NHL Owners Continue Throwing Around Dollars, Years

This summer has been an intriguing one in many ways in the NHL.

Small market teams in Minnesota and Carolina have thrown around a lot of money – and years – to get the players they feel will make them a Cup contender. Meanwhile, many “destination” teams haven’t been able to sign anyone.

How are the CBA negotiations impacting this summer’s spending… and where it’s coming from?

When the owners made their initial proposal to the players’ association in CBA talks, one of the items on their agenda was contract length limits. The owners proposed a five-year maximum on any contract under a new CBA.

Now step back and look at some of the deals handed out this summer.

Before this summer’s spending began, there were 13 contracts in the NHL that were at least 10 years in length. This summer, general managers have signed five deals of at least a full decade in length: Shea Weber, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Jordan Staal and Sidney Crosby (Staal and Crosby signed extensions that begin in 2013-14).

Add to those deals the likes of Jeff Skinner’s new six-year deal in Carolina, the seven-year contract the Ottawa Senators gave Erik Karlsson, and the six-year deal James vanRiemsdyk signed, and a five-year maximum appears to be something many GMs are betting on happening… and spending money now to avoid dealing with in the future.

If we look at cap hits, big-time money is being thrown around as well. Including the extension Nashville gave Pekka Rinne (a seven-year, $49M deal that begins this coming season), the one-year deal Carolina gave Alex Semin, as well as Crosby’s future extension, there have been seven deals handed out with a cap hit of more than $6.000M this summer; that total doesn’t include Jordan Staal’s $6.000M cap hit.

There are only 47 players in the NHL that currently have a cap hit of more than $6.000M. Seven of those 47 contracts were signed from this summer’s free agent class: Weber, Suter, Parise, Rinne, Karlsson, Semin ($7M for one year) and Mike Green with Washington ($6.083M for three years).

Out of those seven deals, four were signed by Nashville and Minnesota.

Carolina has signed two long-term extensions, Skinner and Jordan Staal, that are set to begin with the 2013-14 season.

With word out of New York that a team (outside the NY area) has offered Shane Doan a four-year deal with a $7M cap hit, that number could increase before the new season begins.

What’s interesting to watch now is how the major market teams react to not only the CBA negotiations, but also the big spending of smaller market teams.

So far this summer, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Montreal and Toronto haven’t made much noise in free agency, while the New York Rangers have only consummated one blockbuster deal (the trade for Rick Nash). Indeed, the Original Six have accepted a back seat in this year’s free agent spending spree.

The Blackhawks have once again “successfully” avoided handing out long-term deals this summer, even though they reportedly offered a substantial deal to Parise. With extensions given to Johnny Oduya and Daniel Carcillo, the Hawks have some flexibility in upcoming summers.

Of course, that flexibility comes with the caveat that the organization will need to make a decision on the futures of players including Dave Bolland, Marcus Kruger, Nick Leddy and Niklas Hjalmarsson at some point in the next couple years.

It will be interesting to watch how GMs around the NHL handle players with one year remaining on their existing contracts as the two sides continue negotiating a new CBA. If a five-year contract maximum is going to be a piece of the deal, there could be some surprising movement before the new CBA is signed.

7 thoughts on “NHL Owners Continue Throwing Around Dollars, Years

  • August 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    With all these big deals,I wonder if Bowman was saving pennies for those players.Signing Bolland and Hammer I think would be paramount.Signing Krueger Id say would depend on his progrees this off season and how it translates to his season.If were not saving Money I have no idea what there doing.There were/ still are plenty of upgrades still out there.Trade or free agency.Grant it most are not “splash worthy”.And the unfortunate news on the “offer outside NY” word is its Nashville.So our Divison may have weakened but Preds look to not take a back seat to Chicago and St.Louis

  • August 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    I wouldn’t put keeping Hjalmarsson anywhere near “paramount.” Indeed, as I have said a number of times before, I think there’s a significantly better chance of him finishing his current contract somewhere other than Chicago than there is of him still being here in 2014. re: Kruger, I agree it depends on his development this year, but there’s also the development of other center prospects in the organization to consider.

    To your point about having no idea what they’re doing, I would ask that you look at the free agents that were available on the market this summer and what they received from their new employers, and suggest where Bowman missed on a player he could/should have signed. This wasn’t an overwhelming free agent class, and lots of players were paid more in dollars and years than the Hawks need to spend at this point in the organization’s growth.

    & Nashville might not want to take a back seat to Chicago and St. Louis, but they aren’t replacing Ryan Suter by trade or through free agency.

  • August 8, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I like Hammer,but I cant say I was totally against dealing him.And I guess I’m partial to the remaining Cup players.I didn’t mean the big FAs I meant the small pieces that were/ are still out there.I do think maybe there giving our prospects a shot this year.Saving the space and giving our prospects a chance could be the idea.If that’s the case I’m all for it.

  • August 8, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    There’s a lot of great Free Agents next year in getzlaf, perry, etc. I can’t see Anaheim being able to keep both. Maybe Chicago saves some cap space for next July 1?

  • August 9, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Anaheim can keep Getzlaf & Perry if/when they trade Bobby Ryan.

  • August 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Hawks should look into signing Jason Arnott. Arnott has a big body that can play either the #2 or #3 center and is very good on faceoffs and penalty killer and has ton of playoff experience including a Stanley Cup Ring. He can skate a lot than Brunette, who looked liked he was skating with a boot attached. His salary will be around 2-3 million and the hawks have the cap room for that.

  • August 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Might as well try it right?

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