A Good Deal
Dominic Moore wants to stay in Toronto. Brian Burke wants to keep him. Pretty much every member of the Leaf Nation who has watched Moore play this season wants him to stay. So why does it seem likely this is a deal that won't get done and that Moore will be an ex-Leaf by Wednesday, or earlier?
Simple. The Leafs believe that Moore is a player who deserves more than the $900,000 he's making, but not three times that amount, and they believe we are heading into a period in which, like baseball, the middle class is being eliminated and salaries for the bulk of hockey players will soon be falling.
The expectation, meanwhile, is that Moore will want more, and not because he's an unreasonable fellow, but because he's played himself into a higher tax bracket this season by being a productive, unselfish, team-oriented player who has bought into Ron Wilson's philosophy and system.
Players of his ability are getting in the $2.2 million to $3 million salary range. Why shouldn't he? When athletes careers are so short, why wouldn't he want to get as much as possible now? Moreover, the Leafs have oodles of cap space, right?
Well, to get it, he'll probably have to first be traded on Wednesday, maybe for a second round draft pick, and then get it from that new team or some other organization.
Far be it for me to advise a player on how he should pursue his business interests as they related to the NHL. But this looks like an extremely good fit for Moore, and if this deal gets done for $4.5 million over three years it works for everybody and he's in a town where he's popular, no one will even boo him for being overpaid and he could become part of a winning situation.
Even if another team wants him, and would be willing to pay him in the $2.5 million range, it might not mean that much. Patrick Rismiller was a good fit in San Jose last year who took a $1 million-per-season contract from the Rangers and now isn't even in the NHL.
From my perspective, I rarely root for contracts to get done. Players should get what they can and teams should hire who they want at whatever prices. Certainly a player like Moore is, to a significant degree, a replaceable asset.
But in this case, with Moore being a Toronto boy, it would be great to see this deal get done, a deal that works for the player, the team and the fans. It just seems unlikely.