NHL Free Agency? Ho-hum

It’s hockey’s off-season, but you wouldn’t know it from all the chatter on the sports pages about the pending July 1 st free agent deadline. For you sports neophytes, that’s the day that unsigned players in a special category get to sign with any team they want (for the right price, of course).

Voraciously hungry dogs in pursuit of meat is an inadequate metaphor for both club owners looking to land a particular player and the sports media for any whiff of a hint of who’s looking at whom and who’s leaning which way as a preference.

The OJ Simpson spectacle pales in comparison in the amount of minute interpretive analytics applied to a seemingly infinite series of theoretical questions about “might this” and “could that”. And a typical example of what passes for a big brain prognosticator in this arena is Nick Kypreos, a punch drunk former hockey goon who retired after suffering one too many concussions.

Want to know how these things play out ultimately? Well, the team that throws the most money, multiplied by the longest term, divided by the square root of a particular team’s (perceived) chances of winning the Stanley Cup, will secure a particular player.

Mostly, these guys will be paid (again) for past good deeds because the length of term offered to ┬áthem absolutely guarantees the “best before” date has long expired by end of it. (It’s kind of their “retirement package”, but ahead of actual retirement). This year’s rule of thumb appears to be that averaging .5 points per game will get you a 4 year deal at $3M. to $3.5M per. Dutch tulip mania was sane in comparison.

On July 2nd, there’ll be a lot of self-congratulation by hockey executives about how they’ve “improved” their team and bulked up for a run at the Cup. But, as always, 29 of them will have been wrong, bet on a stiff (or more) and falsely swelled the hopes of their credulous fans.

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