Before the NHL raised the salary cap to $70.2 million and the injury-prone Sidney Crosby inked a $100 million deal, it was clear to fans that the National Hockey League was purely fueled by tradition and surrounded by those who love the game.
However, as the salary cap continues to rise and players like Brandon Prust sign a $10 million contract (per the NY Daily News), all previous loyalty dissolves and the league becomes more about business.
While continuing to operate NHL franchises more like businesses, free agents will keep signing more and more laughable contracts.
If third- and fourth-line forwards can sign contracts north of $10 million, the free agents that can revamp an entire franchise are sure to grab large contracts no matter the location.
Zach Parise's Selling Point: Captained Sixth Seed to Stanley Cup Finals
The best player to compare free-agent forward Zach Parise to is Flyers forward Claude Giroux. The two share a unique ability to control the game unlike any other forwards in the league. While other forwards like Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin possess unmatched skill in goal scoring, Parise is the type of player who can control both sides of the game, as we all witnessed in the 2012 playoffs.
At the beginning of the 2012 season, the New Jersey Devils were 35/1 odds to win the Stanley Cup. Once they battled the incredible Eastern Conference for a modest sixth seed, the Devils shocked NHL fans nationwide and upset both the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers to make the Stanley Cup Finals.
Would you be happy if your team spent $90 million on Parise or Suter?
Although Parise had some incredible talent in Ilya Kovalchuk and Martin Brodeur backing him up, the captain led the Devils on an incredible Stanley Cup run in his contract year—a combination sure to land him a lucrative contract anywhere that will pay it.
Ryan Suter's Selling Point: Young, Talented Defenseman to Anchor the Defensive Core
Suter has seven years in the NHL under his belt and, at just 27 years old, is fully capable of becoming one of the league's top defenseman.
Although the budding star is fresh off his first All-Star season, his agent Neil Sheehy reported that his client has received "countless phone calls, emails and messages" yet Suter's "enviable position" will not yield a decision anytime soon (from ESPN).
Sheehy's job as the agent is to sell Suter's popularity, with the target being a long and high-paying contract that will keep the defenseman happy.
However, Sheehy will likely shield any contract details, unlike Jaromir Jagr's 21 contract offers on the first day of free agency.