Should the NHL put a “cap” on the number of years you can offer on long term deals?
When you look at a contract (usually there are a few years on it) that is front loaded, you can understand why teams and players do it.
But when you mix a front loaded contract with long term deals, you can create a recipe for disaster (See: Kovalchuk).
The Devils had a deal in place that pay out $11.5 million for five years, but ended with them paying him $3.5 million in the last six years (allegedly done to circumvent the cap).
While the jury is still out on that, with people on both sides of the fence, something needs to be put in stone in the next CBA on contracts, and perhaps that is to put a limit on the number of years you can offer a player.
Maybe the simplest and most efficient way is just to say that you can offer any player a deal up to their 39th birthday (ex. A 26-year-old can sign up to a 13-year deal). No Contracts extending past a players 39th birthday.
I’m not going to throw every player who signs a long deal under the bus (a lot of deals appear to be reasonably done) but over the past few seasons, a group of players have signed questionable contracts extending past their 39th birthday. My list of questionable offenders include Marian Hossa, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Chris Pronger, Roberto Luongo and potentially Ilay Kovalchuk.
There may only be a handful of contracts done in this fashion (right now), as we have seen with the Kovalchuk contract. The CBA can be exploited and “if it can be done it will be done”.
So why sign a player to a long term contract?
WestCoastExpress is a Jabberhead and an SJ contributing author. Read more of WestCoastExpress at Hockey Jabber Blog .