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.
Jan 27, 2015, 3:11 PM EST
Kick off six straight games at Rogers Arena tonight versus Anaheim.
Goalie nods: Greiss starts for Pens, which has nothing to do with Fleury getting lit up at the All-Star Game
Jan 27, 2015, 2:27 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Jan 27, 2015, 2:20 PM EST
“We know what the standings look like. That’s no secret. But we can’t make up all those points this week.”
Jan 27, 2015, 1:38 PM EST
We already knew he tried to use Seattle for the same purpose.
Jan 27, 2015, 1:23 PM EST
And so ends one of the most storied goaltending careers in NHL history.
Jan 27, 2015, 12:56 PM EST
Bill Peters sounds fed up.
Jan 27, 2015, 12:35 PM EST
Defending champs are just 20-15-12 after 47 games.
Jan 27, 2015, 12:28 PM EST
After failing to find a trade partner for the 28-year-old.
Jan 27, 2015, 12:17 PM EST
Your move, Los Angeles.
Jan 27, 2015, 11:47 AM EST
“He wants to build for the long term and he understands that there is some suffering involved.”
Jan 27, 2015, 11:43 AM EST
Bob Murray wants a defenseman, according to pretty much everyone.
Jan 27, 2015, 11:12 AM EST
The worst of the storm was saved for New England.
Jan 27, 2015, 10:48 AM EST
Get back into the swing of things.
Jan 27, 2015, 10:48 AM EST
“I’m still a little ways away. Hopefully I keep making the right strides.”
Jan 27, 2015, 9:41 AM EST
Update: Moving him might not be such a bad thing, really.
Jan 27, 2015, 8:28 AM EST
Tuesday’s snowy links.
Jan 27, 2015, 1:35 AM EST
He’ll likely start Tuesday paired with Dan Hamhuis.
Jan 27, 2015, 12:30 AM EST
Latvia could soon have another NHLer to cheer for.
Jan 26, 2015, 11:30 PM EST
The Isles have won both meetings this season.
Jan 26, 2015, 10:25 PM EST
He’s missed 13 games recovering from surgery on his fractured left wrist.
- Martin Brodeur to retire, become Blues asst. GM (Updated) 19
- Mike Richards clears waivers 27
- Game on: Islanders-Rangers to be played despite storm 13
- Flyers’ Rinaldo suspended eight games for his hit on Letang 53
- Isles’ rise to be tested as they lose Okposo for 6-8 weeks 16
- L.A. Sorry? Kings waive Mike Richards 123
- Bobrovsky out 4-6 weeks, Jackets recall goalie Forsberg 3
- Blue Jackets proud as Columbus shows it’s a hockey town 24
- From contract dispute to All-Star MVP, Johansen’s had quite the year 17
- Marc-Andre Fleury would like to remind the Columbus crowd that the Penguins beat the Blue Jackets in the playoffs 33
- Columnist: Flyers ‘orchestrated’ fight night versus Pens during meal at ‘a local steakhouse’ (130)
- L.A. Sorry? Kings waive Mike Richards (123)
- Flyers’ Rinaldo: ‘I changed the whole game, man’ (112)
- Video: Rinaldo tossed for boarding Letang (79)
- Report: Flyers’ Rinaldo waives right to an in-person hearing (61)