Saku Koivu earns a raise as production declines

Posted: 05/10/2012 by bc in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

According to Google News OCR’s Eric Stephens was first to report that our Ducks and Saku Koivu had agreed to a one year bonus laden contract with a base of $3million. It represents a $500k increase on his base pay from last season.
At the time of this posting all 105 Google News articles are derivative from Ice’ original report. The eyebrow raiser is the increase in base pay. It’s very rare that a veteran with declining production gets a raise. Especially on a one year contract. In that sense Bob Murray’s comment might be illuminating.
Also noteworthy is that our Ducks first signing of this financial season partly addresses team leadership.
“Saku is a character player and someone we really wanted to keep,” Ducks Executive VP/GM Bob Murray said. “We need three strong lines next season that can produce, and Saku will be a part of that.”

Our Ducks also honored and respected Koivu’s request that a contract get done before the end of May when his family returns to Finland for the summer. Obviously bringing him back settles one question going forward. Ducks appear set at center for 2012-13. The operative word is appear though.
During the throws of our Ducks horrible November & December Teemu Selanne challenged the team. In December, new coach Bruce Boudreau openly discussed limiting Ryan Getzlaf’s scope of responsibility as captain.
During the more conversation than negotiation on bringing back Sak, the gritty and smooth skating Finn said, “Talking with Bob and hearing his plan and also getting a very positive from the ownership, I’m confident that they are going to make a push.”
Refreshing to see the hand of Henry Samueli who usually prefers to stay quietly in the background, taking an active role in roster decisions.
On looking ahead to next season Koivu said, “It’s tough to say at this point, when you miss the playoffs this year. But if I didn’t feel confident about their view and their willingness to make the push, I would have looked somewhere else. It was very clear they want to get a team to make the playoffs and make the push in the springtime.”
Bob Murray didn’t discuss exactly where Koivu fits in the plan. “He’s definitely in the top nine forwards on any team in the league. That’s all I need to know.” It’s also a decision made by the coach, not the GM.

While it would be nice to know exactly what the pair discussed it doesn’t take a hockey genius to know where our Ducks are hurting. This signing speaks directly to the leadership challenge.
for the most in-depth look at our Ducks available, check out Off-Season Game Plan from Scott Cullen for tsn.ca.

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Comments
  1. yougetoutwhatyouputin says:

    Would have to agree…this speaks volumes to the lack of leadership we had in the dressing room…glad the 10-year Canadians Captain is still a Duck! lets hope we make the necessary changes to make us a cup contender.

  2. bbdux93 says:

    You – it’s hard to be a leader when you obviously don’t care – as in R. Getz-laugh

    Saku is – IMO – worth the money. Our kids need that “in the room”, on the bench and on the ice. As the commercial says “some things are priceless”.

  3. czhokej says:

    I do not know – I have mixed feelings. I have a lot of respect for Saku, He is an intelligent hockey player, great human being, good leader and mentor, a lot of skills (esp. FOs). But, he is aging, he is small, and his production will naturally go down. It reminds me the similar situation with Todd Marchant 2006-2009 – a veteran player, good leader, with good work ethic, paid approx 2.5 M a season. And then we did not have enough funds for Andy Mac. From a business point of view, it’s too much money.

  4. czhokej says:

    We were lucky in 2007 season, that we got some young, big, aggressive, and productive players very cheap. It doesn’t happen very often. Who is going to score for us next year ? Perry (?)- even there I have some doubts – his lifestyle and professionalism are also questionable; Bobby R. and Cogliano – maybe under Boudreau they will become better players. Teemu, if he comes back, will be probably around 15 goals next season. This is not enough.

  5. bbdux93 says:

    CZ – I’m confused about your comments on Andy Mac and Todd Marchant. Are you saying you think mgmt decided to trade Andy so they could keep Todd. That doesn’t make any sense to me, but maybe I missed something.
    I agree there is a similarity between an aging Koivu and Todd in his last couple of years. I guess the best reason I can come up with for saying the $3m is OK – is due to the lack of leadership from Getz.
    I read an article on NHL.com today. I can’t remember the name of the author, but the title of the Article was something about the Flyers hoping for Pronger’s return. One of his team mates (Hartnell I think) was quoted as saying how important he was “in the room” – he was a leader. If you weren’t playing hard enough he would tell you about it.
    From everything I’ve read, we don’t have that in Getz How can your team mates listen to you if it’s obvious you aren’t playing hard Every game – all 60 minutes. If once in awhile is good enough for the guy wearing the C, it must be good enough for everyone. Really! ! and he’s supposed to be respected – I don’t think so.
    I think Saku is a man of honor, when he decides he can’t compete any longer, like Todd, he will say so. Until that happens we need every guy we can get who sets an example and plays to win – Every game.
    Another thought, if as BC seems to speculate, mgmt knows they might want to trade Getz during the year, more than ever they’ll need character guys to help keep everyone focued on the goal – The Cup

  6. czhokej says:

    I apologize bb. I did not finish my train of thoughts. Marchant production was 9 goals in 07-08,
    5 goals 2008-09, 9 goals 09-10 season, and only one goal 2010-11. And the last two years his (+-) were – 16 and -18. The reasons for the trade of Andy were more complicated. We acquired Todd in 2006 from Columbus already with the contract. I used Todd as an example of a similar player. Aging, small, good skater,hardworking guy, whose skills were diminishing with time. My point is that if we overpay somebody, we will not have enough funds to bring any real difference-makers.
    You may argue that sometimes the value of a player is more than just the stats (mentoring, leadership, positive dressing room presence). Role players (enforcers, physical shut-down guys and other special guys) have their value based on something else.
    I also believe that the Flyers with Pronger would be still in the chase of the Cup. Part of Pronger’s reputation and authority was his big frame, and physical presence in the locker room and on the ice.
    I also agree that Getzy doesn’t have the respect of his teammates, he speaks in cliches, and his overused ready-made empty phrases do not have any positive inspirational impact. When you watch Brown in the playoffs, he behaves as expected from the leader.
    Maybe Koivu’s other qualities are more valuable than I thought.

  7. bbdux93 says:

    Thanks CZ – Your point – too much paid to Koivu = not enough for needed players is absoutely valid.
    It’s a difficult situation.

    • Hey Guys just a quick FYI. According to CapGeek.om our Ducks have committed $44.860million among 15 roster players. Projected cap space is reported at $24.44million.
      Ducks could be a serious player in the Parise or Suter bidding if either is available.

  8. bbdux93 says:

    I just read a great article “Coyotes Bosses” on tsn.com.
    CZ has often spoken about what a great coach they have in Dave Tippet and this article agrees with that. I was also struck by the comment about how their GM was able to get the right players – guys who would fit into Tippet’s system.
    Amazing what smart hocky people in the head office can do – or not.

  9. czhokej says:

    I play a lot of chess, and I know that positioning and strategy are often more important than the strength and value of the pieces on the board. Star player in the wrong position is basically useless. Tippett is one of the masters of defensive game.
    Calder trophy finalists – the three young players Adam Henrique from the Devils, left wing Gabriel Landeskog (Colorado) and Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are also good examples of good positioning. Besides undisputable talent they play smart hockey. They were productive (51 or 52 points) and relatively cheap.

    Canada beat Finland 5-3 at the World Championship, after being down 3-1. Perry had an assist. USA won the game against Kazakhstan in OT 3-2 and Russia beat Sweden 7-3 (Malkin 3 goals, 2 assists).

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