Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/07/12 at 09:50 AM ET
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
If you look at the landscape of the NHL over the last few summers, the contract of 10 or more years has become a common occurrence. Washington winger Alex Ovechkin is under contract for 13 years. Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo’s deal is 12 years. Same with Chicago’s Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith, as well as Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg and LA’s Mike Richards.
So what does that mean? Well, it used to be that after a player exited his first big free-agent contract, he still had some years left. Dallas got Brett Hull and Ed Belfour each at age 34, but there’s a very good chance that players of that caliber won’t be free agents at that age anymore.
That means the free-agency pool is going to be much smaller each summer. Last season, Brad Richards ran roughshod over free agency as the only real home run hitter. This year, it was Suter and Zach Parise, who landed with Minnesota. Next season, it could be Shea Weber or no one.
And while we don’t know the new rules that will come with the new collective bargaining agreement next season, it’s pretty safe to assume that you will have to carve a big hole in your salary-cap space to make a run at a player such as Weber, and that you will be left holding an empty bag if you don’t get him.
That’s one reason these offers are getting so ridiculous: The demand is high and the supply is low in free agency, and teams are going to be in full panic mode when they are making a push to be the one team that doesn’t have to go to “Plan B.”
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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