The Nonis files
Canucks GM Dave Nonis gained a reputation — and a nickname (No-nuts) — for being timid and dull early on in his tenure, but considering his outburst yesterday, the newbie manager has learned a thing or two from his mentor, noted blowhard Brian Burke.
Of course Nonis goes a little overboard in his rant, but the thing I don't understand is the relentless pile-on that's come in the wake of his comments. It's almost as if everyone in the hockey world, universally, agrees that an unrestricted free agency age of 25 for the game's top prospects is nothing but a good thing.
Everyone except our favourite madman in the wilderness, Tom Benjamin:
The Penguins did not have to sign Jordan Staal. There are negative consequences to signing one of the best young prospects in hockey? Isn't that crazy? Isn't that, as Nonis said, a joke? The "reality" of this CBA is a reality because Gary Bettman insisted on the tradeoff. That does not make it good for the game or the fan.No, it doesn't, and simply because Nonis is a GM working within the guidelines of that CBA doesn't make his criticisms any less valid.
To me, 25 is too young an age to be subject to a bidding war, and I'd rather have seen a higher cap figure with only a slightly lowered UFA age brought in with this CBA. While Matt at The Battle of Alberta is correct in blowing Nonis's 'player development' musings out of the water, the one thing a few extra years before unrestricted free agency would allow is for teams to retain some semblance of identity. (And while the Penguins will likely get seven excellent years out of a player like Sidney Crosby, the same can't be said for every 18-year-old future star who plays in the NHL.)
Instead of making the free agency age contingent on when a player joins the league, having one UFA age — even if it is as low as 27 — for all players seems to make the most sense. That way, at least, the best players, regardless of age, will be kept in the NHL, and not sent back to junior as a way of 'saving' a year of service for teams concerned with their future bottom line.
Because that is a joke.