Wednesday, July 16, 2008

DR plays hardball

So, it's been high drama in Wildville today as Russo informed us that Stephan Veilleux was put on waivers today. You could almost hear the collective *thunk* of jaws hitting the floor, as just yesterday, we were hearing that his contract negotiations were going fine.

But there are several factors at play:

  1. Prospect camp just finished, so the front office has a better sense of who they have waiting in the wings. Hello, Cal Clutterbuck!
  2. Steph fired his agent and opted to negotiate this contract himself. I suppose he thought the earnest way Risebrough dealt with Rolston would carry over to him. Not so much, champ.
  3. Steph is asking for too much and the Wild are making no bones about the fact that this move is to prove that to him. They're wagering he won't get picked off waivers and he'll have to come back to the table with his hat in his hands. This is the part that I find to be a) very crafty on Riser's part but also b) humiliating on Steph's part. But really, he brought it on himself by overvaluing his services, and I think if they were anywhere close, the Wild wouldn't make this move.
  4. My personal theory is that he will clear waivers because the GMs of the league are going to look at this situation and see it as an opportunity to get some semblance of control over the market after the frenzy of free agency ratcheted up salaries even for 3/4 line checkers like SV (see Aaron Voros' $3 Mil, 3 year deal in NY). So they're purposely not even going to consider SV for their teams and basically back Riser up by not picking him up. Hey, it's not collusion if they all make the decision individually.
So there's that. We'll see how it plays out. Someone would have to claim him by 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Personally, I like the energy SV brings, but he is entirely replaceable. However, I don't like the optics of this... it's hard for fans to see a player who consistently played with guts and heart basically take it up the ass from management. But he had a hand in the matter. There's a reason guys use agents and why the NHLPA expressed concern over his handling this on his own.

And apparently he was informed prior to being placed on waivers that this was coming. I guess he either thought he'd call their bluff or he really believes he'll be picked up. He's willing to gamble, either way, so I don't feel too sorry for him.


hipcheck  July 16, 2008 at 2:42 PM  

The way some GM's act, like 5 year old children crying to mama, I wouldn't be surprised if someone came in and picked him up just because they could.

Either way, I am sure some fans will be bitter. But who in their right mind, unless they were like a law student, would try to negotiate without an agent? That's what they are there for! And if you don't like your current one, fire him and get a new one!

Ms. Conduct  July 16, 2008 at 2:52 PM  

Yeah, that's the flipside to my theory... if DR has any enemies in the GM ranks, now's the time to screw him.

I kind of admired SV for ditching his agent but it was a little disconcerting hearing the concern many in the league had about the move. And voila! It bites him in the ass.

I think folks will get over it quickly. He's not a big enough fan favorite that anybody's willing to overpay for him. He was no Fedoruk. ;)

Life_As_A_Redhead  July 16, 2008 at 5:12 PM  

I'm all for getting as much out of a contract as you can. But he's just being ignorant. There are lots of agents out there. And sometimes, It's better to get somthing. This way he's just looking like a jackass.

Ms. Conduct  July 17, 2008 at 12:24 AM  

Interesting to get the perspective of non-Wild fans... on the forums, most people are much more supportive of SV and the vitriol is aimed squarely at the front office. But I think that's because

a) he's a fan favorite, big heart and soul kinda guy, so we hate to see a guy we love and who seems to love playing for us get even remotely screwed or disrespected.

b) because the front office has done some much screwball crap leading up to this that patience was already thin.

But like I said, it's interesting to get a non-homer perspective where SV comes out the main idiot in this scenario. :)

Ms. Conduct  July 17, 2008 at 12:53 AM  

I realize I seemed to contradict myself... "he's not a big enough fan favorite" to "he's a fan favorite"... but really he's not a "big money" type of fan favorite like Rolston or Gaborik or Koivu. He's a role player, but one that most folks like a lot for the job he does.

I just have to share this video of him from The Game against Colorado where we just fucking fell apart as a team, but SV goes a little juvenile and it's pretty funny.

Life_As_A_Redhead  July 17, 2008 at 7:37 PM  

Thanks for shareing that video, I could kiss him for punching McLeod. The video was hilarious.

I unfortunatley didn't get to see ANY of the Wild X Aves games. (Actually I didn't get to see much of the playoffs at all.) So the video was a real treat. Thanks.

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