Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wheeler a Free Agent

Phoenix's 30 days to sign Blake Wheeler have run out, meaning he is now a free agent. As compensation for not signing Wheeler, Phoenix will get the 35th overall pick in this year's NHL draft. Wheeler is now free to sign with any NHL team, but will be bound by the new NHL collective bargaining rules when signing a contract.

28 comments:

Chuck Schwartz said...

Well I didn't see that coming. I thought Phoenix would sign him for sure. Now while Wheeler wasn't worth the 5th overall pick, he was certainly better than 35th overall. I'm assuming Phoenix just did this to save money.

I wonder if Wheeler was just asking for too much and screwed himself. If he possibly took a little less money and signed with Phoenix rather then becoming a free agent under the new CBA and losing more money.

We'll see how it works out but I think Wheeler might have screwed himself.

Kirk said...

Bummer for them to drop from a #5 overall pick to #35. I wonder which side ultimately made this decision. Is PHX unhappy with his development? Did Blake not like something in the Coyotes organization? Seems like the team has a lot of upside right now.

Anonymous said...

Is Wheeler still not bound to the rookie maximum, meaning he will get the max 850 000 where ever he goes?

Anonymous said...

I think this is bad for college hockey. His stand off is going make NHL teams sign their drafted players who play a year or two in the USHL by their Junior or Sophmore season. Not as bad as what Van Ryn did, but bad.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Chuck but you are wrong. Read the quote from the Phoenix GM and you'll see they offered plenty of money.


"I'm actually quite stunned," Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said Thursday. "Quite frankly, we made him an offer significantly better than any other contract he can get (right now)."

Anonymous said...

Phoenix had drafted him under the old CBA and as such was the only team that could offer more then the current max. My guess is he felt he could get a more realistic shot at actually making an NHL team with another franchise (regardless of what type of contract you sign...if you are playing in the AHL...you are making a fraction of the NHL contract pay).

stickboy1956 said...

http://www.areavoices.com/undhockey/?blog=27799

"He was drafted under the old CBA, which is why he could have made more by signing with Phoenix. Entry-level contracts are capped at a smaller value under the new CBA.

If he signed with Phoenix, Wheeler could have signed for $984,200 with a $295,260 signing bonus. Now, the max he can sign for is $875,000 with an $87,500 signing bonus."

gofalcons said...

Anon -

That's a maximum - who says he will get the maximum?

dggoddard said...

This probably had more to do with making an NHL roster than money. If some other team is willing to give him a spot on the big club or fast track him in the AHL then its a wise move on Wheeler's part.

Good luck Blake.

Anonymous said...

John Carlson is now stating he WILL go to London...

Anonymous said...

"This probably had more to do with making an NHL roster than money"

Actually both making an NHL roster and money are related. Once you get past the signing bonus, the annual salary on a two way contract pays only a fraction when you are in the AHL and only the full ammount if you are actually on the NHL roster. If Wheeler saw his path to the NHL (and again actually getting the full annual salary and not a portion stuck in the AHL) easier with another franchise, he really did not leave any money on the table and will make MORE by going elsewhere.

By the way, I agree with his thoughts. With Mueller and a couple other kids already having broke in with the Yotes, and Turris, Porter, and Kolarik in the wings, there are probably easier rosters for a young guy to make next year.

Anonymous said...

Gophers and Phoenix didn't want him.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the character of a #5 pick who won't honor the team that drafted him because he's afraid he won't make the team. Most kids would be busting their asses of in hopes of making a good team and honor the team that took a chance on at the #5 pick. Not Wheeler I guess. I really have to question his character on this one.

Anonymous said...

Any player with half a brain would be free agent if they could. Who wants to be someone's slave, when you can be your own master, and pick your team, and where you are going to live. How many people would let someone else make a decision like who your boss is, and where you are going to live if they can make it themselves. Lack of character, bullsh/t.

Anonymous said...

Anyone think that maybe Wheeler soured on Phoenix because he wanted to go pro last off season and the interest was not reciprocated?

Anonymous said...

I agree with 5:27. Wheeler just sounds selfish.

Anonymous said...

While I agree that Wheeler is selfish, how does that make any different from professional athletes everywhere?

Selfishness is kind of the point today. Teams don't draft players out of the goodness of their hearts. Phoenix has a lot of young talent and a lineup which may be hard to crack. Maybe Wheeler will be able to secure more playing time elsewhere. Time will tell I guess.

Anonymous said...

These kids don't owe the team that drafts them a thing. These NHL teams certainly don't mind showing no "loyalty" to some guys that have played in their system for years when it comes to re-signing them. So why should we expect young players to be any different? It is a business. It isn't a marriage.

Anonymous said...

this is work, a JOB, not a saturday at the church picnic. blake needs to do whats best for blake right now, he can worry about attitude and charachter once he has secured a place to play - then he can honor those teammates. are you people idiots that you'd say he owed the coyotes something? you have no idea how the game is played.

Anonymous said...

