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Are You Ready To Overpay?

An interesting retweet from Eric Stephens today:

Ducks still want Bieksa but the price will be hefty, Salo's injury helped the Canucks in some ways...less than a minute ago via web

NHLSourcesSay is the "insider" for the site and the same Twitter account that posted a rumor about Selanne and the Ducks talking about a two-year deal, a rumor for which Stephens himself procured a denial from management.

The idea isn't completely illogical. With Mason Raymond now on the books, and Sami Salo, perhaps, off the books to open the season, the Canucks aren't under the gun to clear cap space. And there have been no shortage of rumored suitors for Bieksa, though Anaheim was rumored to have serious interest. So, if Bob Murray is determined to acqurie Kevin Bieksa, he will probably have to overpay for the 29 year-old and the remaining one year at 3.5M on his contract.

Of course, it's easy to assume that Murray is determined to pick up Bieksa. There has been an air of certainty whenever the Ducks have dealt with former Canucks after the Lockout. Whether it's Burke's experience up front, Murph's experience in the scouting department or Randy Carlyle's experience in Manitoba, a former Canuck usually gets the benefit of the doubt, either with the contract pen or the roster sheet pencil. Drafted as a Canuck in 2001, and having played for Carlyle in 04-05, Bieksa is the kind of Canuck that Murray is likely to be "sure" about, much more than Brendan Morrison, Todd Bertuzzi, Nathan McIver, Mike Brown or Brad May. So why wouldn't he overpay?

However, assuming he does overpay, how bad would it be? Could he ruin the group the Ducks iced at Conditioning Camp last month? Hard to say. Murph once paid Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi to get a full contract of Ryan Whitney's services. Could we lose another key McNab signing, like Sexton? Could we lose another generally recognized top prospect?

It's possible, and it brings me back to the thinly veiled point of my post last week: the hope that Bob Murray won't trade. I don't actually believe Murray would participate in an RFA offer sheet (I mean, the guy was willing to let REAL free agency pass him by, why would he play heads-up, all-in free agency), but I suppose that I hope that it happens to avoid moments like this, where Murph is, as far as I'm concerned, in a position to give away his successor's assets. I say, hands off; get fired quietly without dragging down the cupboard with you.

It's tempting. I'll give him that. It's tempting to sell the farm and make the most of the last will and testament of Teemu Selanne's career, not to mention the final years of Getzlaf's and Perry's contracts. And assuming Murph's vision for this team isn't as ludicrous as the aped Red Wings/Penguins roster he hoped to ice last year, it's maybe possible to do at a smart and sensible price. But I don't know if I trust Murph to do it, not when so much of his time in the big chair has involved the contract-equivalent of Coach Carlyle's line shuffling. He hoped Whitney could play the top shot on the power play and hoped that Wisniewski could deliver a Top 4 style of play when neither player had ever done either in their careers to that point. And their inability to do that certainly made them worth less than a Pahlsson (even at a rental), a Tangradi and a Kunitz.