NHL Free Agent Tryouts: The New Possibility For Cash Strapped Teams?

Nucks IceMan@nucksiceman@twitter.comCorrespondent IAugust 14, 2010

Kim Johnsson
Kim JohnssonJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It was reported on TEAM 1040 radio Friday morning that the New York Islanders have sent out invitations to a number of free agents that are unsigned, for tryouts to their team.

When you look at the concept, it makes sense for teams that are struggling financially and are looking for the biggest bang for their buck.

As reported on capgeek.com, there are still 160+ free agents that are still available and if these players want to play this year, why wouldn’t they take an invitation?

Granted, the top 20-30 maybe not want to play for a bottom feeder like the New York Islanders (finished 13th in the Eastern Conference), but a huge number of these players are in the twilight of their careers, fringe types, or still in the early years of development.

Paul Kariya, Kim Johnsson, Fredrik Modin, Parick O’Sullivan, Raffi Torres, and Marek Svatos are just a few of many that could help the Islanders and possibly at a bargain price from their last season salary.

The one thing that these huge long term salaries has done is that five to seven players are gobbling up anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of a team’s salary cap.

That doesn’t leave much for the other 16-18 players remaining on the team that are looking for their piece of the pie.

So did the salary cap serve its purpose as far as keeping the inflated costs down?

In my humble opinion, the only thing that I see is that the terms are longer for the overall contract amounts to the top 1-2 percent and they have gone up.

Most teams have recognized the need to sign their core players in order to be competitive, but somewhere in the next CBA, both sides will have to introduce a way so that these general managers don’t shoot themselves in the foot.

How can you re-build a team again like the Chicago Blackhawks when your top five players are making 50 percent of their salary cap?

No wonder four teams are currently over the cap and another four are close to it. I guess that’s the price of challenging for the Stanley Cup. As long as the fan support is there, why not?

In saying that, will the next CBA increase the minimum salary cap so that it weeds out a number of teams that are milking the league with support revenue payments?

If the area like the southeastern United States is not going to support hockey, why bother?

I would think that you could pull three teams from that region and place them in Canada without too much trouble and those teams would have the fans knocking down their doors for tickets.