NHL Rumor Mill – September 11, 2017

by | Sep 11, 2017 | Rumors | 50 comments

Defenseman Drew Doughty wants to win more Stanley Cups, either with the Kings or another club.

Latest on Drew Doughty, Andreas Athanasiou and Nikita Zadorov in your NHL rumor mill.

 THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin reports Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty wants to continue winning Stanley Cup championships, whether it’s with the Kings or another club.

Doughty, who is two years away from unrestricted free agency, expressed his love of Los Angeles and playing for the Kings but left the door open to the possibility of his departure in 2019.

“I’d love to re-sign in L.A. But if our team isn’t going in the right direction…I want to win Cups. I don’t give a s— where I play. I just want to win Cups, and that’s the bottom line.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doughty’s comments are bound to raise some eyebrows and generate speculation over his future with the Kings. However, his remarks aren’t a guarantee that he’s a goner via trade or free agency within the next two years.

I don’t see Doughty going anywhere this season, but the Kings’ performance in 2017-18 could determine whether they fit into his long-term plans. If they’re outside the playoff picture again and management decides to rebuild, they could consider putting Doughty on the trade block next summer. He can be re-signed to a contract extension next July, making the former Norris Trophy winner a more enticing trade target. 

Kings general manager Rob Blake faces a difficult task building up his current roster, in part because his predecessor left him with several aging veterans on lengthy, expensive contracts taking up valuable salary-cap space. Still, a lot can happen over the next couple of years and perhaps Blake can find a way to get this club back on track. If he does, and if he can free up some cap space, Doughty could stay put. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James recently reported Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou has had a one-year contract offer from KHL team AK Bars Kazan for over 10 days now but he’s yet to accept it. The deal is worth between $2.5-$3 million US. She suggests that could be good news for the cap-strapped Wings in their efforts to re-sign the restricted free agent.

“This is a very important decision for Andreas and he (is) taking the necessary time to consider this options,” Darren Ferris, Athanasiou’s agent, said in a text to the Free Press on Saturday. “There is plenty of time before the season starts.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With training camp opening later this week, Athanasiou’s decision could be coming soon. 

BSN DENVER: Adrian Dater reports Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said he’s made what he considers a fair contract offer to restricted free agent defenseman Nikita Zadorov. Dater cites sources saying Zadorov seeks $2.5 million per season while the Avs aren’t going much past $2 million.With training camp approaching, Sakic expect he’ll continue discussions with the blueliner’s agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic is playing hardball with Zadorov, who lacks arbitration rights and has limited leverage. He could head to the KHL but he seems keen to remain in the NHL. If so, he’ll have little choice but to accept Sakic’s offer. 



  1. Is it just me, or is Sakic making a complete mess of things in Colorado?

    • It’s not just you.

    • Sakic cant bend for Zadorov or else he loses his perverbial hard line stance with what he’s asking for Duchene. It will make him look weak on what he’s asking.
      However it is doing nothing for the actual course of his team.

      • I disagree.

        This is all simply part of the process. Teams have budgets, Colorado’s has obviously been cut to the bone in recent years by ownership.

        Yzerman played hardball with Drouin, reestablished his value & maximized his return well over a year later.

        Can Sakic improve Duchene’s value? Time will tell.

        I never understood why the wished to move Duchene so early regardless, 1 or 2 years remaining impacts his value nominally. Trying to trade him after he & Colorado had horrendous seasons is selling way to low. Re establish his value then move him even if that means waiting till next summer & only 1 season remains.

      • Unless he gets injured. Bye bye value

      • The difference between Drouin and Duchene is that Drouin requested a trade when he was on his ELC. Duchene hasn’t requested a trade, or publicly anyways. This whole offseason Duchene’s name has been in trade rumours and Sakic has done nothing about it but say what his price is. How do you think Duchene feels? He is having to go to training camp on a team where the management doesn’t want him. I for one would have a hard time going to work knowing your managment doesn’t want you and perform well.
        One scenario managment still wanted the player the other the managment is trying to trade him away.

      • Zadorov will sign. He and the Avs are a perfect fit and no, he hasn’t earned the right just yet to demand more money, as much promise as he has shown. Why should the Avs pay him more after missing almost half the season on IR? There’s no leverage there on Zads part.

