Nov 14, 2012, 12:07 PM EST
NHL owners and general managers need to be protected from themselves. This much we know, and the league doesn’t deny it.
Even the last CBA – the one with the hard salary cap that was supposed to be bulletproof – had loopholes that GMs exploited to sign free agents.
The most notable loophole allowed teams to offer “back-diving” contracts that gave players lots of money up front and practically none as the term expired. Not only did these deals artificially deflate the cap hit by tacking on years past a player’s probable retirement date, it also gave the player the bulk of his money sooner than later, which is better than the opposite.
It’s hard to imagine those back-diving contracts will exist once a new CBA is signed. The owners will fight too hard for them to be nixed.
However, some observers think owners will stand less firmly on another demand, that being maximum contract lengths of five years.
Under the last CBA, there was no such thing as a maximum contract length. Ilya Kovalchuk and Rick DiPietro signed for 15 years each. Shea Weber got 14. All told, 16 players notched deals for 10 years or more.
Players like long-term deals because they offer security. NHL contracts are guaranteed, so once they’re signed they can’t be canceled, even if the player stops producing or gets hurt.
Which brings us to our point: If the salary cap restricts how much a player can earn and there’s no way to front load deals, what do you think a prized free agent is going to ask for in negotiations if there’s no cap on contract lengths?
The answer is term. If only because there’s nothing else to ask for.
And if meeting that demand is the only way one team can beat out another team to sign the player, he’ll get it. (Let’s face it, GMs know they can be fired tomorrow, so what do they care if the team has a problem down the road? See: moral hazard.)
Long-term contracts aren’t necessarily a terrible thing, but believe it or not there have been athletes that got a little too comfortable once they cashed in on a big deal.
There have also been players whose health issues kept them off the ice. (Or, in the case of DiPietro, severely restricted their time on it.)
Maybe a few long-term contracts gone wrong is simply the price owners will have to pay to get a new CBA. And there are probably owners and GMs that don’t want five-year limits; they want to lock up their stars as long as possible.
Then again, maybe it’s a battle NHL commissioner Gary Bettman thinks is winnable (the NBA won it), so he might as well win it.
Dec 22, 2014, 12:16 AM EST
He’s the oldest goalie to win his debut since Hugh Lehman in 1926.
Dec 21, 2014, 10:38 PM EST
Buffalo suffered its third straight loss.
Dec 21, 2014, 10:07 PM EST
Toronto has lost three straight games.
Dec 21, 2014, 9:42 PM EST
Will this be the worst season Edmonton has ever had?
Dec 21, 2014, 9:09 PM EST
Varlamov is expected to be back on Tuesday.
Dec 21, 2014, 8:17 PM EST
Bartkowski received a game misconduct.
Dec 21, 2014, 7:39 PM EST
The Stars swapping goaltenders didn’t slow Edmonton.
Dec 21, 2014, 6:48 PM EST
He had been playing with Patrick Kane and Kris Versteeg.
Dec 21, 2014, 5:56 PM EST
The Hurricanes are getting close to full strength.
Dec 21, 2014, 5:00 PM EST
Will Calvin Pickard be sent to the minors once Varlamov is healthy?
Dec 21, 2014, 3:45 PM EST
Rob Zepp makes NHL debut
Dec 21, 2014, 3:00 PM EST
Collapsed on the team’s bench Saturday night.
Dec 21, 2014, 2:15 PM EST
Was fired by the Oilers Dec. 15.
Dec 21, 2014, 1:30 PM EST
The 33-year-old was recalled Friday.
Dec 21, 2014, 12:45 PM EST
The Penguins forward was penalized twice for embellishment on Saturday.
Dec 21, 2014, 12:00 PM EST
Torrey Mitchell and Tyson Strachan have been placed on IR
Dec 21, 2014, 11:15 AM EST
They’re not impressed with how Bylsma and his staff were treated.
Dec 21, 2014, 10:30 AM EST
He called it “no big deal”
Dec 21, 2014, 9:45 AM EST
Had just one goal in eight games prior to the injury.
Dec 21, 2014, 1:18 AM EST
Christopher Tanev scored the overtime winner on his birthday.
- Flyers rally as Zepp wins his career debut at 33 years old 0
- Oilers squander three-goal lead, lose 18th time in 19 games 7
- Pickard makes one last bid to stay, beats Wings in nine-round SO 1
- Video: Bartkowski delivers controversial hit to Gionta, fights Foligno 24
- Giroux line takes Leafs ‘to school’ in Flyers’ 7-4 victory 17
- Wolverine Pacioretty gets two assists just two days after being hospitalized 18
- Ovechkin scores beauty as Caps shutout Devils 8
- Seriously? Stress fracture sidelines Columbus’ Jenner for 1-2 months 6
- Julien chides Bruins’ offense for too many cute plays 40
- Sens roll over Ducks, who ‘weren’t ready’ 11