Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wild play chicken with Veilleux

The Wild won their game of chicken with Stephane Veilleux this morning when the checking wing cleared waivers.

Minnesota placed Veilleux, 26, on waivers Wednesday when the restricted free agent turned down the team's latest contract offer. The Wild hoped Veilleux would clear waivers and realize his asking price was too steep.
Veilleux has an arbitration hearing on Monday, and you wouldn't think this does a lot for his position. When 29 other teams pass on picking you up for a $15,000 fee, it says something about your perceived value around the league.

Or does it?

Veilleux's not a household name, but he's a pretty useful player, and by my math was one of the better defensive forwards in the league last season.

Wild beat writer Michael Russo has a pretty solid take on what's going on here:
As somebody just told me on the phone, and this quote regards a team that “100 percent would like to claim Veilleux, 100 percent likes his game and 100 percent could guarantee him a spot,” this person said, “Say I want to claim Veilleux, take him and find out we’re going to arbitration. Well then I have to start from scratch. Think the Wild’s going to give me their arbitration brief? I think the Wild knows nobody’s going to claim him because it’s 24 hours before briefs are to be exchanged.”

In other words, if Veilleux clears waivers, the Wild — as stated in today’s article — is going to tell Veilleux, “See, nobody took you. Your value is not as high as you think it is,” when that’s not entirely true.
This makes me wonder if players headed for arbitration should be exempt from the waiver process. If no team can reasonably step in to take over the process, what purpose — other than the humiliate the player — could this possibly serve?

It strikes me as a case of a veteran GM bullying a player that doesn't have an agent.

Look for Veilleux to take a one-year deal and leave Minnesota next summer as an unrestricted free agent, when he'll definitely have suitors.
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8 Comments:

At 2:34 PM, July 17, 2008, Blogger Ms. Conduct said...

I completely agree. The Wild may have made their point and feel like they "won" but the ill will this created (even though SV is being a grown-up about it and saying otherwise) and seeds of doubt this must plant in the minds of the Wild players isn't worth the minimal gain they may achieve in arbitration.

 
At 2:38 PM, July 17, 2008, Blogger ryanbatty said...

He doesn't have an agent? Seems to me that a player going into arbitration without an agent is at a big disadvantage.

 
At 2:39 PM, July 17, 2008, Anonymous David Johnson said...

I don't understand why a team wouldn't anyway. Can they not just throw together some kind of brief? If you and your staff are knowledgeable on other players contracts it shouldn't be too difficult.

Besides, it doesn't have to be perfect either. Worst case scenario is you don't like the arbitration ruling and you walk away. But before it gets to that you have a couple weeks to negotiate a contract. Besides, it is not like he is going to get $5 million in an arbitration ruling.

If a team really liked him I don't see it really being an issue.

 
At 2:48 PM, July 17, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

There's a cost and inconvenience with arbitration hearings, which is why a lot of them are avoided. A team would likely want to sign Veilleux before they got to arbitration, but perhaps his asking price is far too high?

There's also likely a greater chance of losing a case with such little time to prepare.

 
At 3:20 PM, July 17, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Veilleux happens to be very good friend of Mikko Koivu (who happens to be captain come October).

You're dealing with lot of intanglibles when start jerking around players.

This also a classic example for why players need agents. Veilleux might think that 2-3% to agent is too much but it is most times money well spent. It's also an expense which you can use in your tax return so actual amount will be 40-50% less depending on where you play.

 
At 4:27 PM, July 17, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No agent?

What's Bonnie Lindros up to these days?

 
At 5:03 PM, July 17, 2008, Anonymous jamiebez said...

The only surprise here is that Tampa didn't claim him.....

 
At 7:30 PM, July 17, 2008, Anonymous feelingkettle said...

The only surprise here is that Tampa didn't claim him.....

Surprising. I've heard they're looking for another forward.

 

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