Okay, so by now you will have all heard the news on Connor Mcdavid’s deal with the Oilers. If you haven’t, basically he signed a deal for an 8-year extension on his contract for $100million. Seems like a lot right? Well, in this piece we want to do some comparisons and view the situation of the game itself.
The thing to remember when we see a big deal like Mcdavid’s is that the reason teams are spending more is that the salary cap is also being raised. More money means more to spend. If you have great talent, then why spend elsewhere, secure the talent at home. In the 2017-18 season, the spending cap has been raised from $73m to $75m. This was disappointing for a lot of teams who were worried about finances before trades began.
Mcdavid has a cap hit of $12.5m equalling to about 17% of the overall upper cap limit. To put this into comparison we shall compare some similar deals from the NHL.
Ovechkin sits comfortably at the top on the list of most spent on a player. Back in January 2008, Ovechkin signed a 13-year deal with the Washington Capitals for $124 million. At this point in 2007-8, the cap was at $50.3m. His deal was a $9.538m cap hit, equal to 19% of the overall upper cap limit. Nearly a fifth of the overall money Washington had gone on this man. It’s important to note that now teams are unable to offer contracts for longer than 8 years.
Sidney Crosby is one player that no fan would kick a fuss up about if their team decided to overspend to secure him. In 2007, this happened when the Pittsburgh Penguins offered Crosby $43.5m for just 5 years. Again, similar to Ovechkin, the cap was set at $50.3m. Crosby’s deal was a $8.7m cap hit, averaging at 17% of the team’s upper cap limit.
Malkin is an almost identical deal to the one the Penguins made for Crosby the season before. In 2008, the Penguins offered Malkin a contract of $43.5m for 5 years. However, the cap in the 2008-9 season was raised from $50.3m to $56.7m, meaning his contract was only 15.3% of the team’s upper cap limit. This is odd as with the increase in the budget you would assume that the Penguins would have offered more to secure Malkin, especially as his stats were on par with Crosby’s in the season before this contract was signed.
So what is changing? There is a clear increase in budget, but the percentages remain equal for the players signing these big contracts. All averaging between 15-18% of a teams budget. What we can see by this season, with the expansion of the NHL, is that teams are doing their best to lock down the talent they already have. Peter Chiarelli seems to be looking to keep Mcdavid with the team for as long as possible, and in doing so can shape the team around him.
Whether this is a good plan, who knows. All we can say is that having Mcdavid in your jersey is a lot better than seeing him on the other bench. The Oilers will have to think wisely about how they structure the rest of their team and the game when Mcdavid is off of the ice. It does, however, mean that the Oilers in seasons to come will be able to build a stronger team without having to worry about maintaining the talent they already have.
And hey, on the bright side, for all over young NHL players, Mcdavid just made you all worth a heck of a lot more. Contracts will soon be following suit with those in fellow major league sports like Basketball, Baseball, etc… Remember to thank him, Matthews…
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