This whole Kovalchuk fiasco has sparked a lot of debate about these front loaded deals that have been handed out to players these past few seasons. Some contracts are legit and some are shady. Henrik Zetterberg's contract is a legitimate one as it runs out when he's 40. The same is for Marc Savard. Marian Hossa, Roberto Luongo, and Chris Pronger's deals are different as Hossa and Pronger will be 42 and Luongo will be 43.
It's possible Pronger plays until he's 42, as Chelios played til he was 48. Other defenceman have been able to play past 40 but it's not a norm. Especially with the speed in today's game. Hossa will most likely not play until he's 42 and there's no way Luongo will be playing until he's 43, he's a good goalie but he's no Dominik Hasek. Hasek was a fitness freak and it was uncanny that he was able to play in the NHL until he was 43 and still be playing oversea's.
Dominik Hasek was also not a full time starter in the NHL until he was 28, he didn't log much mileage by that point.
Seeing though that the CBA will end in 2012 and the NHL will fix this loophole, I thought it'd be a good idea to share an idea with all of you involving these long term front loaded deals.
I don't see a problem with some front loaded or these long term deals. However, it's a gray area, where does the line get drawn? The NHL has implemented their line with the Kovalchuk deal, but I don't think it's such a great idea to get rid of the idea altogether. Rather the NHL should make strict policy involving front loaded/long term deals.
In a salary cap age, it's impossible to keep a team together year after year to grow together, it's even harder to keep the ingredients together to form a dynasty. So, to make it easier for team's to keep their own home grown talent with them to attempt a dynasty or ice a competitive team year after year, what if the NHL were to allow teams to keep the front loaded/long term deals under certain conditions?
I propose a team may only give out long term/front loaded deals to players they have originally drafted as well is still a restricted free agent when the deal is signed. The deals would be similar to the one's signed by Mike Richards and Alexander Ovechkin.
Think about if you're a Los Angeles Kings fan; would you be against them signing a player like Drew Doughty to a 18 year deal that would take him til he's 40 that had a cap friendly hit of 5 million? or if you're an Edmonton fan and the Oilers were to sign Taylor Hall to a similar deal?
It may make free agency boring because big names like an Ilya Kovalchuk may never see the open market. But let's face it, free agency has been a little boring as it is with the Salary cap. Only the first few years saw some big movement. As well the next several years won't be any better with many of today's top talent already locked to long term deals with their respected franchises.
This summer was perhaps the most boring one because teams have been locked by the salary cap and as well have their own team budgets to abide by. Although, maybe this proposal will allow teams more cap flexibility to see more action with free agency. They may not be as many top line players available but teams will be able to spend more on depth players instead of seeing good players like Antti Niemi sitting on the side lines waiting for a contract while sieves like Martin Gerber get contracts. As well players like Maxim Afinogenov and Evgeni Nabokov bolting for the NHL as well as others that gone that path.
It's food for thought, let me know what you guys of the Bleacher Report community think.