Monday, August 8, 2011
Are the Luke Schenn negotiations in trouble?
The Los Angeles Kings are at a negotiating stalemate with defenseman Drew Doughty, a restricted free agent. That situation got no easier when an arbitrator awarded Nashville's Shea Weber, a more experienced defenseman, $7.5 million for one year.
The Kings believe that Doughty will be a holdout. Holdouts can derail a season for a player and/or a team. They can create animosity between the two sides that lingers beyond the contract resolution. They're generally, and genuinely, bad news. That being said the NHL has seen very few holdouts. The player has little to lose from holding out because they often get paid for the entire season no matter how many games they actually play.
Now there is speculation that this is just the Kings executives playing hard ball with Doughty. But Doughty is represented by Don Meehan of Newport Sports who is an savvy negotiator with over 30 years in the business. He just negotiated the free agent contract for Brad Richards.
Meehan also represents Leaf defenseman Luke Schenn. Since Schenn was selected just 3 spots behind Doughty in the 2008 Entry Draft the two couldn't be more closely linked. I can't see Schenn signing before Doughty signs his contract. So if Doughty ends up being a holdout, will Schenn follow suit?
I'm not suggesting that Schenn will be able to get close to the money Doughty will be getting. However, the more that Doughty gets the more Schenn will be able to demand. Maybe Brian Burke be able to get Schenn's signature on a contract but if he can't get it done before the season starts, it could derail the Leafs' dream of making the playoffs/