In the past month, CBA uncertainty has drove contract negotiations through the roof. Since NHL general managers are unsure what the eventual new collective bargaining agreement will state in terms of the length of contracts that players are allowed to sign, they are trying harder than ever to lock up their star players for the future. But is it really a good idea.
Does signing Sidney Crosby to a 12 year deal make sense after he was barely able to play this season because of concussion problems? Probably not, but when you are the best player in the game teams will take that type of risk.
The difference however, between Crosby and some of the other players receiving megadeals is that he has already proved himself to be the game’s best player when healthy. Some of the deals that have been handed out have been given to players who have yet to truly prove themselves in this league.
Two examples of these deals are the ones given to Edmonton’s Taylor Hall and Ottawa’s Kyle Turris. Hall, who played well while scoring 95 points in his first two seasons, was rewarded with a seven year deal worth $42 million dollars. Now is Hall’s potential worthy of six million dollars a year? Absolutely! But, he’s not worth it yet and I wonder if he will be worth it in two years when his extension kicks in. Hall is a great talent and will likely be a player worth six million a year, but gambling after only years could come back to haunt the Oilers.
The case of Turris is more confusing. This is another case of a team banking on a player growing to his full potential, the only difference is Turris is yet to really show his. The Senators gave Turris $17.5 million dollars over five years, when he has never played a full NHL season and in 186 career games has only produced 75 points. Will Turris likely improve? Most certainly. However, his progress up to date does not reflect the contract he received.
Both of these cases could turn out just fine with both players reaching their full potentials. However, the opposite may occur with both players never fully developing and wasting the teams’ money. Crosby may never return to the player he was. But that is the risk you take when you sign players, regardless of age. If the new CBA outlaws long contract extensions, maybe it will cost some players money, but will save some from the bust label and some general managers their jobs.