Friday, January 11, 2008

Wang: Visionary or Nut?

1) When it was announced late yesterday that the Washington Capitals have extended the contract for their super star left wing Alex Ovechkin to an unprecedented 13 years we couldn't help but wonder if Mr. Wang was quietly chuckling to himself. After all, until this year such contracts were unheard of in non-Islander quarters.

2) You may recall that earlier this season the Flyers extended the contract for forward Mike Richards for 12 additional seasons. Is there a trend developing here? Did the NY Islanders/Wang know something that others didn't last year when they signed Rick DiPietro to a 15 year deal? As we wrote after the Richards deal, many fewer folks derided the Flyers for that contract like the hockey media did when the Isles gave Ricky his. Now, only 16 months later Charles Wang is looking more like a visionary and less like a Kook (at least on this issue)

3) As for this deal, like the other two alluded to it makes sense for those teams, and WILL work ONLY if those players continue to develop and stay at their current high levels. Already DiPietro, a season removed from the deal's inception, is now paid less than many of his colleagues with similar numbers. If he were to continue to play at this level he will be vastly UNDERPAID in a very short time. Its still too early to make judgement on the Richards deal. He is having a very nice season thus far, but the jury is still out on the contract's wisdom.

4) Some said after the Richards deal that it's a dangerous trend to have so much salary locked up in so much unproven talent. However we believe that is NOT the case with Ovechkin. In a mere 2 1/2 seasons Alex has scored more goals than any other NHL player. He plays with a fire/intensity that few in the league can match on a game in and game out basis. This is probably why Caps owner Ted Leonsis felt that the risk of signing Ovechkin to such a long deal wasn't an issue. Unlike the deal he struck with Jaromir Jagr in 2001 this deal makes sense. Why? For one, at the time of the Jagr deal, a salary cap loomed and no one knew how that would affect the league. Now in the third season of the new CBA, most teams (with a few exceptions) have come to grasp what the new landscape means; Sign your star players to long term deals, and build out from there.

5) Also can we please stop with the inevitable Crosby-Ovechkin comparisons? We understand its inevitable as they came into the league at the same time, and are both amazing players. However we disagree with what some writers are/were saying; That no player should make more than Sid. That's absurd. Each team individually determines what an asset(player) is worth to them. Evidently the Capitals believed that AO was worth 9.5 mil(average)/season. It will make him the highest paid player next season, BUT its likely that in 2 or 3 years another player will get an even larger/season deal, and its almost assured that when Sid's extension expires in 2013 (he will be an old 25 LOL) you can bet your boots he will make a healthy 8 figures in salary, while Ovechkin will be 'stuck' at the same average salary till 35, regardless of performance.

6) Regardless of opinion for or against these kind of deals, no one will know their worth or foolhardiness for quite a while. Regardless it seems that Mr. Wang was well ahead of his time and will either be looked back upon as the father of the insane contract or a brilliant visionary. Only time will reveal which answer is accurate. Its also apparent that many GM/owners who were once deriding Mr. Wang are now imitating him.


Antzmarching said...

1. Hey Faux, have you actually heard the sounds that eminate from Wang when he laughs? But, what can you say, Wang is a maverick and certainly a visionary...

2. I was a harsh critic when Mr. Wang signed DP - but, as I mentioned in my last post, I think Ricky is really coming along quite well... However, Wang's biggest success was hiring Ted Nolan!

3. Finally, THANK YOU TED! It's about time... As a Caps supporter, I am thrilled about this extension... This should add some well needed enthusiasm in the DC hockey market...

Shmee said...

So glad to see someone talking about this in a balanced way. Yes, the deals will be a steal if the players can continue to operate on their current level. But can they? There is also a definite distinction btwn proven superstar talent like AO and guys who might just be having an extra good season, like Richards. When I think of the Richards deal, I think Vanek.

DMG said...

I still think 15 years was too long given DiPietro's age at the time.

But, I think these long-term deals benefit both the players and the team - the player gets a ton of guaranteed money and some stability and the team gets a guy for below market value in the long term and someone they can feel confident building around and marketing to their fans.

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