You’re Doing It Wrong.

July 20, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Posted in Contracts, Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils, Players, Thought-provoking Stuff | 2 Comments

Yesterday Ilya Kovalchuk finally agreed to a new deal with New Jersey, one that is supposedly going to be 17 years long. And I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about that just doesn’t sit well with me.

I want to say it’s the part where he’ll make $11.5 million, but if a team wants to overpay a guy, that’s their prerogative. (But still. $11.5 million? For a guy that has won exactly ONE playoff game and hasn’t figured out what the equivalent of “defense” is in Russia?) People are whipping themselves into frenzies over the cap circumvention and the fact that it utilizes that loophole to keep the cap hit manageable isn’t what bothers me. I think the part of the deal that bothers me is the way in which it uses the term of the deal to keep the cap hit low.

I actually usually like long-term deals. Nicky Backstrom signed a ten year extension in Washington? Heck yes, keep that guy around. Ryan Miller got himself a five year deal? He’s a goalie, he actually wants to be in Buffalo, I support it 100%. And when Tyler Myers signs his twenty year extension* next summer I’ll wear my Myers shirt around town with pride. But these are all deals that (God willing) will be played out. In ten years Backstrom will be 32, Miller will be in his mid-thirties, and I’d like to think Tyler has twenty years* in him (all with Buffalo, of course). Kovalchuk is already 27. Even if he plays until he’s 40, that’s only thirteen years. What I don’t like about this deal is that by making it long enough to keep the cap hit reasonable, it got up to 17 years. For a guy who’s 27. Even if he was a 21 year old signing his first contract after the rookie one it would be different.

It’s not even the fact that the deal is front-loaded. If you want to give the guy the cash up front, fine. But giving him the money up front in a way that makes it easy for you to buy out his last few years, years he’s most likely not going to play, seems to be taking cap evasion a little too far.

I don’t know what the solution to this problem is when they start renegotiating the CBA and I don’t pretend to know. I don’t mind long term deals for players who are bigger names (because regardless of whether or not he can win, I personally consider Kovy to be a big name). For the fans, it gives them security that players they like and players they want to root for and keep in town will stay there. For the team, it gives them a way to pay the player money he wants while not completely screwing over their team for years to come. I just feel like something should be done to prevent deals that no one expects to end with the player still playing. There’s a reason Kovalchuk’s money goes down in the end and I feel like that reason just might rhyme with “shmyout.”

I don’t know. Maybe I’m being completely unreasonable and probably maybe this post doesn’t even make any sense. I just don’t like that guy signed a contract he’ll never play the duration of.

Whether or not the Devils actually win now is an entirely different story and I’m not going to even get into that. (Hint: I don’t see it happening.)

And props to the Kings for not caving in and throwing at him what he wants. You guys showed him not going above 15 years. I think you made the smart choice.

*I’m exaggerating here. A little.

2 Comments »

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  1. We all see how well long contract extensions worked out for the Islanders. (re: DiPietro)

  2. Love the post, really enjoyed the read. It’s amazing how the GM’s keep giving these massive contracts to players. I know you want the player but isn’t there a point where you think enough is enough. 17 years is unbelievable, I thought it was like a typo or something when I read it at first. These players are very good players, but as they get older it’s going to pose a problem as their play declines. Also, you think you could check out my article relating to this? I really want to hear your thoughts http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/note-to-nhl-gms-this-is-getting-out-of-hand/


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