There's probably two major points I want to bring up, for starters, and I'll delve a little more into these on later posts:
- First off, in terms of salary cap management, the delayed season starts for Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne do wonders for Anaheim's postseason roster; quite frankly the Ducks should ice a pricier playoff team than they could have afforded for an entire regular season. If I were a rival fan, I'd probably be pissed. I mean, it's all well within the rules of the CBA (as Oiler fans loved to bring up during criticisms of the Dustin Penner offer sheet, or Devils fans with the Alexander Mogilny demotion), but it still was an advantage for Anaheim only—neither player was considering any other teams, it seems. And even if other teams wanted to engineer such a cap trick to their own advantage, it seems unlikely that they'd be able to pull it off with two such future hall-of-famers and difference-makers. I'm not really ready to put Brian Burke up for GM-of-the-year yet (he got a clear advantage in Scott & Teemu's one-team focus), but it is still very impressive the way he was able to manage salaries and keep availability for both players, even to the ridiculous point where the Ducks will ice both players and their offseason replacements.
- Even though I expect rival fans to be irrationally bitter about this, there will still be valid complaints about what this means for the integrity of the league and its regular season. While everything that's transpired has been CBA-legitimate and seems sincere, any time the league's best players are voluntarily not playing in regular season games, that's bad news—even if it does end up serving the player and team's playoff interests. Even though I believe both players were genuinely considering retirement (as opposed to just milking a CBA loophole), the fact remains that the retirement loophole has now been explored and demonstrated; should the Ducks succeed this postseason it will be very interesting to see if any other player or team tries to mimic this formula, and if so, whether the league will act to try to curb it.
Feel free to comment on either of these issues in the comments, or if you like, tell me what your fully-healthy Anaheim forward lines would look like with a dressed Selanne (and Pahlsson).