get to Nash to let him know what kind of offer they would make should he hit the free agent market.

Theory 5
Good cop bad cop. Nash's plays the bad guy while Nash's agent plays the good guy.

Admittedly some of those are pretty far fetched.

Until I know what the offer Howson made was I won't speculate any further other than to say that whatever the deal was I don't agree with getting so ugly so quick. There are better more productive ways to posture.

I mean c'mon, it's a negotation. You don't go in with your best offer first and you don't accept anyone's first offer. Of course you also don't want to be insulting which is why again, its real hard to speculate on the intentions here without getting some cold hard numbers in front of us.

Business or no business... this entire rant from #61 is completely out of character for him and just doesn't fit or add up... I mean hello square meet circle.

I really believe Nash is a good guy but money has a way of bringin the worst out of some folks. Well that or a player's agent has a way of getting the worst of someone.

As much as we fans love chewing on this fodder I think both sides would be well served to keep this entire thing behind closed doors until common ground is found.... which I hope is found quickly because you better believe this has created a whole lot of negative attention around this team yet again this offseason.

Stay tuned as I'm sure this is only chapter 1 in this saga.

Update: These figures are courtesy of eplagge. They are the most expensive signings this offseason:

Gaborik, Marian $37.5M 5 $7.5M
Bouwmeester, Jay $33.4M 5 $6.68M
Sedin, Henrik $30.5M 5 $6.1M
Sedin, Daniel $30.5M 5 $6.1M
Cammalleri, Mike $30M 5 $6M
Niedermayer, Scott $6M 1 $6M
Hossa, Marian $62.8M 12 $5.23M
Havlat, Martin $30M 6 $5M
Gionta, Brian $25M 5 $5M
Thomas, Tim $20M 4 $5M
Komisarek, Mike $22.50 5 $4.5M
Booth, David $25.5M 6 $4.25M
Antropov, Nik $16M 4 $4M

Fire away - thoughts on this negotiation thus far?

-LTL

21 comments:

Stephen said...

If the deal is not done, I think the state of the franchise will be on the line. If Howson is handcuffed by the finances, it may be so long CBJ.

If the Jackets do offer solid $, and Nash tests the market, I'm OK with it. I think fans are more willing to accept this scenario. Trade him, get some players, and the future is still good for the franchise.

roadman said...

As I commented last night on the live blog, this is just so "out of character" for Nash. Hey maybe he'd had a couple of glasses of wine with dinner and the phone call from Portz came at a bad time, who knows? Can't really imagine GMSH offering a really insulting low-ball deal either. This whole thing just doesn't pass the smell test on so many levels. It is early, and lets hope it all comes together in a short period of time and this all blows over.

Off topic a quick note from Puck Daddy on the CBJ activities yesterday

• The Columbus Blue Jackets had a very good day, getting Samuel Pahlsson as their checking center for $7.95 million over three years and Mathieu Garon for $2.4 million over two years. The BeeJays used to have zippy up the middle; now, their centers might go four-deep next year for the first time in franchise history.

Liked the comment about Zippy up the middle.

DP@WFNY said...

Great post, man.

Nash and the two FA signings at WFNY here. Rick really stunned me.

DP@WFNY said...

@Stephen, that was one of my concerns yesterday. I have no doubt that if Howson came to John H (RIP) and said, "we need $1.5 million more a year to get it done," it would get done. I have no belief that John P. feels that way at all.

LTL said...

They are paying Nash 7 mil this season. Judging by eplagge #'s that would put him right behind Gaborik in terms of the highest free agents paid this offseason.

I'm not ready to put this one on the CBJ until we get to hear what Howson put on the table.

I'm not ruling out a lowball but I'm also not ruling out Nash's expecations being unrealistic. Let's face it he's not Ovechkin/Crosby/Malkin... Malkin and Crosby are making 8.7 mil a year. Nash isn't even close to those generational talents.

Heck Datsyuk and Zetterberg are making 6.7 and 7.75... should he make more than them?

So again it will be interesting to see what the offer was if it ever come out.

-LTL

BZArcher said...

My guess is that the term and money are the issues. I think Nash is really wanting a 7-10 year term on his contract, esp. after seeing guys like Hossa sign 12 year deals.

I think Howson probably offered 7.5 for 5m, and Nash was expecting more like 8m for 7.

Where it probably gets interesting is when the counteroffer comes in.

eplagge said...

