Re: Is PC Overrated?
posted at 7/2/2014 11:35 AM EDT
In response to Bookboy007's comment:
I suppose it depends on how you look at it and what you mean by "over-rated."
A lot of what you're talking about is strategy. He didn't fail to do many of these things; he has a different strategy. For example, contract length and security. We forget how prevalent the feeling was that the Bruins were nickel and diming every player as recently as when Joe Thornton signed his last big deal in Boston. Every negotiation with a key player was adversarial. Neely signed his last big deal and commented ruefully on the Ray Bourque cap and that he signed because Ray asked him to. Oates left in a sulpherous stink. Something had to change in the era of free agency and the salary cap because the Bruins were going to end up in a situation where every RFA got nickeled and dimed until he could leave as a UFA, and every UFA would require them to pay a premium because players didn't want to play in Boston. He had to change the culture to one where the team and player find what they believe is fair value for both, and then deal with the details as transparently as possible. Doing it this way, he got Krejci to re-sign for less than market value two deals ago, and again on the deal he's on now. He got Rask to take less than he probably could have demanded and asked him to prove he was a #1 before he got a #1's salary - Rask met the conditions and got paid.
That there is not one player on that roster with an unreasonable deal - with the possible exception of Kelly - is remarkable. Marchand, Seidenberg and Boychuk are probably below market as well.
You mention Quick as a Rask comparable, but I would say the same thing you said about the draft: just because others have failed as badly or worse doesn't excuse your poor performance. Fair enough. But just because Quick signed for less than market value doesn't make that the standard for evaluating how Chiarelli handles his contracts for returning players.
When talking about the greatness of last year's team, people forget that was done while managing a cap crunch as well. It wouldn't have worked if they hadn't had four regulars on defense making EL money. 4. On Defense. He had answers for that need. I think that's pretty impressive, really.
In the endless discussions of drafts, I think this point has been raised many times: what are you judging? Did PC win the draft? Or do the Bruins have a chance to win it all? If it's the latter, and I think it is, then it really doesn't matter where the players come from. If they're college UFAs (Krug), prospects obtained in trades (Bartkowski, Smith) or whatever, the team has the players it needs to be a contender. Until that ceases to be true, I'll cut PC slack on his drafts. On the other hand, if the solution to this year's cap crunch once again comes from players he's added to the system or acquires via trade, I won't be surprised.
People make such a big deal of deadline acquisitions. I generally like Burke's comment that if you're relying on a deadline deal to put you over the top, you probably didn't build your team correctly in the first place. Doesn't mean it can't work, but there's truth in it. What I have a hard time with is the idea that you would carry empty salary dollars all season just so you can add a guy at the last minute. Cap Space scores no goals. Why not get the right guy when you build the team to start? The Cap has changed my stance on this a bit now, because you can add a very high salary rental player for very little cap impact if you do it as late as possible. So there's that. But there is also the cost of doing it every year - it depletes your ability to backfill the roster if you're always dealing picks and prospects for high end rentals. Last year was the first time I saw the prices as low as they were for guys like Vanek and Gaborik.
What else has PC done? Acquired Boychuk for Matt Hendricks. Acquired McQuaid (former 2nd rounder) for a 5th rounder. Turned Dennis Wideman and a first into Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell - key pieces in the Cup run and Finals run. Flipped a bunch of neverwere pieces to Florida for Seidenberg and Bartkowski. Figured out how to win the Krug bidding war. Resisted the temptation to fire Julien after 2010. Flipped Brad Stuart to Calgary for pieces that had more sandpaper in Ference and Kobasew. Won the Blake Wheeler bidding war. Signed Ryder, who was much hated but proved very useful in winning the Cup. Put together one of the league's best penalty kills with the addition of Paille and Campbell. Developed and made room for a raft of rookies - rather than trading them for deadline acquisitions.
Put another way, he acquired every defenseman on the best defensive team in the East (whatever the debate on the Chara signing...) and most of them with minor league trades, EL signings, or by trading next to nothing to get them. He oversaw the integration of all of those second, third, and fourth round picks who are now the core of the offense, giving them a chance rather than going for the Fanboy Solution. And he has generally done all of this running very, very close to the Cap confident that he can figure out how to be cap compliant with his commitments.
Anyway - long response to a long OP, but I would say no, PC is not over-rated if you think he's a shrewd asset manager who makes strategic decisions consistent with his philosophy. I would probably say "yes, he's over-rated" if someone said he was rated a hockey genius. He'd have to get over his love affair with smallish NCAA defensemen before I'd go there.
Are you not entertained?!?!
Thanks for the response book, always value your pov.
A take issue with a few of your conclusions, however.
To suggest that PC needed to give Rask $7M per year for 8 years and a modified NTC as a cultural shift from the Sinden years is rubbish. When does the statue of limitations run out that? Ray Bourque? Just stop it. The teams has been overly fair in granting contracts and rarely do we evaluate them and say, "wow, great deal for the Bruins on that one". It's easy to look at the absurd money that was thrown around yesterday and say, "see, PC did it right", but in many cases PC's extensions were to RFA's as compared to the bidding war on UFA's. Not apples to apples.
Contracts have been a problem with PC. From Ryder to Peverley to Seguin to Kelly. Guy pays premiums on salary, term and player security. Great for players, perhaps even great for culture, but not great for payroll flexibility. They are not brutal, however are too much. A small percentage of a big number is still a pretty big number. Aren't you the one that used to mock "cap space" threads anyway? Glad to see your position has evolved.
Trading? I give high marks to PC in the early years for some of his trades. Boychuck (2008), McQuaid (2007), Seidenberg (2010) as you point out, as well as, Recchi (he picked up a 2nd in that deal). Worth remembering that he also traded Sobotka for Warsofsky and Versteeg for Bochenski, so not all winners.
I like PC, just trying to figure out the accountability. Is he architect of the 2010-11 Stanley Cup Champs or is he the GM that painted himself into Cap Jail? I guess he is both. Deserves a ton of credit for building a winner, but is dealing with the challenges of paying the players that delivered on that success.
The deadline deals are slippery slope and I get that. My point there was tell me how you are feeling about giving up a 3rd rounder for a guy barely stepped on the ice?