When the NHL and NHLPA had a lockout that forced this 2012-13 season to become a 48 game one, one major hold up was on the subject of contract limits for all NHL players looking for new deals.
Well thanks to the Anaheim Ducks, the approved maximum contract has already been handed out and it comes before free agency opens.
The Ducks re-signed their captain Ryan Getzlaf to an eight-year, $66 million dollar contract. Eight years is the longest a player can sign for when they’re re-signing with a team, while seven years is the longest for a player to sign for when changing teams. The Stanley Cup winning center will earn an average of $8.25 million dollars a year, which only Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Eric Staal, and Alex Ovechkin enjoy these days.
This news has an impact for a lot of reasons. Obviously the first is for the Ducks who made the right move. Although Getzlaf is a great first line center, he’s not in the class of the elite like his contract says but it had to be done this way. Realistically, to keep a key player from entering free agency, which Getzlaf could’ve done following this season, the team has to overpay, and the Ducks did.
Especially since another key player from the Ducks, the 2011 league MVP Corey Perry is also up for free agency at the end of this season. It has become evident that the Ducks would probably only be able to keep one and trade the other at the deadline so it looks as if they made their decision.
Getzlaf is the right choice because centers control the game more than wingers do. Perry will probably look for $9 million dollars a year since he’s a big time goal scorer while Getzlaf is the one who gets all of the assists.
The Ducks took the cheaper option, knowing Perry is more likely to see what he’s worth come July 1, 2013, and it was smart to get Getzlaf signed now.
Another impact this trade has surrounds the aforementioned trade deadline. If Perry commands more than Getzlaf, which he should because the league is more about scoring numbers than passing numbers, the Ducks will be forced to trade him at the deadline. That will be a tough decision to make with the Ducks playing so well entering Saturday night with a record of 17-3-3. Trading Perry will be a blow to the team as they make a run for a Stanley Cup but with the other talent they have, plus the tremendous goaltending, they will still contend.
The Ducks could gain, at the least, a first round pick, a top-tier prospect, and a significant roster player if a team tries to get Perry from them at the trade deadline.
The New Jersey Devils lost their captain Zach Parise to free agency, and they assumed it would happen and didn’t trade him at last season’s deadline. That proved to be the right move as he led them to the Stanley Cup finals, but now it’s regrettable for the Devils who got nothing in return while losing to the Los Angeles Kings.
As I alluded to earlier, this Ducks team is different as they have more of a complete team than last year’s Devils. With that, they won’t be afraid to deal Perry, and it is even likely that they do.
When that new team tries to re-sign Perry, they’ll have fork over more than $8.25 million a year because although he may not seem worth it, his numbers will prove to be more valuable than Getzlaf’s. It will also help having multiple teams on the phone out-bidding one another.
Other centers like Jonathan Toews, Evgeni Malkin, and Claude Giroux are jumping for joy after seeing Getzlaf’s contract. Those three guys alone are worth more money than Getzlaf is, and their agents will focus on that when they become free agents down the road.
Or how about a player like John Tavares, who the New York Islanders fans will appreciate even more for signing an early extension before the 2011-12 season for six-years and only $33 million dollars. That’s a guy who knew he would only get better as his entry-level contract came to a close, and by the looks of his numbers at the end of that season (when he would’ve been a free agent), could’ve easily gotten a much more lucrative deal elsewhere.
Tavares chose to stay and re-build the Islanders (which he’s successfully doing) , taking less money. Now, as he continues to dominate this season with MVP numbers, it’s easy to say that when his six-year contract is up, he’ll be able to get $10 million dollars annually from the Islanders to stay past the new deal.
Steven Stamkos did the same with the Lightning, only he was handed $7.5 million dollars a year for five years to stay with a struggling team. When that contract is up, he too can easily demand $10 million dollars a year like so many other players will after this Getzlaf contract.
The NHL tried oh so hard to minimize lucrative deals after the Minnesota Wild’s shopping spree on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter this past summer, but players will continue to want to be overpaid while teams will be forced to do so.
The Ducks and Getzlaf set the bar on contract’s for the new CBA, now it’s just a matter of time to see how much money even more valuable players get when it’s their time to cash in.