NHL Morning Rumor Mill – Tuesday, June 18, 2013.

The latest on Vincent Lecavalier, Daniel Briere, Ilya Bryzgalov, Jarome Iginla, Kris Letang, Jonathan Bernier and more.

Is Vincent Lecavalier a compliance buyout candidate?

Is Vincent Lecavalier a compliance buyout candidate?

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Damian Cristodero wonders if the Lightning will use one of their two compliance buyouts on team captain Vincent Lecavalier, who insists he wants to finish his NHL career with the Lightning, but acknowledged that was up to management. Winger Ryan Malone is another Lightning player who could become a buyout candidate. Cristodero points out buying out Lecavalier would save the Lightning $54 million in cap space over the next seven years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not Lecavalier’s fault the previous ownership signed him to his current contract, which has become burdensome for current management, but the reality is his contract hampers the Lightning‘s efforts to improve other areas of their roster. No one in the front office faults Lecavalier or Malone, but if they’re to make any improvement this season and in the coming years, the Bolts must shed salary, and that means buying out Lecavalier, Malone or both. We’ll find out soon if they’ll go that route.

CSNPHILLY.COM: In the wake of yesterday’s report of the Flyers signing Mark Streit, Tim Panaccio reports “two club sources” on the Flyers say Daniel Briere will be bought out, but a decision on Ilya Bryzgalov remains “up in the air”, as they need “a concrete trade agreement” for a goalie prior to buying out Bryzgalov.  Panaccio also reports the Flyers are prepared to trade another player if they can’t buy out Bryzgalov. It’s believed the Flyers are among the club with interest in LA Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier, who changed agents yesterday and is now represented by CAA Sports, whose clients include Flyers like Claude Giroux, Mark Streit and Max Talbot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: GM Paul Holmgren has a lot of balls in the air right now, but when it comes to juggling creative trades and free agent signings, he’s among the best in the business. Briere is gone for sure, and if they can land an affordable goalie like Bernier, so is Bryzgalov. Keep an eye on the Flyers over the next couple of weeks, as they’re definitely not finished making moves.

POST-GAZETTE.COM: Ron Cook, in a piece supportive of Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero, noted Shero wants to re-sign defenseman Kris Letang but says “it’s hard to see that happening”. Cook believes Shero could get quite a bit in return by trading Letang, pointing to what he got from last summer’s trade of Jordan Staal. He also believes there’s a better chance Pascal Dupuis will be back, suggests re-signing Matt Cooke could be difficult, and feels Craig Adams will be re-signed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Shero trades Letang, he’ll have to find a good, affordable puck-moving blueliner to replace him, which is easier said than done. 

CBC SPORTS: Elliotte Friedman repeated his report from Saturday claiming Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings have interest in Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss, adding a source also suggested the New Jersey Devils could also have interest, as coach Pete DeBoer is a former Panthers head coach…Speculation is linking Jarome Iginla with the Stars, Kings and Coyotes…The Kings are concerned any team they trade Jonathan Bernier to might “flip” him to new division rivals Edmonton or Calgary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weiss and the Panthers are expected to talk contract this week, but they could shop him by the draft weekend if he’s not re-signed by then…The Kings lack the cap space to sign Iginla and I don’t think he’s a good fit there. The Coyotes need a first line center, not a veteran winger, so I don’t believe they’ll pursue him. I also don’t believe the Stars need to add another ageing star, but they did acquire Sergei Gonchar earlier this month, so who knows?…Bernier could be “flipped” if the Kings trade him, but there are teams (Flyers, Islanders, Wild, Devils) who would definitely keep him if they were to acquire him.  

THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper reports the Nashville Predators are likely to be in the market for a backup goaltender, opting to consider the options in this year’s free agent market rather than re-sign Chris Mason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg. No surprise here. Mason has come to the end of his NHL career, and the Predators need a younger, more reliable backup for Pekka Rinne.


  1. This is going to be the best post season ever…lol So many teams so many decisions hopefully it will make up for the trade deadline which has become a bit of a joke the past couple years. Now if the Bruins could just wrap this up in the next couple games so we can get on with this.

    • Post season = playoffs. You mean offseason. Contain yourself, dude! hahahaha

      • LOL I can’t its early and I drank a lot of coffee already.

