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Kypreos: Sidney Crosby’s clouded future means contract worries come 2013

Jan 6, 2012, 12:29 PM EDT

Sidney Crosby AP

Sidney Crosby‘s immediate future is still unknown. He’s not skating with the team, he’s not practicing, he’s not doing anything at all as far as getting back to playing immediately. For now, he rests and tries to get his head together while his contract is ticking away.

Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos says that Crosby’s next contract with Pittsburgh (his current deal expires after next season) could be a very difficult situation for GM Ray Shero to get a handle on.

Kypreos says that Shero will be nervous for how they want to pay Crosby since they want him to be a Penguin for life. If Crosby’s concussion problems persist, however, how do you pay a player of his caliber appropriately? If healthy, Kypreos says that Crosby could command a 10-year deal worth $100 million without batting an eyelash.

Kypreos suggests that going the short-term route is the one that makes most sense because there would be no way a massive contract would be insured with Crosby’s current health. Crosby’s agent Pat Brisson might not be OK with that, though.

For the Penguins, being on the hook for $100 million that essentially goes to waste because of injury is bad business.

The Pens owe a lot to Crosby for helping put them back on the map and winning a Stanley Cup in 2009, but giving him a lifetime deal when they’re not even sure what his future holds makes for a dangerous game. Unless Crosby shows he can get over his concussion problems, which may not be possible, negotiations come summer of 2013 could get really awkward.

  1. lordstanley716 - Jan 6, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Buffalo sat on Tim Connolly through concussion issues, if Pittsburgh doesn’t care to give Sid the same respect, another team will.

    • stakex - Jan 6, 2012 at 3:12 PM

      There is a HUGE difference between the Buffalo/Connolly situation, and the Pittsburgh/Crosby situation. Connolly is a so-so 40 point a season player who commands less then half the money Crosby does. Crosby on the other hand is one of the best players in the world whos going to want a mega contract next year… one that will likely be worth twice as much as Connolly will make in his entire career.

      Also, while Buffalo sat on Connolly they did not give him a long term deal. They did the smart thing and gave him several short term contracts since theres just no way to know how much time hes going to play a year. So to act like Pittsburgh isn’t showing Crosby respect for doing the same thing would be foolish.

  2. eagleswineagleswin - Jan 6, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Ha Ha hope he never plays again.

    -Flyers fan

    • davebabychreturns - Jan 6, 2012 at 2:20 PM

      Boy between this and the assaulted former marine you are just on a roll these days..

  3. mianfr - Jan 6, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Hopefully Sid admits how serious his concussion problems are and doesn’t try to hold the team up. I say that even as a Ranger fan.

    I mean, he’s taken a ton of money not to play very much these past two seasons; the least he could do is be a fair negotiator with Pittsburgh once his contract expires, unless he does something like play 80 regular season games and every playoff game in 2013 or something along those lines, which I just can’t see happening.

    If he were to be entirely fair, it’d be something like a 1 year, $10M deal with a ton of team options.

  4. abrienza428 - Jan 6, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Well this very much depends on what happens the rest of the season.
    In my opinion, Crosby strikes me as a guy who will be fair about the situation. Looking at it pragmatically, he should command the mega deal because it would appear somebody will pay him it if the Penguins don’t. However, I imagine he’ll settle for a shorter term deal if there’s still a huge cloud of uncertainty above his head (figuratively and literally?). He’s a good guy who just wants to play hockey and have a normal routine in doing so.

  5. psujay - Jan 6, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    If I’m Crosby I’m demanding the money. The Pens know the second they aren’t Cup favorites their fans will abandon them again. He has all the leverage.

    • har21441 - Jan 6, 2012 at 2:55 PM

      but Sid knows demanding the money would hurt his chances of winning another cup. Money he has – but he wants to be a legend…and he’ll need a few more cups to live up to that. He knows the importance of having a strong team core, and the “sacrifices” that entails (if you call taking 10 mil a year in Pittsburgh to 12 mil a year elsewhere a sacrifice) With Malkin, Fleury, Staal, Letang, Orpik, Martin and Michalik all locked up for a few years, he’ll take a bit below market value to both make sure these players resign at a reasonable rate, and that maybe they can afford to land a scoring winger for his line.

  6. jpelle82 - Jan 6, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    as a pens fan, i dont want the franchise to gamble on a guy who may never play another full season. especially since there are other guys on the roster who need to stay and should be commanding more money (malkin, letang, fleury) in the next few years

  7. eli2tyree4 - Jan 6, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Will be VERY interesting. One would think there is no chance he enters his final year without a new contract, but if he doesn’t play the rest of this season what kind of contract could the Pens realistically give him?

  8. stakex - Jan 6, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    We have to look at the facts. Even if Crosby was cleared to start skating today, hes still at least a month away from being back in a game… and given his recent history one would think it would be much slower process then that. Basically the odds that he plays again this season seem very small, unless perhaps Pit goes deep in the playoffs.

    That would mean Pittsburgh would have a huge problem with trying to sign him to a new contract this summer. After all, how can you sign a guy to a mega deal when he has missed 110 games over the previous two season with back to back concussions? Its just not going to be possible, and as this article says there is no way they could insure the contract… putting all the risk on the owners.

    So it would seem Pit might have to wait and see what happens next year. If Crosby comes back and plays at a high level for 82 games without injury… I would expect it would be fairly easy for the team to give him a bigger contract. Perhaps not the 10 year $100 million hes likely to want, but possibly in the ball park. If however, he gets hurt again I just can’t see Pit (or any team) being willing to risk that kind of money, even if it is Crosby. At that point Crosby would probably have to settle for a much smaller, one or two year deal to prove hes capable of playing without injury for a couple seasons.

    The real interesting situation will be if Crosby comes back next year, plays the full season, but only puts up so-so numbers. Then what the hell does Pittsburgh do? All I can say is I’m glab I’m not the GM in Pittsburgh right now.

    • danphipps01 - Jan 6, 2012 at 11:40 PM

      Shero’s not in as dire a position as people think. Really, his only major problem is that if Crosby doesn’t pan out, he goes down in history as the guy who didn’t resign Crosby. Yeah, it’d be a controversy and the media would have a field day, but Shero’s priority at day’s end is the health and success of his team – and the Penguins sans-Crosby are still a powerhouse. He’s got a year and a half to let Crosby either make a successful comeback or fail in the attempt, whereupon he’ll have substantial evidence to support the decision to sign or not. Either Crosby will have missed nearly three years of hockey, come back and stayed healthy and consistent, or come back and not really looked like the same guy. In any event, with that length of time to work with Shero’s likely going to be able to evaluate the situation and come to a reasonably confident decision.

      If Crosby can’t cut it? Tragic, but Shero’s got nine million to spend resigning his big-name guys and acquiring another centreman. If he does? Easy enough to sign the guy when he probably wants to stay a Pen for life anyway. The situation’s not great, but at least there’s plenty of time to evaluate it.

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