by Janik Beichler
Young players are better than old players. Plain and simple.
Well, there is one thing that needs to be said for it all to make sense. Younger players aren’t always better in the sense that they are better hockey players. They are just almost always a better free-agent option than older players who are entering the final years of their careers.
When talented players with respectable careers turn 30 or so and become unrestricted free agents for the first time, they also want it to be the last time. They know just as well as we do that the human body generally starts to regress in the late twenties and definitely past 30. So, they also know that it might be their last chance to get a big, long-term contract.
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Milan Lucic signed with the Edmonton Oilers for the maximum term of seven years. Loui Eriksson signed with the Canucks for six. Those deals are great today because a) both teams secured the player they wanted and b) both teams want to win today — and Eriksson and Lucic make their respective teams better.
That is great today, but once Lucic and Eriksson stop producing, they will join the David Clarkson, Scott Hartnell and Dustin Brown club of overpaid players their team wants to get rid of. Having too many players of that sort is terrible.
So instead of signing another veteran to a long-term deal — even if it’s just three years for Jiri Hudler — is not a great idea.
A much safer thing, contract-wise, would be to sign a guy like Brandon Pirri. Pirri is 25, can play at center or on the wing, and had 14 goals and 29 points in 61 games last season. The numbers aren’t great, but there is still hope that he can improve over the next couple of years. On the bright side, his low numbers make a really strong argument for a short-term deal at a low price.
If he breaks out this season, the Canucks can re-sign him to a bigger deal. If not, they let him walk after a year or two. Little risk with a chance to get a good player.
And after all, the primary role would be to support Baertschi, not steal minutes from him.
Next: Suggestion 4