    • I agree – it should be a fun post season! Bring on the games!

  2. If philly doesn’t buy out bryz they have a tonne of players every team would be interested. Big checking forwards, simmons, vorecek, hartnell, read. I’d ecpect them to land bernier though, homlgren is to crafty with moves whether good or bad at making moves.
    I really don’t see tampa or teams like tampa cutting a cheque to a player not to play. Especially a salary the size of lecaveliers.

    • You think Phily will trade Voracek, Simmonds, Hartnell or Read before they buy out Bryzgalov? imo Bryzgalov is as good as gone.

      I do not understand why Yotes won’t talk to Flyer about Briere? I am sure you can have him for a conditional round pick or future consideration. Of course NTC comes into play but there are ways around it. Flyers were very fair with Danny and paid 90% of his contract. Briere is owned 5M for next 2 years in real cash. That’s bargain.

      • Nitro – I think Briere has a better chance of signing with LI, NJ or even Buffalo – his kids live in NJ – if he signs with LI or NJ – he’s close to home. If he signs with Bflo his kids know the area and what’s an hour flight, especially with all that buyout money! I could be wrong, but there are other factors that may come into play.

        • @Nitro…..Brierre will want to stay close to his kids. He isnt going out west and he isnt going to Canada (divorce/child custody and vistation rules are a #$%^&*nightmare internationally). Brierre signs with: (1a) Devils, (1b) Sabres, (2a) Capitals, (2b) Pens, (2c) Islanders, (3a) Columbus, (3b) detroit, (4) boston, (5) Carolina, and (6) Rangers. This is in order of liklihood.

        • Steve, NJ is a possibility.. but ask your self a quesiton if you had kids would you go to Buffalo? Come on…No way he will play for Pittsburgh. Maybe NY will throw some money at him to improve that PP and maybe Garth Snow will have interest too.

          You are not wrong.. Briere has custody of his kids and obviously they are important to him. I guess we’ll find out. As a Flyers fan I want him somewhere West.

          • Buffalo is exactly where I would go to raise kids. You obviously don’t know the area but Danny does and loved it when he played there.

          • You are utterly cluelss about Buffalo

            Many former NHL people still reside there including Scotty Bowman….the reason…its one of the cheapest areas to live in and the schools are really good. NY State has one of the best school systems in the country.

          • I would be very surprised if the Islanders go after Briere considering they have a few very promising forwards {brock nelson, nino neiterrieter, anders lee and ryan strome} coming up in the next year or two.

            But, as always one never knows what Snow has up his sleeve.

          • @nitroglycerin101

            why wouldn’t you take/raise your kids in buffalo?

            it’s one of the safest and friendliest cities out there.

          • Nitro – Why wouldn’t he go to Bflo – the fans loved him and a lot of players end up living in the area when they retire – more bang for your buck and it is a great area.

      • It probably isn’t at the top of their list but who else would help shed salary that other teams would actually want.
        Kyperos just reported leafs and flyers are at top of list for bernier.
        I understand if from flyers perspectiveperfect fit for their team but leafs? Rather look for a top 3 dman.

  3. I really don’t like the idea of the leafsngetting Weiss. It is not that I have something against him, its just I feel his career with the leafs will be too similar to connolly. All money and no stats.

    I hope I’m wrong but I also don’t think the leafs will make the playoffs next year in an.82 game season. Not a knock on them…they are still one.of the youngest teams in the league. In my opinion they just need a few more years

    • They won’t if they sit on this year as an accomplishment and don’t make some smart moves to improve on some pretty glaring needs. The Rangers, Capitals, Flyers and Hurricanes will be better Tampa may have found a goalie Detroit comes over …it will be an uphill battle for sure.

  4. Has anyone seen Lecavalier play the past couple years? All I hear about is the big contract. Say Tampa buys him out, what kind of role could he fill on another team? Is he the big centre the Leafs have been looking for.

    • He’s still an asset (when not injured) and a good player, however it’s quite obvious he wants to stay in TB, so the question is would he play for another team, and if so, how motivated would he be to excel?
      I think if TB buys him out, he might just retire, it’s not about the money anymore to him.

    • If Lecavalier gets bought out, chances are he’ll want to play for a team with a chance to win. Most veterans do. He’d probably come on the cheap – $5m for 2 years? He’d be a good fit in a Habs uniform. A big centre to mentor some of their youth.

