I was first introduced to the insanity involved with NHL contracts back in 2006. That was the season that my fantasy hockey team "I Don't Watch Hockey" won the championship and earned me a $150 prize.
Because, as my team name stated I didn't watch hockey, I had to rely on looking at different fantasy websites and articles to try to come up with some kind of draft strategy. During my research on goalies, I came across a story that caught my eye. The title was something along the lines of
"Rick Dipietro Signs 15 Year Contract With New York Islanders"
What the What!?
I thought I was reading the story wrong. A 15 year contract? That couldn't be right.
Well it was.
The Islanders signed a goalie of all people to that deal. Back then that didn't mean much to me, but after hearing about goalies coming in and out of Washington over the years, it sounds pretty insane to me now. (I also recall the words "injury-prone" thrown out a bit and looking at some brief game-logs...what a terrible deal)
Fast forward to 2010...I still don't watch hockey.
That year I came across another interesting story while perusing around the internet. It caught my eye because it looked familiar.
"Kovalchuk gets 17-year deal from Devils"
There it was again. Another insane NHL contract. This time however, the NHL decided that the deal was too long, and they rejected it. Interesting...
Fast forward to 2012...I watch hockey now!
Just last night someone tweeted "The Flyers Are Insane"
According to reports the Flyers offered the Predators Shea Weber a 14 year deal for around 100 million bucks.
I have a question. The Kovalchuck deal was rejected because at the end of it he would be 44 and the NHL didn't think he would be playing still. (NY Times) The Weber deal would put the defenseman at 41 years old at contract end. How is that much different? Why are the Flyers allowed to do this?
The Predators can still match the deal, and they have the money to do so. However, Philly went creative and front-loaded the contract which could make it hard. (Rotoworld)
So can someone explain to me what is up with these long term contracts. As an NBA and NFL fan my knowledge of contracts is that they are meaningless. If you want more money you can just cry like a baby and refuse to play or request trades. Basically do whatever you want.
Do these contracts exist in hockey because it is more honorable. Is it because of the CBA. Leave me some answers in the comments!