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Too Much Too Soon & Other Signs The End Is Nigh

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These dern kids nowadays don’t know how good they got it.  That is, essentially, what Drew Remenda had to say in his blog about the big money contract Drew Doughty is likely to get when all is said and done. Also cast as horsemen of the NHL contract apocalypse are Steven Stamkos and possibly our very own Logan Couture.

Yes, 5 to 7 million dollars is a whopping big load of money to get in a year.  Yes, it is a pretty large chunk of a team’s salary cap space.  Yes, players used to not get so much on their first post-EL contract, not even the up and coming superstars.  Oh the horror, the horror!

“Years ago, Joe Sakic had played 655 games, notched 307 goals and 820 points before he was offered a three-year, $21 million contract from the New York Rangers.” -Remenda’s Blog

Even more years ago, my grandfather had to walk to school in the Utah winter without socks, and if he didn’t shoot a rabbit on the way home he’d go hungry.  Bet Joe Sakic didn’t have to shoot a rabbit for dinner on his way home from practice with the Avalanche.  I’ll bet he had some nice socks.  More to the point, you could argue that Sakic should have been better paid sooner.  Maybe he was ripped off.

“...in years past, seniority was rewarded with lucrative contracts. A player had to prove himself to be a game-breaker, a star and a winner before he became rich. ” -Remenda’s Blog

Things change, and when they change for the better, they get more expensive.  If the sport is growing in popularity, despite all kinds of obstacles (like most of the planet being broke), then your stars shine brighter and keeping them in your orbit costs more.

Another point Remenda brought up is that paying players “too much too soon” will adversely affect their future performance.  My father, who is not a sports fan, laughed at this.  I bet I could look up some study or another, but I’ll just take Dad’s word for it: competitive people don’t care how much they got paid yesterday, they still want to win today.  Makes sense to me. 

These young stars didn’t get where they are by sitting back waiting to be paid more, only motivated by a desire to “make it” and quit.  They always want to make it, to win, whatever challenge is put in front of them.  They are greedy for success in a way that might, in some circles, be called crazy.  They want to win, every day, every time.  Paying them 2 million or 7 million will not change that.

Inversely, no amount of money will make a competitor out of an unambitious person.  It just won’t happen.

The fact is, these players need to “make it” as soon as possible. There is no guarantee they will get another contract.  The chance of injury and an end to their career is very high every time they step onto the ice for a game.  Do they need to finish their careers being paid 6 million instead of 3?  No, but each and every negotiated contract should stand alone, not as some promise of future reward.  The future is completely uncertain, no matter the state of CBA negotiations.  You get what you can, now. 

Is a GM taking a gamble on a player when he is still young?  No d’uh.  But there’s a reason that a select few are sought after by so many.  It is pretty clear when a player is turning into a world-beater.  You can’t often predict who will become one at the draft, but you certainly know him when you see him play for a couple of seasons in the NHL.

So sorry, Drew, my Dad says you’re wrong.  I agree with him: Doughty, Stamkos, Couture and company have every right and reason to ask for it all, ASAP, not some time down the road when they have proven that they “deserve it.”  So don’t be a dufus and argue that we need to go back to the good old days of shooting rabbits for dinner and only paying your stars after you get a few more good seasons out of them.

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, petshark, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: contract, days+of+yore, drew+remenda

Comments

mrfluffy's avatar

So sorry, Drew, my Dad says you’re wrong.  I agree with him: Doughty, Stamkos, Couture and company have every right and reason to ask for it all, ASAP, not some time down the road when they have proven that they “deserve it.”

They do have every right to ask for everything they can, but they sure as hell don’t have every reason. It all boils down to one question-

Do they want to win it all or do they want the largest paycheck possible?

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 07/29/11 at 01:38 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Yes, Remenda, the old system where a player would go for cheap until he was slightly past his prime and then sign a bloated contract with the Rangers used to be the way things worked.

Things worked like crap in the past.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/29/11 at 01:42 PM ET

petshark's avatar

mrfluffy, They have every reason to ask.  The GM may not have every reason to give.  But while the theory holds true, in principle, for anyone in negotiations, the few players getting great big salaries early are in a select group, or they should be.

Win it all versus big paycheck is only an issue if the team that is likely to win it all is also in a cap crisis.  Such a crisis smacks of poor decision-making.  See Flyers, Philly

So, yeah, I would think that a young rockstar player on a very promising team would be wise to take a cut of .5 or even 1 mil, but knocking them back to the 2-3 mil range is a little insulting.

JJ, yep.  Just because something was, doesn’t mean it was good or right.

Posted by petshark from Nor Cal, and on Twitter @petshark47 on 07/29/11 at 02:01 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

A player should be able to earn whatever a team is willing to pay, whether its $7m or $7k. It is based on that players’ value to the team willing to pay him. So, no prob.
Although, I think there is some legitimacy to the argument of too much too soon. Some players are not as driven / competitive as others. Some may just be looking for their payday (see Daigle) with no interest in sacrificing for the team or working any harder than they necessary to stay in the league, but keep getting paydays based on potential. Ever notice how some of these guys come out like gangbusters, putting up good numbers, get that fat contract and seem to plateau of regress in terms of their on ice-performance? Just something to think about.

Just because something was, doesn’t mean it was good or right.
Neither does change.  wink

Posted by SnLO from beyond the M-1 on 07/29/11 at 02:39 PM ET

Did's avatar

I agree. It’s not like someone put a gun to the head of GMs telling them to sign the young stars for this much money. It’s just what the market would pay them.

10 years ago $5m could get you much more than it can get you now and teams are making much more money now so it all evens up in the end.

Posted by Did from SF Bay Area on 07/29/11 at 02:40 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

So, yeah, I would think that a young rockstar player on a very promising team would be wise to take a cut of .5 or even 1 mil, but knocking them back to the 2-3 mil range is a little insulting.

Well when you put it that way….  smile

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 07/29/11 at 03:01 PM 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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