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.
Nov 26, 2014, 4:06 PM EST
“Anybody can GM, anybody can be a president… whether you’re going to be good at it or not, who knows.”
Nov 26, 2014, 3:54 PM EST
San Jose coach is feeling the heat.
Nov 26, 2014, 3:20 PM EST
Click for video of the incident.
Nov 26, 2014, 2:57 PM EST
Minny dominated L.A. early in the season, but lost 2-1.
Nov 26, 2014, 2:45 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Nov 26, 2014, 2:27 PM EST
Originally out 4-6 weeks, he’s back in just over three.
Nov 26, 2014, 2:04 PM EST
But how much public money will be required?
Nov 26, 2014, 1:03 PM EST
The Blues are one of the few teams in the NHL with a surplus of quality centers.
Nov 26, 2014, 12:57 PM EST
Jordan Binnington on his way up to St. Louis.
Nov 26, 2014, 12:22 PM EST
What are the chances the Islanders, Leafs, Predators, Canucks, Flames and Jets can hang on?
Nov 26, 2014, 12:11 PM EST
Fall from grace for the former 30-goal scorer.
Nov 26, 2014, 11:42 AM EST
Out “a couple of weeks” with a lower-body injury.
Nov 26, 2014, 11:28 AM EST
Arizona forward forced the Avs d-man from the game.
Nov 26, 2014, 11:10 AM EST
Dallas forward does have a history with the NHL’s player safety department.
Nov 26, 2014, 10:58 AM EST
To cheer, or boo? That’s the query.
Nov 26, 2014, 10:50 AM EST
Two teams headed down different paths?
Nov 26, 2014, 10:03 AM EST
He missed the last three games with an upper-body injury.
Nov 26, 2014, 9:16 AM EST
It’s a question that could decide a playoff spot or two.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:51 AM EST
Tough start to the season for the veteran defenseman.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:12 AM EST
Wednesday’s roundup of links.
- Chelios calls ex-teammate Shanahan an inexperienced ‘politician’ 1
- Sharks players go to bat for McLellan: ‘Why would you get rid of him?’ 0
- Garbutt to have hearing for kneeing Hall 1
- The day before Thanksgiving, six new playoff teams 9
- What they’re saying about St. Louis’ return to Tampa Bay 16
- NHL on NBCSN: Flyers face Red Wings on Rivalry Night 11
- Video: Canucks honor Quinn with “O Danny Boy” 8
- Video: Stars’ Klingberg scores from center ice 4
- Report: Alfredsson retirement to be announced Dec. 4 10
- On the odds of fighting back after Thanksgiving 10
- Video: Milan Lucic calls Dalton Prout one-punch ‘gutless’ (99)
- Prout drops Lucic: ‘As far as I was concerned we were engaged in a fight’ (88)
- The Leafs didn’t salute their fans last night, so that’s a thing now (79)
- Jack Johnson filed for bankruptcy, parents allegedly took advantage of him (58)
- Bruins’ Lucic expected to play against Habs after getting one-punched (Updated) (47)