Mark Gandler, The NHL's Drew Rosenhaus

According to Erlendsson's column for tomorrow's Tampa Tribune, Evgeny Artyukhin's handler through this mess of a situation is none other than notorious agent [url=]Mark Gandler.[/url] Meet the NHL's equivalent of football agent [url=]Drew Rosenhaus.[/url] Google Gandler's name and you'll find a festering rash of stories highlighting the kind of greedy and unprincipled behavior which turns fans off to pro sports and makes their collective skin crawl. Most notable in his career was Gandler's part in the one year holdout of former Senators center Alexei Yashin, complete with accusations of racism hurled at the Ottawa front office, and Yashin's subsequent cashing in to the tune of a 10 year multi-million dollar deal at the hands of foolish Islanders GM Mike Milbury. More recently, Gandler was involved in the messy court entanglements surrounding young Washington Capitals forward Alexander Semin. Sadly, in much the same way that Rosenhaus seems to have cornered the market on talent coming into the NFL from South Florida, Gandler, a Russian expatriate now working out of New Jersey, controls a large percentage of players coming out of the former Soviet Union. Artyukhin is just one of the newest of a list of players that includes other NHLers like Yashin, Semin, Ruslan Salei and Vitaly Vishnevski of the Ducks who, you guessed it, is now demanding a trade after the Ducks apparently [url=]hurt his feelings in arbitration.[/url] Evgeny Artyukhin, do yourself a favor, seek other representation. In trying to squeeze an extra $150,000 out of the Tampa Bay Lightning Gandler has potentially burned your bridge to an organization which has bent over backwards to develop you. I know how GM Jay Feaster feels about you personally. I know the pride he feels in you when he crows about how he filed one of the first scouting reports on you from the U-18s in your draft year. When he says he feels like you and Gandler have spit in his face, don't take it lightly, he means it. And, believe this, you're too young and not nearly established enough after a 4 goal rookie season to have an agent making personal enemies on your behalf. Think about that the next time Gandler tries to whisper in your ear.

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This is not surprising

I was thinking Scott Boras in baseball, but Rosenhaus may be a better comp at this moment. This guy is obviously trying to control the market through the volume he can deliver. He can still point to Yashin to entice these kids, but he'll have to hit more home runs than that to become a major player. I don't think R2 was a good kid to take a stand with in these circumstances, his Q offer is already overpaying based on performance.

What Does Gandler Care?

Does Gandler care if he may have screwed up Artyukhin's young career? Probably not. He's still making money off of Yashin and he just got Jokinen's deal done. It's easy to play hardball with a young man's career when you've got dozens of other players you're already making bank over. That's what's so terrible about these mega agents. They've got no motivation to take the steps to really develop a lower line guy throughout his career. R2 is disposable to Gandler. He's got ten more checking line/third pairing guys to fall back on on top of his high end clients who are the only ones he is really looking out for. Oh well. He just made Nick Tarnasky or Darren Reid potentially more wealthy from where I sit, which I'm sure will comfort Evgeny while he's pulling down considerably less and lugging his own bags for Yaroslavl.

No matter what, if he can

No matter what, if he can come back and score 25 goals, Feaster will forgive him.

If He Comes Back

I have a hard time believing Artyukhin ever comes back to Tampa unless he fires Gandler. It's more likely his rights get dealt, and if so he needs to be dealt to a Western Conference team.

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