Photo: Jean Levac, The Ottawa Citizen

Is There Such Thing As Too Much Loyalty? - In The GM Chair

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Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk adressed the media this morning, and one of his statements was that the Senators could have got more for Mike Fisher from at least 3 other teams.  He advised Bryan Murray to call Nashville and get something worked out with them.

The question arising from these comments is whether loyalty should come into play when making business decisions?

On one side, this is a business, and taking less for a player isn’t a sound business move.  A team rebuilding (or any team for that matter) should be in the position to get the maximum return for an asset.  Taking less shortchanges the rebuilding procedure and also the fans, who pay obscene prices for tickets etc. and feel they are owed the best possible product on the ice.

The flip side is that too often players are treated as nothing but commodities, and the human side is too rarely respected.  Mike Fisher was a loyal player for this organization, and he was rewarded for that loyalty.  Yes, he was paid well (maybe too well, but that is another story for another day) for that loyalty, but in the end, his impact on the community and the franchise earned him some extra consideration.

My take on the matter is that it can never be a bad thing to incorporate the human element in the decision.  Trading a player is hard enough, in most cases, and unless the other offers were head and shoulders above the Nashville offer, I would have done the same thing.  The NHL is a brotherhood among players off the ice, and if a good word is spoken about your organization off the ice, it can only benefit your standing among players.  If your club gets the reputation that it cares about its players and they are not treated like cattle, to be bought and sold.  This could impact free agent negotiations among NHL and other free agents.  Stephane Da Costa stated after signing that one of the reasons he chose Ottawa over any number of other suitors was the organization and its reputation.

Now Melnyk didn’t offer up, and we may never know, what the nature of the other trade offers were.  I don’t think they would have been enough to blow the Nashville deal (1st rd pick in 2011 and conditional 2nd or 3rd rd pick in 2012) out of the water.  When the trade happened I didn’t hear many complaints about the return for Fisher.  It seemed like a fair deal.

The bottom line is, if two or more offers were comparatively close in nature, I would also lean towards what the player wants also, because that consideration will only help your cause in the long run.

From the GM’s Chair, I’m Jared Crozier

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