Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mike Richards Gets Early Christmas Gift!

1) Yes, it was Happy Festivis for Mike Richards a couple of weeks ago, as the Philadelphia Flyers announced they have extended the contract of the 23 year old forward to an unprecedented (for a non-Islander) double digit (12) year deal! This just as the league was starting to accept that the Islander's long term deal for Rick DiPietro wasn't as bad/dumb/insane as some called it when first announced last summer, came this stunner.

2) It was a mere 15 months ago when there was almost universal (even from then Flyer GM Bob Clarke) condemnation of Charles Wang's deal for his 25 yr old goaltender. The laughter at the Islander's expense simmered down considerably as DiPietro blossomed into a top 10 goalie last season. At his 4.5 mil salary his is already paid at a rate less than many in that same calibre and in a very short time will likely be vastly underpaid. This was what we alone last fall at FAUXRUMORS said might be the result in our post:

3) Of course at the time the Isles were also saddled with another double digit deal (For perennial underachiever and frequent quitter Alexei Yashin) as well as the circus that surrounded the hiring/firing of Neil Smith in a mere 30 days, the formation of the famous 'round table' of Islander hockey minds headed by the admitted hockey novice Charles Wang. So it was easy to 'pile on' and say this was yet another colossal Islander blunder.

4) However that deal and we also believe this one have merit and significantly differ from the Yashin 10 year deal.
  • Both DiPietro and Carter are vastly younger and have much more upside
  • Yashin had already quit TWICE on the Senators. Showing he was no leader and not someone to whom to entrust that kind of monetary investment.
  • Yashin while surrounded by a great cast never seemed to become the superstar the Senators expected, never excelled in the playoffs and was probably at his apex when the trade/contract was signed. The ladder 2 players as alluded to earlier are not yet near their primes yet are already contributing significantly to their teams'.
  • When Yashin was signed almost all (apparently except Wang and Milbury) knew a salary cap was coming in or about 2004, so any deal that went beyond that point better take that into consideration. The result: Yashin instantly became a salary cap anchor/albatross around the Islanders

5) We don't want our readers to come away from all this discussion that these 2 deals are without risk. Both teams took huge risks that the players would continue to mature/improve or worse yet decline prematurely from their current production. In this case the Islanders took a larger gamble as its been shown in the past(See Jim Carrey/Jose Theodore) a goaltender can go from Vezina winner to AHL/NHL back-up in a short time. That would be the worst case scenario. Paying big bucks for mediocrity hurts!

6) However, these can potentially be mitigated, if that should occur, with AHL demotion. Not preventing the team from paying the player, but alleviating their salary cap hit. Long term injury too is protected under the salary cap system if the player were incapable of playing. All in all we feel that these kind of deals will be more common place in the future as teams try to stay ahead of salary inflation by locking up their best players at earlier ages and to much longer deals. The trick will be to choose the right player to lock in. Mistakes can be costly! In more ways than one (See Yashin)


Ron said...

It would be just fine to see that contract explode in the faces of those jerks from Filthydelphia. Richards aint that good.

Silas said...

I persoanlly don't care for either team, but in general think its a bad idea to sign a contract for anything more than 5 years. A goalie for 15 is just stupid. DiPietro got hurt last night playing my team. What if it was a bad injury? The Islanders because they are expecting him to be there another 13 years may not develop goalies intheir farm system so there would be no one to step in if DiPietro gets hurt badly. The guy who came in last night, can't remember his name, looked OK, but he's not gonna get them into the playoffs like the starter can.

Sauce said...

I would have to agree with Silas on the Dipietro contract. 15 years is excessive. Even tho top goaltenders tend to play at top level well into their 30's, a 15 year contract is still too long. Even assuming DP plays well at age 35, 36, 37... a player's incentive is at least partially tied to his wallet. To be so severly UNDERpaid not only removes motivation, but can also breed underlying discontent which could translate negatively in other areas, especiall the lockerroom.

I disagree about the effect of the long contract on young goalies in the pipeline. Goalies easily come from the later draft rounds, and the Isles still ahve incentive to develop young talent even if it's ultimately realized only as trade bait.

Bottom line... the trend is definately toward longer contracts for younger players. The Rangers probably got it right with the length of the Gomez contract, although, notwithstanding his recent production, I still think they overpaid.


1) What seems to be happening with these long expensive contracts is they tend to over pay (cap wise) in the early years and seem more reasonable in later seasons as the cap goes up. This is especially true if the player improves over time(
2) See Tampa Bay for examples of how this can work and backfire on a team: When Vinny Lecavalier was initially signed to his current deal it seemed like he was over paid and trade rumours abounded. Now his deal, which pays about a 6.7 mil cap hit looks like a bargain, while his teammate Brad Richards deal which pays him 7.8 mil until 2011 is a disatster.
3) In some respects we agree with Sauce's point about motivation. Thats why our final point of choosing wisely whom you give these kind of deals is key. We don't know either Di{Pietro or Richards persoanly, but their rep around the leaue would lead us to believe that they wouldn't 'pull a Yashin' and not play all out because they are now 'underpaid in comparison to the rest of the league

The Dark Ranger said...

Well let's see...Gomez's production thus far has been above average, short of special, but...on the first line with Jags...he is beginning to light-up. Four years from now and assuming a modest bump in production, his salary three years from now will be, perhaps, a great deal. This is the risk. Belief in longevity.

DiPietro's agent should be awarded some level of Agent Honor for closing that deal.

Re: MIke Richards...tell you what, there were more Mike Richards Flyers jerseys' showcased at the Official NYC NHL Store than anyone else in the league. ...and it wasn't Cynthia Crosby. That should tell you if it was worth it or not.

Happy New Year all...



1) Exactly Dark, its a risk for both sides. The player risks being undervalued in the out years of the deal and the team risks overpayng for a mediocre non-tradeable player.
2) Time will only tell what the result will be for those deals. Our gut feeling is that we won't see too many deals in double digts, but 5-7 years may be the norm for stars coming off their rookie deals.

Sauce said...

Renney finally figured out that the best way to get Jagr going was to have Gomez shoot more. Defenses have to then collapse on Gomez, and Jagr gets room.

If I'm not mistaken, next year in Jagr's contract is a TEAM option, which means the Caps no longer foot part of the bill (cap hit or otherwise). So this might be Gomez's last chance with the big-68.


1) Sauce: We have read conflicting reports that the team already has declined the option year on JJ's contract next season meaning he'll be a UFA.

Sauce said...

When I hear "conflicting reports", I take that to mean "no report". And that really would make the most sense, wouldn't it? Perhaps I'm missing something, but what exactly would the Rangers gain from making a decision early? Even if there is some marginal benefit that I'm not seeing, could it possibly out-weigh the potential negative affect on... Jagr's fragile emotional state... Sather's bargaining position with other GMs?


1) Here's our media source of the Ranger's declining the Jagr option:


1) The prt that didn't come through was: huge_im_pact_812998.htm


1) We used the word 'conflicting' because Larry Brooks is NOT always the best source for accurate information

Sauce said...

Thanks for the link. I indeed was missing part of the story. The part where the Caps were stupid enough to include a clause that puts them on the hook for more money if Jagr exceeds expectations. It's always been just the opposite in the contingiency clause of every corp business deal I've been part of. The better the sold property performs, the more the ACQUIRING party must pay.

Bunch of dumb-asses.


1) One of the more inane contracts signed! Its only fitting they are still paying part of that salary, though it appears they may get a break from it after this season

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