A loophole in the six year deal that Panther forward Rostislav Olesz signed in June of 2008 could be the answer to saving the Florida Panthers some money and a way to release a player that has not produced.
As we all know Olesz has underperformed and has been hurt throughout his brief career with the Florida Panthers. The overall 7th pick in the 2004 draft came to our club with a lot of promise that has never been fulfilled, but was granted a six year deal paying him approximately 3.1 million dollars per season in 2008. Former General Manager Jacques Martin wanting to add stability to a franchise that seemed to be constantly changing signed Olesz in hopes of getting value from a young forward with promise. The return has been similar to losing money in the stock market that same year, and the year after.
Since Olesz has signed the deal he has played as though he was “Rusty”! In 2008-2009 he played in only 37 games due to a groin injury, getting 4 goals and 5 assists for 9 points! Yikes! Also proving to be a defensive liability with a minus 5 if that’s a stat you count, and in contract negotiations, believe you me, they are defintely looked at.
In the 2009-2010 season after 73 games so far he has 13 goals and 14 assists for 27 points and is a minus 3, having missed games due to a broken finger, the flu and as of late another hand injury. In 300 NHL games Olesz has scored 50 goals and has 63 assists. Not the production that was expected from a first round pick.
He certainly has not lived up to expectations and this year has spent time on all four lines, mostly the third and fourth as of late due to his lack of production. Everyone wonders why he hasn’t spent a game or two in the press box, or why he hasn’t been nailed to the bench for his lack of productivity. Well, it’s possible that after season’s end, none of that will matter.
Due to a creative paragraph in Oleszs’s contract the Panther’s have an out if they choose to excersize it, and I see no reason why they wouldn’t. Some players have incentives built in for production that by achieving certain goals throughout the season, or achieving certain awards, they get bonus money.
At the suggestion of Olesz himself, he actually was able to get former GM Jacques Martin to include a disincentive in his contract in an effort to convince the Panthers to sign him to the six year deal. In summary, and I’m paraphrasing, here’s what it says:
If Olesz goes 15 consecutive games during a season without scoring a goal (check) and or 20 games or more without scoring a point (check) combined with missing at least 2 games due to injuries (check), he can be released from his contract by the Panthers with no further obligation to continue any portion of his salary. This however is null and void if the Panthers finish in the 6th spot or higher in the Eastern Conference within the first two seasons of the deal. Well, don’t have to worry about that either.
Wow! What a deal and what a way to get out of a bad contract for an underpeforming player. There’s no reason for the Panthers to not excersize this option immediately after season’s end. This is a perfect way to free up some salary, not have to take a bad one in return in a trade, and to move on from a player that hasn’t produced.
Perfect! Now all the Panthers have to do is act on it.
Thanks for reading.
Your comments are always welcomed and appreciated.
P.S. Ok, I couldn’t resist. Today is April Fool’s Day, and to humor myself and my readers I had to do something. No offense to Olesz and the Panthers, but maybe a good laugh was had in a season of despair.