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Cory Sarich's New Deal: An Exercise in Poor Negotiations

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I'll start by saying how surprised I was at the number of Flames fans who were happy with the news of Cory Sarich re-signing. Are we the only fan base that gets super pumped about replacement-level guys being renewed? My surprise went further by how many proceeded to vehemently defend the deal. I wholeheartedly disagree with that bunch and we'll talk more about that after the jump.

Based on his underlying numbers, Sarich IS worthy of a new deal. He and TJ Brodie ended the season with positive corsi rates and had a decent scoring chance differential (even though very few of their chances resulted in goals); clearly both were capable of playing against the other teams weakest players.

Of course anyone who follows me on twitter knows that I don't support the deal at all, regardless of what the fancy stats tell us. And, he isn't even close to worthy of a 2 year, 4 million dollar deal.

Many fans were excited to see what this management team would do with a little cash to play with. I've maintained all along that the thought of it scares the bejeezus out of me. This signing, and to a lesser extend, the Wideman signing, are perfect examples of what happens when you have a GM with shoddy neg skills.

The biggest part of any negotiation is leverage. A good GM would look at the season Sarich had, the options available to replace him via the open market and obviously, the skills he brings to the table. Basically, his overall contribution to the club and their ability to fill his roster spot should they need to.

His season? He met expectations. And he damn-well better... playing against poor competition.

HIs skills? Can't skate. Can't pass. Can't shoot. No offense. Not a good penalty killer. The only positive from what I've gathered by his supporters is that he delivers big hits; an attribute overrated by the general hockey public.

Replacements? He's easily replaceable. You can pretty much open the list of UFA defenseman and take your pick. I'd say there's no fewer than 10 UFA defenseman that could, at the very least, equal Sarich's performance under the same circumstances - and sign for much lower to boot.

Given those points accumulated by the GM, you approach Sarich with an option; take this Scott Hannan comparable deal, 1 year 1 million (I still think that's too much but let's round up) or go test the UFA waters. No if's, and's or but's. That's a better than market value deal for a guy wanting to stay on your team.

NOTE: *If I were the GM, I'd go all Don Draper on him and call him into my office, chuck a couple hundies on the ground and leave a contract/pen on the table and walk out, but that's just me.*

What does he end up with? A two-year deal worth 4 million total.

How? I'd love to know what the agent could have possibly said to get his salary up to 2 mil per. Did he just bring in an iPad and let a YouTube video of Sarich plastering Patrick Marleau play on a loop?

And a second year? I mean, he's not worth the money so he sure as heck ain't worth the term. Like, is he scared that he'll bolt after this season? "WE CAN"T AFFORD TO LET CORY GET AWAY!" Yes you can, Jay. You most certainly can.

The crazy thing is, it gets even worse because the contract includes a No Movement Clause that's in effect until December 31, 2013.

Jay Feaster lost this deal on every level. It's more than double his value in terms of the cap, it's too long... and he threw in a NMC to boot. You want to throw in a NMC to lower the cap hit a bit? I can handle that. But, in a contract that's already too high and long?

Borderline insanity.

WHAT HE GOT: 2 years, 4 million (2 mil AAV) with a full NMC through Dec 31, 2013

WHAT HE SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN: 1 year, 1 million OR if you really want to include a NMC - 1 year, 0.750 mil with a NMC.


I've written many a scathing article about Feaster's ineptitude based on all the proof that already exists from his previous gig etc, and the thing that everybody comes back with is:

"You have to give a General Manager time to execute his master plan."

Fair enough. But, I'll counter with this post-script:

"... unless he's terrible at his job, then he's just getting a head start."