    • He could play top line minutes and be effective in the role. His skills are diminishing and he is often injured. I also would question his desire to play elsewhere. He’s won the cup already and has enough money to ride off into the sunset. I don’t know if he just can’t do it, or does not try to but he never really takes control of the game like a lot of the other big names can.

    • If Vinnie wants to end his career with Tampa, it could still be done.

      Do the buy out…sign a 1 year deal with another team.(Detroit maybe?)

  5. Heres a different deal that could help out the leafs and predators, there would also half to be a few teams involved but heres what i think

    to nashville: Ben Scrivens, ashton Carter
    To Toronto: Ryan ellis, and 2nd round pick 2014.

    nashville gets a realiable back-up behind renne, and a decent prospect at forward

    toronto picks up a older puk moving dman who has had high hopes but is on the outs in nashville and a 2014 pick

    toronto, then needs a back-up so they could promote either mcintyre or rynass or try and land a bernier.

    tried something different..

    • Toronto doesn’t need any more puck moving d-men (Gardiner, Liles), what they need is a hard-hitting stay at home solid brute who can clear the front of the net. I don’t think anyone on Nashville fits the bill there…

      • thats why i was saying other teams would half to be involved. Ellis is 22 i watched him play in windsor , yes it was hr a but this kid has awesome skills and hockey sense. so say leafs move liles, sign fraser keep him with franson, phaneuf gunnerson/ and gardiner and ellis i know its not exactly what we are looking for but having ellis, reilly franso, gardiner as 4 young d going forward would be awesome. Leafs acquire bernier from La and we have an awesome 1 two punch, clarkson, and boyd gordon as ufa and i am liking the leafs chances

        • going to give up more than a backup goalie to land ellis.

  6. Tampa can’t afford the $30M it would take to buy out Vinny. The Leafs are one of the few teams that can afford to do it for Tampa.

    • Interesting, but why would the Leafs do it? It’s a big chunk of change and TB would have to make a pretty sweet offer to Toronto to get this done.
      As for those who say “Toronto can just not buy him out and play him at #1 Centre” I doubt he would even show up to practice if Nonis screws Yzerman over like that. Never-mind the fact that no other team in the NHL would want to deal with a backstabbing GM like that.

    • I wonder what the league’s view of that kind of transaction is? A trade and buyout that is.

      You’re right Konstantine in that TO has enough puck movers, they need some more grit.

    • I don’t really see it being in the Corporate culture for the leafs to do this. Yes they have the financials to do it. But 30 Million is 30 Million and they are owned by two corporations that don’t really have a single face. Philly while owned by Comcast is Ed Snider’s baby and he’s shown he is okay with throwing away money trying to build a winner. Charles Wang is also one that is bad with his money and is used to wasting it. So I really do not see the leafs blowing that kind of money even though they can.

      • Larry Tanenbaum wields a pretty big sword at this point considering Rogers and Bell are competitors and Larry has the swing vote.

        • Agreed about Larry but I’m 99.9% sure that it probably dosent even make it that far Tim is the president of MLSE he was hired to do a job and with the history this guy has and all the success he has had in sports and developing not just in the case of the kings but in the sports and entertainment business in general I am sure he has the keys to the car and full control to do whatever he wants or thinks is needed. There is absolutely no chance he would have ever accepted the job if it was anything otherway. He is a huge personality that will be the straw that stirs the drink when it comes to anything MLSE. He is much more than just a figure head that reports to the board. Instead of asking its probably more of an update and then a “sure Tim if you think that’s the direction we should go in…”. The guy is responsible for billions of dollars in revenue and other giant projects and turn arounds in sports.

    • Or trade him to Buffalo, they buy him out for a price, then Tampa resigns him cheaper

      • Ya Buffalo can afford that… ????

      • Thing is Alex, Vinny has an NMC – so TB is gonna have to buy him out and then he can sign anywhere he wants, except TB. What I could see happening is Vinny being traded along with the #3 draft pick to a team that will buy him out. I would say the odds of that happening are slim to none, but funnier things have happened.

