Let's face it, money is one of the biggest motivators for free agents on the market. These men are trying to get the most money for their services, who could blame them. But the dollar isn't quite almighty, the others areas that a player might look at when deciding on his destination are where Ottawa has started to excel at for the first time since it's inception into the modern era. So how has Ottawa changed it's ways into becoming a premier destination for players? Let's take a look!
Step 1: Indoctrination
First of all I would like to direct you for a good read (if you haven't already) to Amelia's article "The Evolution of Development Camps". It gives a nice breakdown of how Ottawa has changed their practices towards handling new talent coming into the organization.
This is step 1. By creating an engaging, enticing, and immersive atmosphere for these new players you are bringing them in to the fold creating a bond. Rather then waiting to establish a connection when they finally make it to the NHL, you already have had influence over them until they have gotten there.
From the GM to the guys in Binghamton, you feel like the organization has cemented itself as a well run unit. The organization appears to have a good balance that allows each member to do their job without worrying about a mistake or two. Our owner lets our GM manage, our GM let's our scouts do their job by advising him, our coach is free to make decisions, and Binghamton has close ties to our NHL club. This stable upbeat atmosphere helps create a confidence in organization as a whole.
This "husky, not fat" man get's his own paragraph because he has managed to play a large role in the turnaround of our organization. With his calm but jovial demeanor, he has managed to rally the troops and far exceed the expectations placed upon him. We can already see the amount of respect he has gained from the players, the local media, and even the league. A man of respect can get better results by leading with a carrot then with a stick.
The last two years have been amazing years for the team on a morale front. We may not have won a cup, but the team has managed to fall under a common goal. They compete every night and do it for each other. Finding that atmosphere can be the difference between going to work and loving it, or just cashing your paycheques.
Ottawa is a big city, but with a smaller town atmosphere due to the amount of smaller municipalities within. We have a great hockey market where the players are idols, yet we are not under the microscope as much as the bigger NHL markets. It is a nice happy medium where the players can be comfortable. We have all the amenities of a big city, but also small upscale communities close to the arena that allow the players a more private life if they wish.
This encompasses the entirety of the organization and what it has created in the media. It feels like the stars are aligning for the team and they will only get better as our young core mature. Players want to come into a team where they might be able to be a part of something special from the beginning.
Ottawa may not offer the biggest dollar value to a player on their contract, but if a player likes the qualitative qualities our organization brings to the table then we will be able to attract players who want more then money. Those are the guys we need. With the most recent information coming in that our organization has been contacted by free agents in a bid to land a contract with us rather then being pursued, I like our odds moving forward of icing a quality team for many years to come.
Ottawa brings intangibles to the table.