Another day, another squash. Vincent Lecavalier beat the tar out of Danny Briere in the Not-So-Sweet Sixteen yesterday, which means the Rick DiPietro still has the smallest margin of victory so far. I guess Ilya Kovlachuk will need to be seeded higher next season. Like that first match-up, we'll be comparing players of two different positions today as Brian Campbell and Scott Gomez get set to do battle in the first - but certainly not the last - contest involving a contract signed by Glen Sather. The case for each player after the jump.
Unlike a lot of the other long-term contracts, this was doesn't decline in value as the player ages, which makes it quite a bit harder to move. Making it harder still is Campbell's limited no trade clause (he can list eight teams that he'll accept a trade to). None of that matters, of course, if Campbell is worth more money than every defender in the league save one Zdeno Chara. The problem, of course, is that he is not. In fact, Campbell isn't even the second-best defender on his team. Now that we've added shoulder, knee, and foot injuries in the last two seasons to the mix those next five years don't look so good, especially since we're talking about a player that will turn 32 this May. When defenders fall apart, they can really fall apart, and although you might be able to save this somewhat by burying the deal in the minor leagues, that is one very expensive mistake.
Scott Gomez has a few virtues that most of the other guys in this tournament don't. For one thing, he has a history of playing tough competition. To add another, he's actually been traded despite a no-trade clause that allows him to exclude three teams from negotiations (not much of a no-trade clause, really), and for a package that included some reasonably valuable pieces. But here's the thing - that all seems to be in the past. This season, Gomez has the third most favourable zone-start ratio among Montreal forwards, and sits 10th, 8th, and 7th out of thirteen forwards in Gabriel Desjardins' three quality of competition metrics. In addition to the cushy circumstances at even strength, Gomez has been given 2:30 minutes of power play time. And what's he done with this new soft minutes role? 35 points, and a plus/minus rating of -14, both career lows. Granted, some of that has to do with his laughably horrendous on-ice shooting percentage at even strength (4.6%), but then again, Gomez has never been a good shooter (his career rate is 7.5% in all situations, so that'll be boosted by power play goals) so at least some of that is on him. He's due less cash per year than Campbell and the contract expires sooner, but the cap hit is also a tad higher. It might just be worse.