How Exactly Did This Happen?

The answer? Greed.

It was announced Wednesday that Martin Biron had signed with the New York Islanders a one year $1.4 million contract. And immediately the rumours began.

Citing the major ball dropping by the Oilers and demanding the removal of Steve Tambellini as Oiler GM, fans flocked to message boards and comment boxes everywhere voicing their opinions. How could the Oilers just sit by and let Martin Biron sign with NYI for considerably less than what the Oilers offered and signed Khabibulin for?

Consider the logic of the argument.

To compare the statistics of these two netminders after finding out the differences in their salaries is completely irrelevant. When Edmonton inquired about securing the services of Biron (which we know they did), the final going rate ($1.4 million), was not something the Oilers had available to them. Had they, the Oilers would have jumped all over that like a fat kid on a snickers.

Even if Biron turned out to be not who the Oilers were hoping for in the bigger scheme of things, at $1.4 million; that price tag would have allowed Edmonton the opporunity to make other moves, adding other pieces; which could have included another established goaltender. Very much a risk the Oilers would have been more than willing to take.

Forget for a second that Khabibulin is likely overpaid. Many of us will argue he is. My argument is that his overpayment has nothing to do with Biron's total underpayment.

This situation is nothing but the result of a greedy and non-elite level goaltender who didn't understand the law of supply and demand. In a goalie flooded market, if Biron hasn't been hit in the head with a crash course of basic economics, being forced to sign on as a third string goalie on a non-playoff team; ought to wake him up to the reality of the business world.

And it's too bad. By shooting himself in the foot, Biron has inadvertantly grazed Steve Tambellini and dragged him into the same category of greedy and ignorant business dummies Biron now finds himself.

Many fans will argue that the Oilers GM should have waited out the other 11 or so teams who signed goalies this summer, effectively grabbing the best bargain available knowing prices would drop. To the credit of that argument, prices would have. But who's to say that Biron at $1.4 million would have been the last one standing and the Oilers wouldnt have ended up with an Andrew Raycroft.

We often hear about the players association getting upset with NHL players who discount their fair market value more than an acceptable amount to stay with a team that couldn't otherwise pay the going rate. One has to wonder why no one speaks up when a player perceives his value to be four times what it actually should be, especially when that player gets brought back to reality the hard way and is forced to settle for four times less than it is.

This is a big ouch to Biron and to some fans, the Oilers. No one will walk away without a boo-boo.


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