Well, I was so interested in this topic that I tapped the biggest NHL fan I know, Catherine Marzi aka @CMarzi84 and asked her to be a guest blogger.Â She breaks down this situation for me and you, my readers!Â Thanks, Marzi!
Arbitration in the biggest NHL off season story begins today. Ilya Kovalchuk, the number one draft pick in the 2001 entry draft, a 27 year old forward was offered $102 million over the course of 17 years by the NJ Devils. The NHL has contended this violates the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement and filed for arbitration. The contract averages out to $6 million per year, but is likely not structured to pay out evenly. Specifics of the contract have not been released.
Whether Kovalchuk’s 40+ goals in the past 6 seasons, or 80+ average points over the same number of seasons are worth $102 million is not really in question. He’s an outstanding player and could be a great asset to help the Devils put together a solid playoff push. The issue is to be decided is whether the contract is fair, as per the CBA, which exists to protect players and franchises.
Outside of the NHL’s objections, these super long term contracts feel like bad business. Just as far as the basics, when a couple players monopolize salary cap it leaves less opportunity for a supporting cast. Also, if anyone is looking for a most glaring example of a bad long term contract, check out Rick DiPietro, who signed a 15 year contact in 2006 and played a grand total of 13 games in the past two seasons.Â He’s a fair example of why these types of deals are questionable.
Though Kovalchuk has dominated the headlines, there have been some recent off season moves that have been eclipsed by the Kovalchuk drama:
Antti Niemi: the Stanley Cup winning goaltender for the Chicago Blackhawks has been let go. His award winning performance wasn’t enough to convince Chi-town to put up the $2.75 million per year. They opted for a less costly, and more senior goaltender in Marty Turco.
Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin: the top two draft picks this season have both signed 3 year contracts with their respective teams. Both 18 year old boys will be making at least $900,000 this season, with the possibility of collecting up to $3.75 million dollars.
Alexander Frolov: joined the NY Rangers to strengthen their offense. 20 points from Frolov coupled with 40 goals from Marian Gaborik could make the Rangers surprisingly effective. Oh wait, no one cares about the Rangers other than me? That’s right.
Either way, the Kovalchuk drama will be resolved within the next week. It’s been an interesting off season and the face of many teams in the league will be changed before the preseason kicks off in September. Only a few more weeks until hockey’s back!
What do you think?Â Should the NJ Devils be able to sign Kovalchuk to such a lengthy contract?Â Or, is the NHL right for disallowing this deal to go down?