  7. Philly needs to buyout Bryz, it would be best for both parties. Assuming he stays in the NHL there would be plenty of interest in him from other clubs as mentioned before and they could possiby attain him with a smaller contract. Philly isn’t considered or close to being considered a Stanley Cup contender so sticking with Mason for the next year or two is perfect temporary fix.

    I believe Pitt had the greatest blessing and burden having such a star studded cast. Signing their top guys (Malkin, Crosby, Neil and possibly Letang) to keep their star core together will definatly hurt their chances within the next few years. Having so much money commited to so few players restricts their ability to acquire depth and though they haven’t said they aren’t looking for a new goalie, I personally have a hard time believing them on that. So signing Letang will definatly prohibit any chance of getting a better goalie.

    • No one knows what Philly roster going to look like in October. Not even Holmgren. :) For Philly to make playoffs they need to improve 5 on 5, goaltending and maybe add a 20 goal scorer. Doable. Very doable. Schenn, Couturier and Read can improve their season.

      240 man games loss to an injury in 48 games? Tough to replace.

      • That’s nothing, check some of the “man games loss to injury” on the NYI 2-4 years ago. Now that is an eye-opener for ya. ;).
        I think they broke a record during one of those years.

  8. I don’t care where Iginla goes as long as he doesn’t resign with the Pens … and he can take Morrow & Murray with him …

  9. Philly are going to have to shed over $13M. They are currently $7.8M over the maximum cap hit, then they will sign Streit for $5.25M per (cap hit) = $13.05M. And that is just to sign Streit and hit the maximum cap hit. On top of that, they’ll need to sign or re-sign 9 more players. Now there are talks of trading for Bernier and Bernier being a RFA who’ll get or should get a #1-like pay raise. With Briere and Bryz bought out, that only amounts for $12.16M. They’ll need to trade Timonen for a draft pick and hope that Pronger will still be on their LTIR.

    Then the talks of LA demanding at least a 1st rounder for Bernier…and the Leafs in on that list of likely teams to acquire him. No way in hell they give up their 21st overall for him, when they have Reimer, whom has proven at least enough worth that the Leafs don’t have to give up their 21st overall. I think the Leafs will attempt to try and trade up in the draft. If they should use their 21st overall to acquire a goalie, they should go after a goalie that is more proven (legit #1) goalie. Like a Luongo, Miller or Halak. I’m not saying they’ll go after Luongo or Miller or Halak, but that is the type of proven-ness they need, if they use their 21st overall and look to improve past Reimer. If for some reason they headachingly go after Luongo, it should be a straight up trade for Reimer, and take back Komisarek for the purpose to buy him out.

    • LeafsAdvocate… ha. Flyers are 7.8M over the cap BECAUSE they have agreement with Streit… It’s not 7.8 plus 5.25M for Streit.. It’s 7.8 INCLUDING 5.25M Streits contract.

      Learn how to count and what do you mean Flyers better hope Pronger stays on LTIR this has to be a joke. Pronger is not coming back for sure and if he does that’s awesome!!!! I hope he is 100% healthy tomorrow.

      7.8 (including 5.25 Streits contract), MINUS Briere’s salary 6.5 and Bryzgalov’s salary 5.6 and Pronger’s LTIR 4.94.

      • Pronger’s too injury prone to be useful to any team right now, let alone the Flyers.

        • Really? You are Mr.Obvious, aren’t you?

          I wonder why did you say: “and hope that Pronger will still be on their LTIR.”

          • Wow, you really do have selective reading don’t you! When I said “and hope that Pronger will still be on their LTIR”, you should of…but you obviously didn’t…realize that because of Pronger’s status is always up in the air, they hope (because of their cap issues) that he is still on LTIR so that they don’t have to make more drastic changes to their group when it comes to trying to keep core players.

    • I would’ve agreed with you at the beginning of the season, but I think that for the next season the Reimer-Scrivens combo will carry the load just fine (barring any serious injuries). Therefore the Leafs should be focusing on more immediate needs: #1 Centre, and a hard-hitting crease-clearing stay at home solid D-man.
      Many bloggers speculate that this training camp they will see if JVR can move to C (he played this in junior hockey) if so, then they can worry only about adding grit and defense.
      You have to admit that if they do pull it off, a top line of Lupul, JVR, Kessel looks pretty darn good.

