Gut Feelings on the Kovalchuk SigningShareThis
Ilya Kovalchuk’s deal has been reported at 19 kabillion dollars over 106 years, or something like that. Maybe it was $102 million over 17 years, I forget.
The point is, he got a truckload of money on a heavily front-loaded contract that includes him making the league minimum in years 2022-2027, or as its otherwise known, jamming the CBA directly up the league’s ass. If he ever did play those years out, which he won’t, those years would have to be adjusted to the then-league-minimum.
Here’s the contract details from Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov:
“Kovalchuk agreed to a staggering 17-year, $102 million deal with the team. According to the AP, the high-scoring left wing will earn $6 million each of the next two seasons, $11.5 million for the following five seasons, $10.5 million in the 2017-18 season, $8.5 million for the 2018-19 season, $6.5 million in 2019-20, $3.5 million in 2020-21, $750,000 the following season, and $550,000 for the final five years of the unprecedented deal.”
Mmmm, I bet that $8.5 and $6.5 when he’s 36 and 37 are gonna taste delicious. Regardless, it still works out to an average cap hit of $6 million, which will be a bar-goon and a half for a guy who’s expected to score 40 or 50 again next year.
So! To my thoughts….
Even though something about if feels… I dunno… immature(?), it’s tough to argue with the whole “well they’re doing it, so why can’t we?” Fair point. The Wings did it with Zetterberg and Franzen. The Flyers did it with Pronger. The Hawks did it with Hossa and so on and so on.
I’m not gonna claim to be up on the CBA. Really, there’s about a dozen people in the world who can make that claim uncontested, and half of them are probably lying. That’s the tough part about analyzing contracts – half the time when they come out, some random, actually-informed guy writes something the rest of us idiots had know idea about like “well actually, in contracts that extend over nine years the cap hit in the fourth year is quintupled” (*PS, that’s not the case, duh) ….or some other valuable tidbit, and all the bloggers that have just been rehashing other people’s opinions look like fools.
So you get gut feelings from me: My gut feeling is, New Jersey (and a few of the other long-ass-contract giving teams) will regret what they’ve done. It’s partly a karma thing (for the whole “get as close to cheating without actually doing it” thing – I mean, you COULD cut across the net in NHL ’93 and get the goalie stuck on the post, but… c’mon), but it also seems like a show of gross disregard for the things we can’t control in life, and for the fact that humans just aren’t all that predictable. I like gambling and all, but aren’t GM’s supposed to be the ones making safe bets?
If Ilya is all about the money, as he’s demonstrated throughout this whole team-picking process, who’s to say he doesn’t just shut it down in the gym now that he’s PAID and slowly work his way down to “mediocre NHLer” status? It’s unlikely, but for people writing things like “now he can show us that he really wants to win, really wants to help a team succeed in the post-season etc.” (Hi Wysh!)….what if he doesn’t want that? It’s a real possibility.
He might. I’m just sayin’, it’s pretty hard to label this decision great when it’s basically akin to playing blackjack, making your biggest bet of the night, and doubling down on your ten against the dealers four. You could and should win big, but man, if this backfires, it REALLY backfires.
The sad insight I can give you as someone who played the game is that not everyone has the fans/journalists passion for that Cup. Some guys are just straight up good, born with it, and unfortunately, don’t care as much as you’d like to think. There were plenty of nights in my career where I couldn’t explain it, I just wasn’t feelin’ it – and that’s real talk man. I wish I had that burning fire some people do (Crosby), but there are some people who just…. don’t (and Devils fans don’t want to someday see this bracket filled with “Kovalchuk”).
And remember my Twitter rants? I like Ilya Kovalchuk as a player. The guy is a star.
The point is, 17 years? I mean, who the eff knows, right? Anything could happen in that time. He could help them succeed for years to come, absolutely. He’ll be a great attribute for the Devils - I badly wanted to see the Islanders land him. But that’s the selfish fan that wants entertainment in me talking, not the meticulous, responsible GM that lurks in me and realizes that at some point, you have to be responsible.
I have no idea if it’s a good signing. None. But who among us does? I bet Lou Lamoriello is pooping his pants. I just can’t fathom how much fans in NJ will bitch about this signing in like, 2019 if the Devils don’t win a cup before then. If they do, you can tolerate a few years of not-being-worth-six-million (Elias).
It’s like the Hawks, Hossa and crew – most fans are sad to see some players leave, but they still think it was worth winning a Cup. The real New Jersey “Situation” is that the Cup has become a need (to validate this), not a goal. As with most deals, we’ll judge it when it’s all over, but as I’ve been implying…. it just feels icky.
So, there ya go Devils fans – the Stanley Cup has become your expectation. And that’s never a bad thing.
As an Islander fan, frankly, I envy your new focus.