Many of us were pleasantly surprised at the sensible deal Matt Read was signed for last Friday. I was curious too, and through my sources was (again) able to obtain secret transcripts of the two separate meetings that led to the signing.
Meeting 1, Paul Holmgren meets with Ron Hextall.
Homer: I think it’s time we sign Matt Read to an extension. I really like him.
Hexy: Excellent plan, I like him too. But as you know, I want to be absolutely certain that we manage the salary cap appropriately going into the future.
Homer: (Sighs) You and that cap management stuff. You know I have Hanrahan to help me overcome the cap—
Hexy: Manage the cap
Homer: Whatever. I mean it’s fine if you want to help. But I want to make sure we lock up Read. I’m thinking of opening the bidding at $5 million for 5 years, of course with a no-movement clause.
Hexy: NO!!! No way! If you do that I’ll just [Hextall makes slashing motion here].
Homer: C’mon man. I don’t want to lose him. OK, smart guy, what would YOU offer him?
Hexy: $3M for 3 years. Tops. That will lock him up for a good period without signing him past his prime.
Homer: Are you crazy? He’ll never go for that. But, just to prove you wrong, I’ll call his agent right now.
Hexy: NO! Call his agent and just say you want to just "discuss his future" and be vague. Schedule a meeting, and make sure Matt comes along with the agent. Oh, and I need to be there too.
Homer: Ugh. Meetings. I’d rather just have the agent sign a deal for him. Fine, fine, I’ll have the intern set this up. $3 million for 3 years? Hope they don’t walk out of the meeting, cause that will just be a big waste of time then.
Meeting 2, Holmgren and Hextall meet with Matt Read and his agent
Read and agent sit at table for 10 minutes. Read is fidgeting nervously. Holmgren and Hextall enter and sit at the opposite side of the table from Read and the agent.
Read (blurts out): Mr. Holmgren! Mr. Hextall! My agent tells me that you want to "discuss my future". Please! I’ve been really, really trying here at camp. I really like playing here! Don’t tell me I’ve been traded! Couts and I are really starting to develop chemistry---
Hextall: (solemnly) Um, Matt, that’s not why we’re here.
Read: NO, NO! (wails) You’re sending me to Adir-whats-its-name, aren’t you! I mean, Glens Falls is as good as Bemidji, and better than the KHL, but really, do you have to? I thought I was playing pretty well, wasn’t I?
Hextall: Matt, that’s not why we’re here either.
Read: (puzzled) It’s not? So why are we here? Do you want me to do more of those community events? I’’d be happy to---
Homer: Matt, we really like your performance and we would like to extend our relationship with you into the future. I’d like to offer you – uh- 3 and a half million dollars for uh, 4 years.
Agent and Read do not see Hextall glaring at Holmgren.
Read: Well, that’s like a million dollars a year almost. That’s pretty good, I guess, to play hockey. More than I make now, isn’t it? Or almost as much? Sounds like an OK deal (Looks at agent) What do you think?
Homer (interrupting). No, no, I mean 3 and a half million, per year. For four years.
Read: Wait? What did you say?? 3 and a half million PER YEAR? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? You’re going to pay me TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS to play hockey? TO DO WHAT I"VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO????
Agent: Um, technically, that’s fourteen million. But before we go on, we should probably negotiate a no-tra---
Read: FOURTEEN MILLION DOLLARS? (Looks at Holmgren and Hextall) Are you sure you guys can afford that? Fourteen million dollars! Fourteen million dollars!
Agent: Well, um, Paul, Ron, I guess it’s obvious that we, uh, we think that’s a pretty strong opening bid….
Read: WAIT! That’s not Canadian!!!! You are trying to pay me Fourteen Million AMERICAN Dollars to spend the next four years playing with Claude Giroux, one of the best players in the WORLD??? AM I DREAMING??? You’re not cutting me, you’re not trading me, you are paying me Fourteen Million American Dollars to play in one of the finest cities to play hockey in the WORLD?? (Starts to swoon slightly).
Agent: Well, clearly, we’re going to have to seriously consider this-
Hextall (interrupting): Look, we are going to come straight with you. Today, what we can offer today, is 3.625 million for four years. That’s our final offer for today. Not sure if it will still be around later or not, that all depends on what happens in the season and what not.
Read (grabs pen from shirt pocket of agent and signs blank contract, looks at agent): You’ll make sure that all the numbers are right and they keep their word, right?
Agent nods. Hextall extends hand to Read.
Hexy: Matt, it’s great to have you as a Flyer for the next five years.
(Holmgren grunts softly at "five years")
Read: Five more years in Philly! WHOOT! Pizza for everybody tonight! No, wait, maybe one of those fancy restaurants downtown! YES!!!! Thanks, Mr. Holmgren! Thanks, Mr. Hextall! (High-fives agent) Great job! I’ll be taking you and your wife out to dinner next time you’re in town!
Agent: Um, OK, Matt, sounds good.
Later, Holmgren and Hextall walk down the hall together.
Homer: Well, that worked out pretty well, I think. I’m glad I asked you to come along.
Hexy: Sure, Paul, glad to help.