Wheeler not signing because he thinks he might not make the team is lame. I guess every Detroit and Pittsburgh draft should hold out to right? Just sad in my opinion. He looks like a spoiled brat.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more with 8:42 PM. Anyone who knows the first thing about the business side of professional sports can tell you that the character criticism is ridiculous. Every player in the league (and their agents) would jump at the chance to pick their own situation if they had the opportunity -- Keator is as sharp as they come and he looks to give his clients the most options possible. Wheeler had the option of a max/close to max deal with Phoenix, or moving to another team (after being offered a nice deal) where he could potentially make/play more by cracking the roster sooner. Wheeler's decision is about finding the best opportunity. Any person who has changed jobs in their career has done the exact same thing (just not at the same $$ amount), only in Wheeler's case, the 'Yotes didn't spend 2-3 years paying him and developing him like your prior employer did for you (the Gophers paid that bill for them). It is simply a unique business opportunity, and people need to get real if they think team management is more loyal than the player. Was Ray Bourque selfish and disloyal for leaving the Bruins to go to the Avalanche to win a cup? Players realize that their career will not last forever, so it comes down to finding the best opportunity as soon as possible. If you have the option to do it when you come in the league, so be it -- you're just lucky.

Deejer said...

9:46 AM: Umm, one small thing between the Borque and Wheeler comparison. One was a proven veteran player who knew how to play the NHL game and went to another team to try to win a cup....the other hasn't been on the NHL ice yet for a puck drop and, this is just a hunch, won't have QUITE the career Borque had. And Wheeler and his agent are trying to call the shots for whom he signs with? This guy has got flame-out written all over him. Nice try though on the "Blake can do whatever he wants" line. Yep, and he can play NHL Playstation, too.

Anonymous said...

9:46 get a clue. Comparing Bourque who was considered a bonifide hall of famer when he left Boston or a guy who thinks he won't make the team and chickens out. Great comparison{me rolling my eyes)

Quick question, when was the last time a top ten draft pick held out for free agency? Yep that's what I thought.

Anonymous said...

deejer,

I was the 9:46 posting (not sure who 8:42 is, or why my blogger account isn't recognized). I'm not sure you understand what I'm saying (or, more likely, I didn't explain it well enough). There is a reason that the NHLPA holds out for free agency rights. I agree with you that a player's options will always be limited by the number of teams interested in signing him, but what agent lets a client elect free agency without knowing that more than 1 other team is interested in him? If that actually happened, every other agent would use it to show Keator's a moron and steal clients. Assuming the difference in signing bonus money is not your sole basis for making a decision, would you want the opportunity to deal with only 1 team or more than 1 team? Keator just pushed Wheeler through a unique loophole. Now, if I am sitting in Phoenix, a fair question seems to be "Why did you enter the draft back then -- you could've waited until you were 20 and signed with whoever you wanted and we could've made other decisions for our team's future?" Doesn't make it right, or mean that the decision will work out, or even that Wheeler will play up next year, but why turn down the flexibility if money is less of an issue and you don't like your opportunity with a particular team? My 2 cents ....
- Whiskey

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:39 PM,
Like I said -- it's a loophole, you either get it or you don't (See dggoddard at 10:05AM). In terms of your “Quick Question”, why don't you pull out your dusty highlight reels of Eric Lindros lighting the lamp for the Nordiques and Jack Johnson delivering some punishing hits for the Hurricanes – or did those things never happen? Quick Reply Question -- Dude, do you realize that you're making my point? Even though those two didn’t have access to the same loophole as Wheeler, they still created their own form of "free agency" anyway by holding out, delaying entrance into the league, etc. It has nothing to do with being a rookie or a lock Hall of Famer, it’s simply about taking advantage of an opportunity to exercise power when it is available. Happens all the time. See also -- John Elway, Kobe Bryant, JD Drew, Steve Francis, Eli Manning, etc. Sorry to burst that rainbows and unicorns bubble you have going there, but it looks like you’ll still be safe swimming in that shallow end of the kiddie pool for a while. Hope that works out for you. BTW, the tooth fairy and Easter Bunny aren't real either.

- Whiskey

Chris: Always an entertaining blog. Thanks for letting me ramble -- I’m done on this one.

Anonymous said...

Quick reply:

Eric Lindros(for Peter Forberg) and Jack Johnson(for draft pick) were both traded.
Steve Francis and Eli Manning were also suprise! suprise! traded.

And what the hell does John Elway and Kobe Bryant have to do with anything

Anonymous said...

Jack Johnson was traded, yes, however many Carolina fans claim Johnson refused to join the Hurricanes and they had no choice but to trade him (Johnson has never publicly stated that).

John Elway didn't want to be drafted #1 overall by Baltimore and publicly stated he would refuse to join the organization, but they drafted him anyway (like Eli Manning later did). Elway said if he didn't get traded, he'd go play baseball and the Colts owner gave in and traded him to Denver. He basically pulled a power play and forced the Colts hand.

Anonymous said...

All of those players forced the drafting organization to make a decision they didn't want to make. Wheeler just had more flexibility in his situation. INCH lists these players who could wind up in a similar situation as Wheeler: Jeff Petry (Michigan State), Alex Kangas (Minnesota), and Kyle Lawson (Notre Dame). MLB is the worst here because they let the player go right back into the following year's draft if the player doesn't sign right away.