  10. What will it cost for Bernier? A Draft pick and young inexpensive prospects?

  11. If Malone is bought out he will be picked up by a team that needs a bit of skill, some size and some grit alongside a smaller centre. Many candidates there!

    Briere, would be a great pickup for any of the teams mentioned with his skill, as well Ottawa and Montreal I would think. Because of his children I believe he would give preference to playing for an east coast team looking for a skilled winger who can score clutch goals.

    As for Jarome Iginla, I could see him take a skate with Anaheim. I have read he wants to play for a potential contender, and in California. I agree with Lyle he is not as good a fit in LA as he would be in Anaheim, especially if Selanne retires.

    I cannot see anyone going to the trouble of signing Bernier only to flip him. I cannot see him coming to the Leafs. Unless Toronto trades Reimer (I doubt it) Bernier is more of an equal, not an upgrade and we do not need another fight for the net. Reimer won that battle with Scrivens. If Reimer is staying then Leafs either need an upgrade who would start before him, or a designated backup, which they already have. If Kings are really worried about a flip, then trade him to the Oilers or Flames straight up and get what you really want for him in players picks or prospects. If they do not they could end up facing somene like Halak anyway. At least they would know Bernier’s weak spots!

    • Briere would work wonders in Toronto, and no, I’m not being a typical Leafs fan who thinks anyone and everyone should be on Toronto. But Briere has what Toronto needs. Grit/fiest, play-making-abilities and can score. Would work wonders with Kessel, and add in a few UFA signings:


      • Eek I want no part of the ltir squad you have there…

        • We would have half the Marlies in the starting lineup by Christmas…no thankyou

      • I still to this day, have no idea why Briere is paid so elite-like! He has only ever played an injury-free season once, that was back in 2003-2004. On top of that, he has only scored more than his games played in a season…hold it…hold it…TWICE! In 2005/06 he played 48 games and scored 58 points. The following year he played 81 games and had 95 points. And has been injured every year since then, and has never been a point-per-player since.

      • What are you smoking? You make Leafs fans look horrible with ridiculous posts like this! Did you forget about Grabo, Bozak and McClement? McClement is arguably the MOST important player on our bottom 6 and there’s no way we bring back MacArthur. I’m sure we’ll sign the top 3 FA’s then move Frattin to C on the 4th line………you’re a genius bud!

    • Sounds strange but what about Briere for Malone? Philly gets a winger to clear up room from their center log jam. Briere can center TB 3rd line…creating room at wing for their 1st rd pick this yr at wing in top 6 ?

      • Would not be a very good idea for Tampa to pay Briere the money and the cap hit to be a third liner

  12. Konstantine,

    Agree with JVR comment but not Bernier.

    Yes Lupul JVR Kessel
    How about Malone Kadri and Clarkson as a second line?

    • Malone is Clowe 2.0 or Armstrong 3.0 Clowe being Armstrong 2.0….lol

  13. Bernier will be moved for either a 1st and a roster potential player or a 2nd and a potential first liner, judging by past prices.

    NJ will not be in on Weiss; they’re already jammed a center with Lokti, Zajac, Henrique, JJ, and S. Gionta.

  14. I for one think that Bernier would be an upgrade over Reimer and would open up even more cap space over the next couple of years. I haven’t seen him play a ton but he is great with his angles and is a fantastic athlete. If he can be had without having to sell the farm then I think it’s a move worth making. I would then flip Reimer to CGY in hopes of getting one of their 3 first rounders in this years draft. Couple that pick with our 21st overall and you are able to leverage both those picks to move up in the draft.
    As for the centre position, I think JVR is worth trying out down the middle with Lupul and Kessel.

    • That actually sounds pretty good, but you forgot that LA will demand a 1st rounder.

    • NO ONE is going to trade for Reimer no one at all,

  15. We here have a nice Russian goalie for the Flyers here in Colorado, I’ll pay the air fare

    • i’ll trade you brad richards for varlamov =) and future considerations (aka O’Reilly when the time comes)

      • Starting to see a trend here….

  16. Dregger is now saying Frattin is on LA’s radar for any trade involving Bernier.

  17. The Frattin for Bernier trade rumour goes back to before the lockout, before Reimer got a chance to prove himself. I know Bernier is good, but when Bernier and Reimer were a tandem at the World Cup of Hockey a few years ago Reimer was clearly the better goalie. Too bad we never got to see them play equal games this year for a more true comparison.

