In the new NHL and its all so glorious salary cap (which rises each year so far, and we are now back to pre-lockout salaries) comes new challenges for teams. That challenge being a huge one:
Keeping their players under contract and keeping under the cap.
Now the cap this year is around 53 million dollars, and I will assume most teams want some cushion room for trades, and extensions. The salary cap also provides more movement of players in this NHL, and the players that have “cap friendly” salaries are huge trade bait, and their “hometown discount” salaries (probably why it is cap friendly) are then a bad idea for players due to the more likelihood of being traded (see Andrew Ference who went from Flames to Boston).
With all the challenges that general managers face, the salary cap is one of the hardest in my view to maintain and still have a competitive team with lots of depth (3 lines can do it, see Anaheim). Each general manager also wants to keep the core of the team and before players become UFA or RFA get extensions signed. Some extensions have been discounts for keeping the team competitive (Crosby, Iginla, Regehr), all 3 of which could of gotten more money on the open market. However the extensions are not cheap as Crosby will earn an average of 8.7 million dollars per season, and Iginla will make 7 million a season. Both locked up for 5 years. Crosby’s makes sense for that long as he will improve and is only 2 years into the league. However Iginla will be reaching 35 at the end of his deal, and will be making 7 million a season, pretty good for that age if he still remains in form.
Now the issue comes are extensions worth it for general managers? The answer is yes. They can get their players for younger, have 1 less season for them to play even better and demand even more money, and also keeps the core of the team together to make it to the playoffs and for a cup run every year. However the long term benefits might outweigh the short term on the older fellows. Iginla might be past his prime 3 years into his salary and may only be worth about 4-5 million at that time, but the Flames will have to pay him 7 million for the rest of his salary. And with the cap anything can happen, if revenue of the league goes down, the cap might go down, and these extensions might end out to be a bad move since they might be at the max salary of player and take even more of the salary than was originally planned for. So it’s a hit or miss depending on several factors on if extensions are a necessity for the entire core of a team or if they should be limited to a few people (see Calgary, Iginla, Regehr, and rumors of both Kipper and Phaneuf) are 4 potential people versus the Penguins who have so far had Crosby as a major extension.
In the end I am going to say that I am in favor of extensions for the sole reason of keeping the core of a team available. However I would still prefer the extensions to be limited to players under the age of around 26-28 so that long term deals can still benefit the team than paying an older guy lots of money for not being as productive as when he signed the extension.
This was my first blog and I understand if it was a bit dry and boring to read. Also understand if it was also hard to read due to sentence structure. I do promise my next blog to be less dry, fun to read and hopefully easy to read.