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Looking At the Mega-Deals

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

With the NHL about to start new collective bargaining talks with the players association some time after the all-star break, it bears asking the question: Is anybody really getting their money’s worth on these mega-deal, mega-bucks contracts that commit team to player in a long-term relationship that invariably seems head for the rocks sooner if not later?

Not that the NHL all-star game should act as the perfect referendum on money well spent, but consider this: Eight players are earning over $8-million this season, according to capgeek.com. Only two - Evgeni Malkin and Zdeno Chara - are playing in the all-star game. Alex Ovechkin would have made it three, had he not bowed out; and you’d have to think a healthy Sidney Crosby would be there as well. But think of some others: Brad Richards ($12-million), Vincent Lecavalier ($10-million), Bryzgalov ($10-million), Christian Ehrhoff ($10-million). Dany Heatley didn’t make it, nor did Duncan Keith nor Thornton nor Henrik Zetterberg nor Eric Staal nor Scott Gomez nor Rick Nash nor Anze Kopitar. What do they have in common? All are signed to contracts seven years or longer and earn $7-million or more on average. And the conundrum is, if the players underperform, or simply just aren’t a good fit, or by their play, give you a strong message that they’d really like to be somewhere else, how do you move all that money when so many teams are capped out?

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Comments

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He isn’t using the right numbers for his argument. Sure, these players are making over $7 mil this year, but most of their cap hits are below that. Keith is at $5.5, Zetterberg is at $6 mil. He shouldnt really be talking about actual money then make the statement how do you move all that money when so many teams are capped out?

Also, Heatley was moved…so apparently its possible, and half of the players he mentions aren’t hugely under performing. Keiths offensive numbers aren’t there, but he is having a pretty good defensive season, which is what he is paid for.  Kopitar is performing about where he should be, he has 44 points through 50 games, his career high is only 81 points.

Were all of these good deals, no. But if you take a look at what the market was at when these were signed, they are pretty good deals. The cap goes up most years, so there will be more and more room as these players age and come down. Shit, Keith for a hit of $5.5 a year is amazing considering the BJ’s have James Wiz at $5.5 for the next 5+ years…

Posted by pstumba on 01/27/12 at 06:43 PM ET

HockeyFanOhio's avatar

He is also basing his argument on who makes the ASG, which is a pretty poor standard to judge by considering how the players are selected.

Posted by HockeyFanOhio from Central Ohio on 01/27/12 at 10:43 PM ET

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And also, not for nothing but when you sign someone to a 7-11 year contract, you’re not going to base the worth of the contract on any one season.

Is Zetterberg having a down season?  Sure, but he’s a playoff performer who is more than a point-per-game player since the lockout, and if he scores only 50-60 points this season but wins the Conn Smythe, is he still not worth the contract since he didn’t make the ASG?

Never mind the fact that even with his big contract he hasn’t got the biggest cap hit on the team (which, if you’re curious, is significant because, unlike other teams, Detroit aren’t hanging their hat on one player who has both the highest cap hit AND the longest contract).

Posted by Garth on 01/28/12 at 03:37 AM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

I don’t get why everyone is so bothered by these truncated deals.  Everyone gets what they want.  The richer teams get to pony up and really compete despite the salary cap (like offering 12 mil to Ehrhoff this year).  The player gets his big payday.  And down the line, the cap-floor team can pick up a veteran with an inflated cap number on an affordable salary (PHX and NSH have to save a mil here and there this way).  These deals work with the actual economics in play, if not with some notion of fair play that I don’t totally get. 
  It is annoying as balls though; its one thing that every dude at work thinks Lu makes 10 mil for 10 years, but journalists routinely gloss this over to get some shock.  That much of a difference in actual cash is a pittance for the big budget teams.
That the Ovechkin contract is a hazard goes without saying.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 01/28/12 at 05:42 AM ET

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Agree tuxedo
The only really bad contracts I’m aware of are Ovechkin and Bryzgalov. Don’t see how you pay a goalie $51M over 9 years and Ovechkin’s 11M/yr or whatever is just crazy.

Posted by teldar on 01/28/12 at 11:27 AM ET

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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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