Kukla's Korner

Unlucky 13

In ten years, I’m guessing that NHL inflation wouldn’t have accelerated to a point where $5 million is an average salary. In other words, it’s still going to be a premium price for a premium player.

Knowing that, the Chicago Blackhawks, the king of the bizarre long-term contract, are poised on signing Duncan Keith for a lucky 13 years. He’ll be 39 at the end of the deal.

Maybe they figure 40 is the magic number, or maybe this was the only way the could re-sign Keith at a cap hit that fit ($5.5 million). Of course, if they never put forward the insane Brian Campbell contract, none of this would have happened.

Keith will surely be worth the money during the first half of the contract. It’s the second half—or from 31 on upwards—that has to concern Hawks fans. That’s a LONG commitment. In a best-case scenario, he’s an ageless wonder like Nicklas Lidstram or Scott Niedermayer. Worst case? Keith loses a step and gradually devolves into an overpaid #4 defenseman.

For 13 years, I have to think there’d be a way to get a lower cap hit than $5.5. I suppose we won’t know until the actual numbers go down,

1. 7 million
2. 7 million
3. 7 million
4. 6 million
5. 6 million
6. 5 million
7. 5 million
8. 5 million
9. 4 million
10. 3 million
11. 2 million
12. 2 million
13.  1 million

That’s a 13-year, $60 million deal, which is still bloody bonkers in my book. Still, I think these numbers are somewhat reasonable projections of Keith’s year-by-year worth, and by this estimate, it’d come down to a $4.6 million cap hit. I mean, if you’re going to give someone a deal longer than five years—let along longer than ten freakin’ years—shouldn’t you get a huge cap hit savings on it?

There are also issues with next year’s tagging room, but that gets into semantics of the CBA that are beyond me. If anyone wants to break those down about what the Hawks have to do, please do so in the comments. Common sense tells me that players like Patrick Sharp and Cam Barker will have to go unless some moron decides that he wants Brian Campbell’s ludicrous-speed (“They’ve gone to plaid!”) contract.

Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, duncan+keith, salary+cap

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