In this free agent frenzy filled July, we often look at team building through a sober lens of numbers or – as fans – like we’re filling our plates at some hockey buffet table.
The “human element” is often lost in this process, especially for the far-from-superstar players. While it’s quite reasonable to imagine that the Ilya Kovalchuk situation comes down to money, market, team quality or a picky combination of all those factors, it’s a little different for the average NHL player.
It’s an odd feeling when your agent calls with options. What do you value the most this year? The city? Its location? The money? The opportunity? Any of the other 52,006 variables?
What matters most to each player is nowhere near the same. Maybe a single guy wants to live in a bigger city to have a social life. Maybe a family man wants to live closer to his hometown. Some guys want money, and some just want to get noticed. And while GMs don’t know exactly what will pique the interest of each player, sometimes that player won’t even be sure where his priorities are.
If you’ve ever read a “choose your own adventure” book, I’m sure you remember frequently making the wrong choice. It happens in reality, too. I chose to make a couple hundred bucks less a week in the ECHL to sign with a team that I thought provided a better path to the NHL. Lesson: Active players make lousy GMs.
There certainly are a lot of factors that play into a decision that could drastically alter the lives of these players. Perhaps that’s why the Patrick Marleaus of the world decide that there’s no place like home.
Milan Lucic may or may not spend a big chunk of his career with the Los Angeles Kings, but the Boston Bruins haven’t forgotten his contributions.
(Their fans haven’t, either.)
The Bruins shared a tribute video for Lucic, decked out in a loud, retro-style Kings sweater on Tuesday. The hulking winger seemed to appreciate the nod from his former team, and also acknowledged fans who watched him develop into one of the league’s most formidable power forwards.