Amidst months worth of speculation it seems certain shot-blocker extraordinaire Anton Volchenkov is leaving Ottawa. And after months of my own personal speculation I’ve decided to weigh in on the “A-Train” situation. Finally.
Whenever I do a piece on the Ottawa Senators I’m overcome with this vague sense of loyalty and familiarity – much like Glenn Sather is with the New York Rangers. On one hand I feel like I should know a great deal about the team, but on the other hand I really have no clue.
It’s well understood that the Senators would like to resign Volchenkov. But they can’t because the other very well known detail in this whole saga is the fact that Volchenkov wants a big pay raise – one the Senators cannot afford within the NHL’s salary cap.
Ever since Montreal stunned the Washington Capitals in the Playoffs, it seems there’s a better chance of Volchenkov becoming a Capital on July 1st than the NHL ever saying “no” to NBC. And why not? The Caps have room in their player salary structure next season (I’m doing my best to avoid saying “the Caps have cap space”) and have finally figured out their trademark “run and gun” style doesn’t win Championships.
There are a few things that I find insanely ridiculous about Volchenkov’s upcoming unrestricted free agency this summer. Especially when the majority of the interest is from Ottawa and Washington. Let’s assume the suggested asking price for Vochenkov is in fact $5 Million per season for anywhere between 4-6 years (as speculated by many media outlets all Spring).
Why would either of these teams pay a defensive defenceman $5 Million annually when they don’t even pay their goalies that much? Last season Jose Theodore made $4.8 Million (and probably won’t be resigned this summer) and Pascal Leclaire made $3.6 Million (next season, he’ll make $4.8 Million – a cap hit of $3.8 Million). Last season the Capitals allowed 2,534 shots on net while the Senators allowed 2,333. How many blocked shots did Volchenkov have? 200-300?
Volchenkov scores roughly 17-20 points per season and averages a plus-10 rating each year. Given his lack of offensive powerplay time and the fact that goals scored against while killing penalties don’t affect plus-minus ratings, being on the ice for 10 more goals than scored against isn’t exactly elite shutdown defencemen numbers.
Fact: Volchenkov doesn’t necessarily do anything at an elite level. It’s insane to pay a defenceman that much money to do a bunch of things “pretty well”.
I guess what I’m trying to say is Anton Volchenkov isn’t worth anywhere near $5 Million per season. He wouldn’t be the first overpaid UFA signing but I believe he could rank as one of the worst if he collects on the speculated contracts. Volchenkov is a solid NHL defencemen but not an elite $5 Million+ player on any team.
Stay classy, Anton Volchenkov.
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