        Duchene is a great player albeit a head case. The only thing that makes sense to me is that he wasn’t a good locker room presence last year, hence Sakic is so keen to move on with him to get a fresh start elsewhere. While Landeskog stepped up his game amidst trade rumours, Matt seemed to crumble in despair. Now he is Colorado’s best trade piece, but anything short of first rounders or top4 prospects would be a poor trade on Super Joe’s part. Pair Duchy with a Taveres or anyone of that caliber and all the talk of him not being a great top six forward will disappear quickly.

        The whole organization has been run poorly for decades now and the only credit to Sakic I’ll give him is that he wants to rebuild with young, talented players. That’s something Colorado has never, ever seen since before moving from Quebec! So while the (Eastern bias) world is undervaluing Duchene and thinking how dumb Joe is looking in all of this, he’s actually doing/trying what should have been tried right after the first lockout of the 21st century (having finally learned his lesson in falling in love with washed-up, ageing veterans!).

        I agree with Striker about lighting the trade fire after his worst season + two years remaining on his (great value) contract. I also thought that about Stastny when he was a FA: why not just sign him to the 7 mil a year and move him later down the road to get some value in return? With Duchene, it must have been something about his attitude that management just had enough of.

      • Jeff Noel yes injuries are a concern.

        Kevjam, I have never heard Sakic say what he wants, just rumors. The only thing I heard him say was they were considering listening to offers for Duchene or Landeskog. Now I could have easily missed a radio, tv or newspaper interview. All I have is journalists, broadcaster & bloggers rumors. Are they true? Maybe maybe not.

      • No one is questioning the fact that Duchene is a top 6 forward. Literally no one…
        He was on team Canada, arguably the most difficult competitive team to get on.
        The entire debate is Sakic’s handling of the matter and the fact that he needs to lower his asking price, he’s a really good player but lets not confuse him with the Crosby, Kane and Benn’s of this world.

        Take the best deal and move on from this. This is not the example Joe wants to set with the rebuild with young players mission that he is on. Zadarov is another example of a young guy at odds with management.

        You sound like an AVs fan from the post, I can’t imagine how you can be happy with how this is unfolding.

      • @ Taz: Happy about the situation? Have you not seen the state of the Avalanche front office since 1995?! This is just another cog in yes, being a loyal fan of the Colorado Avalanche. It’s not up to me to rant and rave about what I have absolutely no control over. This is happening, just like Stastny walking for nothing, O’Reilly (and his weird dad) sticking two fingers up at Colorado and forcing a trade. What would you expect of me other than to try and see the future with what is and what can be?

        I can’t copy and paste past comments, but I can assure you that not everyone commenting on this board agrees with us about Duchene’s level of pro.

        Yes, it’s a mess. Sakic has had complete control over the team for one year now and other than telling the entire team they are expendable after the worst season any team has seen this century, I’ll have to put part of the blame on Duchene for taking things personal and acting like an amateur emotionally. He’s got a contract. He’s getting paid five million a year. He had a choice to step up or cry on the ice. We know which decision he made and yes, it sucks because he is one of my favorite Av’s player when he produces and is not being a head-case. You can debate Sakic’s handling of the matter all you want when it was Duchene who decided to act entitled and stop playing hockey at five million a year. You decide who’s more to blame.

    • Yep he is messing up in Colorado….You nailed it trade Matt Duchense and move on please !

      • Is duchene that bad colorado will be better off moving him for whatever?

        I think not

      • Yzerman has always been better than Sakic in everything

  2. If you’re a team with an otherwise solid D and as a GM find yourself smack up against the cap, then maybe you can justify playing hardball over $500,000 with a player in Zadorov’s position. Colorado and Sakic are neither.

    A bad manager can take a good team and destroy it, causing the best players to flee and those that are left to lose all motivation.

  3. Good players do not always make good managers. If that was the case Gretzky would still be behind the bench…

    Has Sakic made a trade of roster players ?

    It feels like Doughty is almost 40 but still young with lots of legs left

    • It depends on what timeline you might wish to look at. Roy carried the title of VP of hockey operations, in that role he had a say in player personal decisions. According to Bob MacKenzie as provided by Wikkipedia the final say.

