Overpaid, Underplayed, Trapped by Cap

Lisa BoychukSenior Analyst IAugust 16, 2008

The title says it all—it is the new trend in the NHL's free agency frenzy.

The first few days after the trade deadline were a bit of a shock with the ludicrous deals involving unheard of players.

Now it is more of a shock if someone gets a deal worth less than $3 million or less than a 5-year contract.

The NHL has finally cleared the trap on the ice, but there is obviously one now off ice.

The poor teams are trapped by the salary cap floor.  With it being constantly on the rise, they have no choice but to overpay someone who likely doesn't deserve it.

That means loading up on some veterans who used to be top stars.  Maybe at times it is just a way to get the fans out to the games.

The rich teams are trapped by the salary cap ceiling.  Someone like Pittsburgh in the near future has to give up their key players.  At first they have the big bucks to lure in the big guns. 

But what happens when they need the money for someone else?  Someone younger and better that was not around when they signed the $70 million, 8-year deals, for example?  Or, more likely, when the skills are gone and you no longer want them around?

Even if you trade, you're responsible for those millions.  This is starting to sound like the New York Rangers club pre-salary cap.

The players are trapped by those insane contracts.  The more they get paid, the more they are expected to do.  The fans, of course, have the high expectations.

I can sure see in a few years a bunch of these guys not liking their minutes played, or the city they are in, and being stuck there.  Who wants to end their career on a sour note?

If this continues without any immediate control (or sense of mind, for that matter), us fans should brace ourselves for another long, depressing lockout in 2012.