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A Look At Laich

"Here's hoping Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey and agent Don Meehan have settled the monetary portion of Andrei Kostitsyn's contract, because the Philadelphia Flyers have set the bar a bit higher for forwards who score 53 points.

The Flyers and Jeff Carter have reportedly agreed on a three-year deal worth $15 million. Carter, a centre, had 29 goals and 24 assists last season and was a plus-6, while Kostitsyn had 26 goals and 27 assists and was plus-15."

That excerpt is from Saturday's Montreal Gazette, and while Habs fans no doubt winced at the Carter deal in light of what it might mean in terms of their team resigning the elder Kostitsyn brother (or "Big Tits," as we're going to call him from now on), Caps fans probably are wondering what it might mean for their team's top RFA forward, Brooks Laich.

A quick look at the career and 2007-08 numbers:
  • Carter: 225 career games played, 66 goals, 66 assists, -1; 82 games played, 29 goals, 24 assist, +6 in 2007-08
  • Laich: 233 career games played, 36 goals, 41 assists, -15; 82 games played, 21 goals, 16 assist, -3 in 2007-08
It should be noted that Laich got 14:02 of ice time this past season, 1:18 of which was on the power play, while Carter played 18:50 per night, 2:26 with the extra man. As Corey let us know the other day, "[t]here was only one player in the entire NHL (Colorado's Marek Svatos) who scored more goals with less average ice time" than Laich. Of course, the ice time argument cuts both ways - if Laich were really such an integral part of the team's on-ice fortunes, it could be argued, he'd be getting more shifts.

To be clear, Brooks Laich isn't Jeff Carter. But when you have neutral third parties pegging Laich's salary in the $1.3 million or $1.75 million range and then word of the Carter deal comes in, you can see why the Caps and Laich haven't been able to reach an agreement yet. Is Brooks Laich worth, say, half as much as Jeff Carter? Reasonable minds might disagree on that, but you can bet that the player and his agent think so, and if the Caps don't, someone else very well might. And if that salary is the difference between keeping Mike Green and letting him go, I think you'll be bidding adieu to Laich.