My gut feeling is that it's your #3 theory... they have a lot of leverage and they are playing hardball.. this is a clear statement: "they want more"... but normally you hold off on the public statement until you at least went back and forth a couple of times... not immediately after the first offer... If Howsen lowballed him and offered a $6.5 x 5yr for years... you come back with a $9 x 5yr... if Howsen lowballs him again after that... go ahead and make a public statement.. ..

The timing off this statement is what bothers me.. because I honestly can't see Howsen lowbal him to that extend... maybe his expectations are too high and we can't work a deal... LTL you should do a poll... what do you think Nash is worth per Year... my number 7.25, he's good but not that good..

You think he honestly believes he's a $8M guy ?? I think $7M is generous... heck Havlet (arguably a more natural goal scorer, but not as well rounded) signed for $5M.. Hossa is a $5.2M per year cap guy..

Also we all know Burke has somehow let Nash know what they would offer to him coming this upcoming UFA season... and he might be lying to undermine this process.... whispering to Nash he would offer something along the line of a $9M x 10year deal.... just to undermine this process.. I don't think anybody would be surprised to find out Burke is bending the rules a little bit.

anml034 said...

Its all in the negotiations. I am in commercial sales and deal with the same customers over and over (ie SH and players agents). If Nash's agent has a rep for running up the money or term then SH would know and do what I would do. Send out a number that you know the other side is not going to accept. The other party puts out a number that they know you wont accept and then you work towards the middle.

If SH comes out with the number in the middle then the players agent puts his first offer higher and you end up paying more for the player. Anyone that has multiple negotiations with the same person knows how the other party works and will adjust their style to situation.

My take is something like this:

SH wants Nash for 7.5-8.0 mil for the next 5-7 years.

SH offers 7 mil for 5 years, maybe even 4 years.

Nash then counters with 8.5 mil for 8-9 years.

The deal gets hammered out for 8 mil at 6-8 years.

Just my opinion.

anml034 said...

Another comment about Nash's worth. Its not just the numbers that he puts up on the ice that goes into what he is worth. He is the posterboy (outside of Sid and even now he has fallen a bit) for the NHL. He is a good looking guy that says the right things, does the right things and is very committed to giving back to the community.

The numbers alone make Nash worth about 7-7.5 mil a season. Once you throw in the intangibles (Face of the Franchise, How he portrays himself on and off the ice and what he gives back) he is worth another .5 to .75 mil a year.

Also the statement Nash made is all about leverage. Anyone that listened to his agent on 97.1 the fan yesterday can read between the lines. The agent gets the contract, goes on the radio and claims that Nash made it hard on him because Nash went public with his desire to stay in Cbus, then a few hours later they meet and Nash comes out with his statements that are very un-Nash like.

No worries on my end. Nash gets signed by mid July.

LTL said...

I agree eplagge... the timing really bothers me as well.

The other thing is his comments in general were in very poor taste. A simple we weren't pleased and are countering would have been sufficient but he took it much futher.

He sounds more like Captain Cash than Captain Columbus.

Great comments as well anml034 and everyone else per usual!

-LTL

rocket said...

What I think it comes down to here is that his agent is a cut-throat jerk-off. A type of guy that would be good to have on your side. I don't know what Rick thinks he's worth, but I bet he thinks it's much less than what his agent wants to get. This will be interesting I think.

As someone said earlier, Nash isn't a Crosby, Malkin, or Ovechkin... and he should not get paid as much as those guys make. He is the face of COLUMBUS, I don't know if he would fit in as well with any other team... hence he probably won't get offered the $8+m he's expecting next off season from other teams (if he does want to leave).

Guys, it won't be that big of a loss. We would be able to pick up a solid player with the $7m a year room he would leave. That being said, he's not going anywhere. Columbus will keep him... but we really shouldn't if he's expecting to be paid with the likes of the Ovechkins in the league

eplagge said...

BTW according to Aaron P's twitter feed....Howsen is still waiting for a counter proposal as of 1:30 PM today.... I thought his agent was sending him the counter proposal yesterday ?? Damn I guess the must be really far apart.. I really like Howsen, so I trusts Howsen's judgment.. but please don't sign him to 7.5 or more... Heck Iginla makes 7.0...


#CBJ GM Scott Howson spoke with Rick Nash's agent, Joe Resnick, this morning. The club is waiting on a counter-proposal.

