Hockey Critic

Rick DiPietro signs mega deal - Some NHL execs just won't learn

We lost a whole season of NHL hockey in 2004-05 because player salaries were getting out of whack and small market teams were suffering. But many (including myself) have long felt that you can't do much to prevent stupidity. If a team or a GM really wants to shoot themselves in the foot, they could do very easily it in the pre-salary cap era and as recent events show, they can still do it with with this new CBA. The most recent example comes to us from the New York Islanders (no surprise here, eh). GM Garth Snow and owner Charles Wang have signed goalie Rick DiPietro to an unprecedented 15 year guaranteed contract that is worth $67.5 million ($4.5 million per year).

Now the Islanders are no strangers to long, long term deals as they signed Alexei Yashin just a couple of years into his 10 year $90 million contract that runs out in 2011. I don't know if owner Charles Wang likes these long term deals or if Mike Milburry still has his hands in the pie, but one really has to question this agreement in a league/CBA that guarantees the contracts with no outs for the team.

The Islanders should have learned from the Yashin contract that a very long term contract has many downsides for the team. Alexei Yashin was a pretty good player when he was in Ottawa, but his on ice production has taken a sharp turn down since he signed this deal. And what real motivation does he have when he is guaranteed the money and puts him near the top of NHL paychecks? Now they are giving Dipietro, who was a first overall pick and has a lot of promise, a 15 year contract that ropes him in until he is 40!

Last season, Rick went 30-24-5 with a 3.02 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage - average stats when it comes to NHL goalies. The only way this works in the Isles favour is if he just breaks out and puts up some killer numbers over the next 10 years. The chances of that happening are probably low, which makes this contract a real noggin scratcher.
posted at 09:58:04 on 09/12/06 by HockeyCritic - Category: Business of Hockey

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