Here is the first of many columns to be written in this space by Edgar Arce. Edgar has been with us for awhile now, blogging on our Team Bloggers blog about the Anaheim Ducks. With Edgar's new Hockeyleaks.com column, which will appear every Sunday, he looks at the league as whole. Enjoy
Jan. 10, 2010
As we near the Olympic break, I realize this is the part of the season when most teams would be trading players left and right. This year seems a bit quieter maybe due to the upcoming Olympics, or maybe something else. In the post lock out era of hockey, teams can no longer juggle salaries like before due to the NHL cap. One of the main reasons the cap was imposed was to prevent one or two teams from becoming the New York Yankees of hockey. Because of the cap, teams just do not have room to make trades like before. What does this mean? Teams are going to have to rely on their minor league players to mature and make it in the NHL, rather than score a trade involving a veteran NHL player.
It has been proven in baseball that the big money teams are going to have to adjust and start looking for untapped talent, especially since the older stars are nearing the end of their careers. The NHL teams are going to have to do the same, since one cannot predict unexpected injuries. So is the salary cap working? I think it is. The cap forces GM's to get creative, and be resourceful with their minor league affiliates. The salary cap has provided the league with parity within the NHL which in turn makes it possible for any team to be cup champions.
I love when I look at the weekly rankings, because I'm seeing teams in the west like Colorado, Phoenix, and Los Angeles in the top eight positions rather than in the basement like previous years. The east continues to be just as competitive with teams like the Islanders, Philly, Atlanta and Florida all within reach of the top eight as well. It’s vital to the NHL that every team has their season in the top eight because if they succeed so do the remaining teams. I'm a huge fan of my home team and cheer for them to knock other teams out of the way in order to go up in the ranks, but in the long run, I want every team to win. The lock out may have given a black eye to the NHL at the time, but like all bruises do, they eventually heal. The salary cap, as well as the rules changes, all helped to guarantee the NHL's survival.