Monday, June 11, 2007

Priest Blue Jackets

Priest also made it clear that the Blue Jackets hope to avoid older, high-priced players. MacLean locked the team into large, lengthy contracts with Sergei Fedorov, Bryan Berard and Adam Foote, which has limited the club's options.
"In the unrestricted free-agent market, everyone's wanting the same people and so their salaries are outrageous and their terms are too long and they're generally at an age where they're at their peak or just past their peak and they're being paid for past performance," Priest said.
To the very end of his tenure, while the Blue Jackets were going 33-42-7 and missing the playoffs by a mile, MacLean remained optimistic about the club's future.
"We've got an unbelievable foundation in place," he said during the club's last game of this past season. "I'm telling you, I look around the league and how many teams would I trade ours for? Not many."
But Priest said MacLean "probably thought we were a little farther along than we really were."
Blue Jackets season-ticket sales are 8 percent to 10 percent behind where they were a year ago, but more than 80 percent of the team's fans have renewed their tickets, Priest said.

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