Make mention of that contract to a New York Rangers or Philadelphia Flyers fan, and the reaction will be more pointed—blatant laughter verging on open ridicule of a team that continues to trip over itself in its haste to worsen its position in the NHL.
DiPietro has been the subject of many conversations in NHL circles throughout his career, but not for his quality of play. Unfortunately for the Islanders and their fans, DiPietro’s 15-year $67.5M contract isn’t the method by which the team secured a franchise goaltender.
In fact, it’s been just the opposite.
Islanders’ owner Charles Wang—along with the team’s general manager Garth Snow—thought they were locking up a can’t-miss prospect in DiPietro when they signed him to that deal in 2006.
And for the amount of time on the deal, the attitude on Long Island was that they’d better have the second coming of Patrick Roy or Jacques Plante on their hands, if they were willing to make DiPietro an Islander until his 40th birthday.
The contract itself can be considered an abomination or a simple mistake, depending on your point of view; most would agree it’s nothing if not wrong.
Seeing as how it continues to haunt the team this season—as DiPietro is again sidelined by injuries—let’s take a look at how his contract has become the longest-running joke in the league.