To say that July 1st is a hockey nut’s Black Friday in Walmart would be an understatement. Each team’s general manager runs into the store with an allotted amount of money and runs down each aisle trying to find the best bargains. Unfortunately, there’s only one of each item (unless the Sedins are for sale), causing even more of a frenzy over the commodities. In addition to that, they can’t just throw the items in the cart. They need to go through a representative who agrees to allow them to have the item. As if that wasn’t hard enough, they need to follow the sloppy, scribbled lists their wives (i.e. owners) wrote for them. Conversations went something like this at 2 a.m. while they were fighting off the tryptophan from the previous night:
We need a defenseman in the 1.2mil range…
DO NOT walk out of that place without a right winger!
______ really wants a goalie this year. Come home without one and you can kiss this (job) goodbye!
I really sympathize with (most) of them. Salary caps get in the way and not everybody can get what they want. Sometimes it’s the GM, sometimes it’s the agent, and sometimes it’s the player who get the short end of the stick.Google “Devin Setoguchi contract” if you have any doubts.
But sometimes, the stars align and a player, agent, and GM all get something they can agree with. After making fans wait 19 days, Steven Stamkos finally signed a five-year contract for 37.5 million dollars. Some say it’s not long enough, but consider this:
If it’s too short of a contract, why is Drew Doughty rumored to be looking for a similar deal? Here are some reasons this deal is a match made in heaven for Stammers and the Bolts…
1) Steve Stamkos is 21 years old. This means his contract will be up when he is 26, the age seen as the prime of a hockey player’s career. Depending how Stamkos does in the next five seasons, both he and the organization can reevaluate their relationship and either drop their deal like a hot potato or the Lightning can extend Steve’s contract.
2) Stamkos has five years to establish himself as a/the leader of his team. Right now Stamkos is the Ace of his team, but he has yet to possess the heart and leadership of his team. Those positions belong to Marty St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier, respectively. St. Louis is currently 36 and unless he becomes the next Teemu Selanne (which could very well happen), he will most likely retire before the 2016-2017 season. Lecavalier is still a young 31 years old, but by the time Stamkos needs to sign on the dotted line again, he should have an “A” sewn onto that sweater. Over the next five years Stamkos can outlive his young stud rep and be seen as a consistent, reliable contributor to his team on the ice and in the locker room.
3) Long contracts have little-to-no meaning anymore. In Stamkos’ case, there is little chance his team could kick him to the curb. He puts 100% of himself into the game and reaps the benefits of hard work… but things change. Not to harp on past incidences, but if you want to see how pointless a long contract is, just look at the gruesome twosome stud and EX cap-e-tan duo of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. Both were first round drafts who were locked into their contracts together for the next 9 years. They personified the image of the Philadelphia Flyers and (as both have been quoted as saying) expected to ride into the sunset of their hockey careers together…….
Then their GM decided he wanted to change the team image. One year short of their no-trade-clauses (which are pointless too… point in case, Simon Gagne) they were sold off to a beachier and a podunkier pasture (Richards the former, Carter the latter).
DO NOT think other players have not taken notice! If a team truly sees a player as their “image”, they will have no problem reminding him frequently by renewing his contract multiple times throughout his career. (Some players who may need to take heed… Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom) and finally….
4) Long contracts cause problems. One year ago yesterday, Ilya Kovalchuk signed a 17-year, $102 million deal (remember him? He’s that Russian stud who flopped this past season for the NJ Devils til Jacques Lemarie stepped in). The NHL was not to keen on that contract and slapped a HEFTY fine on the team. The deal cost the Devils $3 million and the loss of a third-round draft pick in 2011 and a first-round pick in one of the next four seasons. No team wants to endure that for a player, even if he is their star.
As we roll into week four of free agency, at least Lightning fans can rest assured that their little darling is safely tucked away in his Bolts jersey and loves where he laces up his skates.