There was never any firm dollar offer on the table, though the Oil’s bidding apparently started at $9 million a year, and could perhaps have gone as high as $100 million over a suitable long, long term.
When Hossa first heard of the Oil’s interest, he had little interest himself, as the Oil haven’t exactly been a powerhouse in recent years, and after his stay in mediocre Atlanta, Hossa had no interest in being the big dog on mediocre team, even if it cost him millions of dollars over the term of his contract.
Katz’s excellent skills of persuasion apparently made Hossa think twice and even thrice about Edmonton, but still he chose elsewhere. He had just finished a happy run to the Stanley Cup finals and wanted more, so he chose the best place for future runs, Detroit.
It’s instructive that Hossa chose Detroit over Pittsburgh, Hossa’s team at the time, and a team loaded with massively talented players in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and a few other hot shots.
My guess is that Hossa looked hard at two numbers before making his choice: Pittsburgh, $17.4 million and Detroit, $12.7 million. Those numbers represent the combined totals both teams will pay their superstar forwards, who are all on long-term deals now, with Crosby and Malkin both earning $8.7 million a year in Pittsburgh, and Pavel Datsyuk $6.7 million a year and Henrik Zetterberg $6 million a year in Detroit.
Essentially, this gives the Red Wings almost $5 million a year extra in cap space to sign players. It also gives Detroit a huge competitive advantage when it comes to competing for the Stanley Cup.
And this would be why the Kings can’t afford to overpay players like Cammelleri, POS or Frolov, and why Brown’s deal (especially) is so important. Lombardi has to know — because he has all the numbers — that over-paying for one guy means over-paying for everyone when the time comes.
Of course, I don’t think anyone will be willing to pay Hossa $8-10 million this summer, with the threat of the cap coming down. Which makes it all the more likely he will stay in Detroit.
In the soon to be pervasive debate about whether the Kings, now basically out of the playoffs, should tank it in order to win the Tavares Cup, or continue to try to win meaningless games, I would argue that the only way a player like Hossa would ever consider signing with the Kings is if DL could make the argument that the Kings are The Team of the Future. That argument will be easier to make if the Kings finish strong, with — say — 85 points.