      “On May 23, 2013, Roy was named head coach and vice-president of hockey operations of the Colorado Avalanche.[36] TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that Roy will have the final say in all hockey matters. Then-Avalanche General Manager Greg Sherman retained his post, but was considered the general manager “in name only.”[citation needed] At the time, Roy was the only coach in the NHL who has the title or powers of general manager. Before the season started, his former Avs teammate, Joe Sakic, was hired as executive vice-president of hockey operations. Although the title nominally put him above Roy on the organization chart, Roy and Sakic shared most of the duties normally held by a general manager in the NHL–a practice that continued after Sakic was formally granted the title of general manager in 2014.”

      If that statement is true then Sakic has only had the final say since Roy left. If untrue the decisions were made jointly. I assume Roy left Colorado over a player personal decision that ownership choose to support Sakic on. This may have centered around Barrie, pure speculation but before his signing rumors were Roy wanted this player traded.

      Trades made sequentially from present till the time Sakic; May 10th, 2013 promoted to Ex VP Hockey Operations, was hired in July of 2011 as an advisory & alternate governor, & Roy; May 23, 2013 hired as coach & VP of Hockey Operations, were either promoted or hired.

      1. July 1, 2017. Acquired Colin Wilson LW/C Nas, for a 2019 4th round pick.

      2. March 1st 2017. Traded F Joe Whitney to Arizona for F Brendan Ranford; D Cody Corbett to Washington for G Joe Cannata; and W Jarome Iginla to Los Angeles for a conditional 2018 fourth-round draft pick. Assigned Ranford and Cannata to San Antonio (AHL) & Andreas Martinsen to Mtl for Sven Andrighetto.

      3. Jan. 14, 2017. Acquired F Felix Girard from Nashville for F Cody McLeod and assigned him to San Antonio (AHL).

      Those are the only trades I believe that Sakic has made since he assumed total control of player trades.

      The 2 headed monster of Sakic & Roy.

      1. June 25, 2016. Traded D Nick Holden to the N.Y. Rangers for a 2017 fourth-round draft pick.

      2. June 23, 2016. Acquired F Rocco Grimaldi from Florida for G Reto Berra.

      3. Sept 9, 2015. Acquired D Brandon Gormley from the Arizona Coyotes for D Stefan Elliott.

      4. June 27, 2015. Traded a 2015 second-round (No. 31) draft pick to San Jose for their 2015 second- (No. 39), 2016 second- and a 2017 sixth-round draft picks.

      5. June 26, 2015. Acquired D Nikita Zadorov, F Mikhail Grigorenko, F J.T. Compher and a 2015 second-round (No. 31) draft pick from Buffalo for Fs Jamie McGinn and Ryan O’Reilly.

      6. June 25, 2015. Acquired F Carl Soderberg from Boston for a 2016 sixth-round draft pick.

      7. March 2, 2015. Traded F Maxime Talbot and C Paul Carey to Boston for F Jordan Caron and a 2016 sixth-round draft pick. Acquired D Mat Clark from Anaheim for F Michael Sgarbossa.

      8. October 31, 2013. Traded F Steve Downie to Philadelphia for F Maxime Talbot.

      I think that was all of them but may have missed some.

      • Striker,
        Thanks for all the detailed info! But right now the focus is on Sakic’s snail race in trading Duchene. Other than that I think most people don’t take much more than a passing interest in this.

      • Will you STOP dragging up Roy’s name every time someone else finds fault with Sakic’s management! That’s history. Done with. Sakic has had enough time to show he has the stuff of management rather than being another John Ferguson Jr. He has failed the test. Badly.

      • Steven, Silverscreen asked I answered.

        George you can’t just discount the management structure that existed up until Roy quit. Nor may we ever know who made what decisions.

        As I have stated repeatedly I will judge Sakic in 2 to 3 years, until then the jury is out for me. Not enough time has passed to grade his rebuild.

        What I do know is Colorado will score 40 to 50 more goals this season than last with or without Duchene. That still will have them as the 2nd worst team in the west but far more points for players like Duchene & Barrie. This roster has improved quite a bit over last season at forward. Unfortunately the D isn’t good & hasn’t been for a very long time, well over 5 years but not an easy issue to fix just ask Edm. The reason Sakic & Roy moved the disgruntled O’Reilly to get a future stud in Zadarov.