DP@WFNY said...

It's not that simple, though. It's not as easy as saying, "We can just sign somebody else." They have to see Columbus as a viable franchise, first. The only good player we've ever had walks away? That does NOT help.

If you won't miss 80 points a year, then you're not watching the same team I am.

LTL said...

The key is in no/way/shape/form do we let Nash walk away.

If a deal isn't hammered out by the end of this month I start listening to offers.

I don't let a Rick Nash enter camp un-extended. I move him for the best NHL player or players I can get.

Scenario: Nash for Phaneuf
Scenario: Nash for Staal Letang
Scenario: Nash for Gilbert Gagner

No way I wait until the deadline when all you get are picks or prospects. Howson will need quality NHL talent in return.

I need to get Portzline's twitter. What is his handle?

-LTL

JuneyMoon said...

I feel like Nash is willing to stay but doesn't trust the ownership enough to "take one for the team" and take less so the Blue Jackets can keep players in the future when they're already talking about how much money they're losing.

Wally said...

C'mon you guys (^^and girl^^)...

I understand Nash's comments being a little harsher than normal, but the guy is working on the contract that will take him through his prime playing years. I doubt he wants to leave anything to chance.

I imagine Resnick has been pumping his ego in preparation for this moment, so if he lets a comment like that slip, I just cant take it that seriously... It's not the end of the world, the franchise or his career is Columbus. Howsen & Nash seem too level headed to get into some pissing match over the initial offer. If it's been going back and forth like this for awhile, that's another story.

LTL said...

Thanks for the heads up on the fake McKenzie twitter eplagge.

...and here I just thought the guy had a funny sense of humor.

-LTL

JAL said...

OK, folks, let's forget about theories. These are negotiations, and the comments made were lollipops compared to what you see when negotiations get contentious.

Not going to rehash it here, but see my blog for an analysis of the statements made.

Prediction: By the time the Red, White and Boom Parade steps off tomorrow, we will be celebrating Rick Nash's signing a contract of about 11 years, $89 mill, with moderate front loading, possible decline next year to accommodate the slide in the cap.

--JAL
A Shot From The Point

LTL said...

JAL,

It's easy to say now after we've all read the updates from the Dispatch today that this thing is going to get done.

However even the folks over at Nationwide were taken back by Nash's comments when they broke. It's completely out of character for him and caught quite a few folks off guard. There is nothing wrong with exploring the motivation behind it.

As far as the negotiations. I have followed the NHL for a looong time and many high profile negotiations. I do not recall a time where the player came out so strongly after the first day of negotiations.

Regardless things look like they are moving in the right direction and that everyone has learned their lesson and is keeping things behind closed doors.

Hopefully we do get some Blue Jacket fireworks before the Red White and Blue ones go off this weekend and we can all put this behind us.

-LTL

JAL said...

With all due respect, LTL -- my comments were posted on my blog well before Portzline announced that they were back negotiating.

Everything in negotiations has a specific purpose, and Nash's comments were perfectly designed to remind the CBJ that he ultimately holds the cards here, and to dispel any notion that he is a pushover just because he likes Columbus. There were no threats, no ultimatums. Just lots of soft language indicating what might happen if a deal didn't get done.

We are all happy things are moving along, and I will be able to get on my airplane this afternoon,likely secure in the knowledge that Rick is wrapped up for about 10 years.

Inosfar as his comments falling on the first day of negotiations is concerned, there really had been no negotiations yet. Just a presentation from Howson and the initial offer.

Tough to come up with an initial offer when you aren't sure of the price. Walk onto a car lot where there are no window stickers and try to come up with an initial offer. You have to look at other car sales and try to find similarities. Same here. Not a lot to compare to. Gaborik's 7.5 million deal would indicate an 8 million + offer. Hossa signs for $5.3, but the front loading makes it more valuable to the player. Call that one about $7.4 million.

Nash's comments helped framed the playing field. It was his first time with leverage, and it was a fairly benign way to provide focus. It would have been a different story had he said that he was not going to negotiate for awhile, etc.

Onward to the playoffs!
--JAL
A Shot From The Point

LTL said...

JAL,

The entire thing was unneccesary and uneeded forced drama. Its no secret who holds the cards.

There is not a set rule that you have to be a dick to get the best deal.

Anyhow.. onwards and upwards.

-LTL