    I cannot see Bernier leaving LA to possibly become a a backup or at best split games in tandem with another goalie. He will want to go where he has a definite shot of being the starter or definite heir apparent. Teams like Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Islanders or another team that may offload a goaltender. If the Kings do not want to deal him to a western conference team directly then I could see the Leafs pick him up if only to use him to trade for a player or pick they want, say with Calgary or Edmonton to move up in the draft. Bernier and Leafs 21st for 6th or 7th overall, which might allow them to snag Sean Monaghan. While i would welcome an upgrade over Reimer, the Leafs have more significant roles to fill.

    • Toronto trades Frattin + 21st overall for Bernier. Then trades Bernier to Edmonton for their 7th overall.

      • The Leafs are getting hosed for Bernier if any deal involves a first and then we are screwing Edm. Even harder this makes no sense

  18. Goaltending is the Leafs most imminent role. Reimer cannot catch or hold onto rebounds. I am unfortunately a Leaf fan.

    Although I think the Islanders are in the best position to snag Bernier. They are in the east and have a lot of interesting prospects to discuss.

  19. Reimer was amazing for the Leafs all season long…..he finished 9th in save percentage and was very good in the playoffs until the last 10 mins. He is NOT getting traded or upgraded!!! Clarkson is undoubtedly our biggest FA target as well as re-signing Bozak…….maybe a Weiss or Briere if we trade or buyout Grabo or lose Bozak to FA. I think the Leafs will try to sign D. Murray as well to help the blueline depth. I know everyone has a vision what their teams’ lines will look like next year so here’s a REASONABLE prediction of mine:

    JVR – Weiss/Bozak – Kessel
    Lupul – Kadri – Clarkson
    Frattin – McClement – Kulemin
    Hamilton – Colbourne – Orr/McLaren

    Phaneuf – Gunnerson
    Franson – Fraser
    Gardiner – D.Murray
    Ranger – Reilly (call-ups)


    Buyout or Trade Candidates – Grabo, Liles, Komi

    • The guy. Can’t catch and let’s an awful lot of rebounds get away from him because of this teams pretty much shoot on him when coming across the red line (ok not really but…) he faces a lot of shots that were almost intended to be used as a pass his save percentage is a little exaggerated…Dont get me wrong I lime Rimer and think he could be a starter but let’s not read too much in to his save percentage

  20. No one wants to admit it in Alberta, but Iggy would be a perfect fit on the Oilers, who need a power forward and veteran presence on 2nd/3rd line. Price may be too high, but believe me they are likely interested. Iginla can still contribute but can’t be counted on as 1st line winger anymore.

  21. Spector’s comment that it isn’t Lecavalier’s fault the Lightning signed him to his albatross contract finds me perturbed. Signing a contract is a two-way street. Lecavalier’s agent may hold the majority of discussions with the general manager, but Lecavalier OK’d the contract; he put his signature to it.

    It is too much to suggest that players are ignorant of the salary cap. If a player signs a deal worth that much money, with that large a cap hit, it isn’t without knowledge that his contract will only leave a certain amount left for the team to work with.

    It is the fault of BOTH parties that this contract leaves the Lightning with little wiggle room, not just Lightning management. In fact, it is often the general manager that is left with little option but to sign a player they believe is an integral part of their team to such contracts to avoid losing them.

    The ball must be in both courts; players must recognize that enormous contracts limit a team’s ability to hire other significant talent with which to build around and pursue the Stanley Cup with.

    It is high time we realize that both parties are culpable, and that, in fact, player agents (and their clients) hold the lion’s share of responsibility for the signing of these ridiculous contracts. And it is the “comparable” theory that leads to this unfortunate set of circumstances. One player with similar ice time and plus/minus to another player who bamboozled a GM into a large contract demands the same because “the market dictates that is what I should earn” and suddenly we see third line calibre players earning $3 million a year.

    The GM’s job is to build a quality team; if the quality players available to him demand large sums of money because “the market” suggests that’s what they should earn, then I hardly blame them for signing those deals. Else, they will become Nashville (minus Barry Trotz), with a plethora of mid-range talent that just cannot make the grade.