        Help is coming but if Duchene can’t return at least a solid top 4 young semi experienced Dman they are better served to just keep Duchene.

      • Striker you keep calling Zadarov a stud and you also say that it’s too early to judge sakic.
        We are now seeing Sakic being 500K away from Zadarov’s ask and rolling the dice on him jetting to KHL.
        Either Sakic is a moron or Zadarov isn’t quite the stud you make him out to be, which one is it?
        If, IF, ownership is tightening the belts then it’s Sakic’s job to convince them to shell out for a guy who is going to be a top pairing defenseman.
        I’m no AVs fan but its frustrating reading about a ‘hard stance’ on a 22 year old when your team is possibly the worst in the league and in heavy rebuild mode.

      • Sakic has done a terrible job so far whatever timeline you want to use doesn’t discount the fact sakic hasn’t done much good.

      • Striker its hard taking your side. You say in a trade Sakic needs to get a top 4 D. Sakic had that option with Harmonic.

        Does passing on your perceived value make Sakic better or worse in regards to his decisions in your eyes.

        To me a good manager will try to get more than what a player is worth in a trade but will take equal value in the end.

      • I agree that it is too early to shat on Sakic. 1 – The Roy issue is reality, both in terms of decision making and bailing on his team right before the start of season. Classless, gutless move. Way to fight through it out for your guys Patty, or I suppose you could take your puck and go home. Again. Left the team in a bad place and Sakic has to deal with that mess.
        2 – is this whole Duchene drama of Sakic’s making? I highly doubt he started the rumor that Duchene was on the block. Why would he do that? He would lose leverage. Who would gain leverage to try and force the issue? Duchene’s agent or another team looking for a deal and backing Sakic into a corner. Again, he is just dealing with it. Why would you let the media, or Duchene’s agent force you into a bad deal?
        3 – Duchene had a crap year. Why sell low? He is waiting it out, which is the correct move.
        4 – Duchene doesn’t want to play there anymore because there is trade talk. I get it, it’s tough, but play for your team mates, that is who you play for in the first place. The guy next to you, not the GM. Duchene is not the first guy subject to rumors and won’t be the last. He is also not demanding a trade from what I can see. Sakic is keeping his mouth shut for the most part and playing this the only way he can. Wait for the right deal and wait for Duchene to turn it around, which he very likely will, or at least I think he will.
        The rest of the talk is just that, talk.

  4. So Doughty is in Toronto either next season or two from now. Next year Tavares, and 5 cup for Maple Leafs. Dynasty is coming

    • Interesting Tavares and Doughty are Maple leafs soon… not sure they can afford three contracts like Matthews Tavares and Doughty.. we will see

    • I like how people complain about Leafs fans bringing this up, yet I don’t see a single Leaf fan being the first to mention this.
      Pretty clear here that you are trying to start sh*t up and then complain about Leaf fans being the protagonists.

      • You are bang on there Taz. Never saw “a” before – but can assume it’s someone we’ve heard from before under a different moniker just trying to yank some chains.

      • Doughty to the Leafs would make Toronto very happy- Nylander or Marner + something to LA.

        Would you rather have a 7 game series against the Leafs with Doughty or with both Nylander/Marner?

        If Kopitar does not return to form that is not a playoff team.

      • Don’t get me wrong DS, I would LOVE to have doughty on the Leafs. If Nylander, first, Bracco and another prospect gets it done then it’s a no brainer.

    • Nah. He’s going to Ottawa.

      Wink wink.

      • Once Karlsson walks when Melnyk decides to lowball him?

        Ottawa will literally burn down Melnyk’s house

      • Taz,that smacks more of wishful-thinking by a Leafs fan than reality. There is NO way Melnyk/Dorion “lowballs” Karlsson – unless his foot injury becomes a chronic problem and affects his play – and so far anyway there’s no reason to suspect that becomes reality either.

      • Come on Taz, 3 first rounders for Drew I don’t know about that, perhaps if it were done before Christmas but even then that seems like alot to give up.

        Nylander, Bracco and a 2nd should be enough because after this year Drew is in the same boat as JVR and all I hear people say is JVR being on his last year before being an unrestricted fa is going to make him less attractive.

      • Just a joke there G.O. Karlsson won’t go anywhere. Not even sure the foot injury can stop him, he was the best player in the NHL during the playoffs. Draisaitl was a close second.
        If I were a sens fan I would be a little concerned though, given what happened with Alfredsson. Surely that won’t happen again…….or will it?

      • Well i was more hinting with good humour that Ottawa will be the contender.

  5. I hate to say it but if the Kings don’t compete this year Doughty may want to move on to a contender….
    He will quietly go to Rob Blake good relationship there with Blake and Robitiale. get a good haul for him
    right now Nashville, Anaheim, Edmonton, Chicago, St.Louis, Minnesota San Jose and the new and really improved Dallas Stars and Calgary are ahead of them…

    when players start saying they want to win Cups and it doesn’t matter where…..

  6. Sakic has basically bored everybody into a corner regarding Duchene. Yawn! Move on. I would rather watch paint dry. And to Ron C, to Ron Jull, never has a short post been so true! It’s not just Ron Jull who thinks Sakic has ruined Colorado. Just check with Patrick Roy, an interesting case study in his own right, as a knowledgeable hockey person who saw the writing on the wall. There is definitely an avalanche in Colorado but it’s not on the ice!

  7. Marco Mueller drafted 2 spots behind Zadarov in 2013 also coming out of his ELC just signed a 2 year deal with NJ for 850 per. He has played 54 NHL games to Zadaorov’s 145. Muller was buried in SJ, Zadarov has played more as both buf & Col had no choice.

    Pelche coming out of his ELC drafted a year prior got 4 years at 1.6. Again less games & completely different pedigree. Reinhart 2 years at 800K per. Beaulieu 2 years at 2.4 & this is his 3rd contract & far more developed. Pouliot 1 year 800K. Dotchin 2 years 800K.

    Why is Zadarov worth 2 years at 2.5. Trouba got 2 years at essentially 3 mil per, adjusted as he signed well into the season changing cap rules & he was far more devloped & way better at the same point of development.

    Salries are about comparasions. The issue with Zadarov is there aren’t many true comparables.

  8. “Why is Zadarov worth 2 years at 2.5. Trouba got 2 years at essentially 3 mil per, …”

    Well, for starters, Winnipeg has cap space of $7,338,334 and next year have to contend with 9 (NINE) RFAs (Lowry, Armia, Ehlers, Dano, Tanev. Sgarbossa, Trouba, Morrisey, Hellebuck) and 5 (FIVE) UFAs (Little, Matthias, Henfricks, Enstrom, Hutchinson).

    Colorado has $11,627,638 in cap space and next year could see another $7,650,000 freed up if they choose not to bring back Joe Colborne, Blake Comeau and Jonathan Bernier – and maybe another $875,000 for a total of $8,525,000 if Yakopov falls flat on his ass – again.

    So, $500,000 gives all the appearance of nit-picking when a BAD team starts jerking around one of the few bright spots on their roster.

    • Ata boy George!
      Lets not forget that there is bad blood between Trouba and the Jets. Trouba bluffed and failed and had to accept the offer from the Jets. He is also going to be leaving the jets in two years.
      Colorado cannot afford that with Zadarov (the STUD). all over 500K??
      Trouba situation was player driven, this one is clearly Sakic driven – Joe neds to check his ego at the door

  9. I don’t see anything wrong with what Doughty said. It’s actally nice a hockey player is saying how he feels. It should kick the Kings in the ass to get them out of their cap pickle they put themselves in.
    The only downside for them is with Doughty going public, teams could be stubborn at helping them out, thinking Doughty might leave after 2 seasons if they don’t. If you’re a west team I wouldn’t want the Kings going back to their dominant selves

    • Its intetesting, to me anyways, the contrasting views from Doughty’s statement to Henrick and Daniel Sedin’s open letter to the fans.

      • I certainly agree with Jeff Noel – the Sedins have led a charmed life as Canucks from the day that Brian Burke found a way to draft them together. They are excellent players, terrific human beings but, if they are truly team players and the GM asks them to consider a trade to help the team, they need to be professionals and be ready to move on, either together or separately. Trades are part of being NHL players and, in a team sport, the team comes first.

  10. Never ever hire a guy to run your team just because he’s (one of) the best players to every play for it.

    Sakic, Linden, etc. have proven this.

    Guys like Yzerman, Hextall and Francis put in the work in low level positions to learn and grow. The rest just parachuted into the corner office with no real qualifications.

    • The whole Colorado thing isn’t even worth wasting any more time on. The antagonists have shown themselves time and again around here to be insistant on riding the ignorant media’s coattails on this. But just so we all know, this tantrum over Duchene not being traded isn’t going to make the whiners winners even if the Avs collapse into oblivion over this. You are just continuing to chip away at your own online integrity by insisting on joining the lynch mob without looking into everything for yourselves. Joining in the popular opinion without looking for yourself and forming an educated opinion based on what you learned about the entirety of the situation isn’t doing yourselves any favors. What some of you have shown is that your overall credibility to have a valuable contribution to any discussion here is suspect. A lot of you who continue to rely on the media to form your own opinion for you aren’t even biased to the situation, which even more devalues your integrity when trying to be heard seriously around here. I am an Avs fan, but I just don’t hand out unearned credit to the Avs. When I have an opinion on any other team or area of hockey, I try and form an educated opinion so I don’t sound foolish or eat my words later. I like to be taken seriously and relevently when I join any discussion so as to have any credibility in future discussions. Why would anyone insist on relying on any one else’s opinion if they want their own opinion valued. You can’t argue with opinion, but you can find contention and have a valid argument against the basis of that opinion.

      And no one will ever find integrity or credibility in anyone who insists on contempt prior to investigation

      • So what’s your opinion?

      • Steven, exactly what I mentioned above. I have wasted my breath on this enough. He who is convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. I have already posted my thoughts on this subject over and over. RayBark, Striker, and others have shown to at least give some thought to this and try to find answers for themselves. I have just tried to encourage people to look at everything themselves.

        Personally, I am waiting to see what happens here. But, in reality, as Sakic has taken total control of the team since last August, he has set it in the right direction. He, himself has done a pretty good job for the Avs in one year. It takes a team years to turn it around when they have been in disarray for so long. You can see evidence of Sakic’s small sample of work at the end of last season when the Avs got new life. I am not defending Sakic per say, but I am trying to bring some reason to nonsense. To rant over and over again and again, just to say that Sakic is a bad GM – not to mention dragging his legacy through the mud – all because of the media constantly menacing the situation and irritating everyone just because Duchene hasn’t yet been traded. For Sakic to take this kind of mauling over a trade that was anticipated, but hasn’t happened yet, is unprofessional and malicious. Sakic doesn’t deserve to be treated this way just because he is a green GM and the Avs have been a mess for over the last fourteen years.

        I don’t mind opinions to the contrary and always try to remain open to anything opined. But, I take serious issue with people who just jump on board to appease their own cause. When people just join in without having a knowledgeable opinion formed themselves, it is just like signing a contract you haven’t read. It sounds good up front, but you always end up paying for it in the end. Would you let someone speak for you in your political views? In the end, it just tips the tables in favor of someone that you may not want to endorse when all the facts come in.

  11. How can someone writing on this site determine Duchene is a head case? Does the writer have inside info?

    I am a leaf fan and can only see Traveres and Doughty being a Leaf if they are acquired at the deadline and in the last year of their contract, as a rental, because there is salary cap issues trying to keep them long term. Of course their contracts end different years so that blows that out of the water. Whoever is throwing this out forgot to add Seguin into the mix. TO needs to develop one stud Dman and get another top four then they have everything needs to be a contender provided everyone continues to develop.

  12. Let’s put this to Bed(nar).. is it really Duchene who has plummeted his own game? The Avs did not seem to want to play last season. Not only judging by the game I saw at the Saddledome, which was a no show for them anyway.

    Duchene will be 26 at the dawn of 2018, and if Sakic is truly re-building from scratch starting now (or last season) then trading Duchene might make sense, as opposed to when he was just 22 or 23. I don’t know what kind of coach Jared Bednar is, but maybe the total (seemingly) lack of interest on the players’ part stemmed from distrust or disinterest in the coach’s methods or teachings. He is a less interesting Dallas Eakins.

    • As I posted at 10:12 am “A bad manager can take a good team and destroy it, causing the best players to flee and those that are left to lose all motivation.”