Last night NHL superstar Alexander Ovechkin signed a 13-year, $124 million contract extension. This is the second recent super-long deal, after Rick Dipietro’s 15-year deal.
From the owner’s perspective, I guess they’re gambling that salaries will continue to rise–that $10 million for a superstar will look like a sweet deal in 2013. They may be right, but I think there are too many unknowns:
- The league isn’t exactly financially stable–half the teams are operating at a loss this season. Salaries may not rise that much.
- In terms of production, Ovechkin may cool off long before he hits the end of the deal at age 35.
- What if there’s some kind of Bertuzzi-esque incident (or, you know, he sleeps with the team captain’s wife) that sours the team and fans on Ovechkin in Washington? Other teams may be very reluctant to take on that baggage and an eight or 10 year contract.
But, then, what do I know? I don’t own an NHL franchise. And Ovechkin is the most exciting player in the league at the moment (though he has had the benefit of playing the league’s weakest teams a lot). So if I’m a Caps fan, I’m happy.
I’ve only seen him play live once, but he reminded me so much of Pavel Bure–the outstanding speed, the fearlessness and the huge, boyish joy at scoring.
Here’s the inevitable, gratuitous highlight video with goofy music:
Mike Richards also signed a 12-year deal worth close to $70 million with the Flyers. So 3 does make for a trend.
I wonder how much of the salary the teams are actually on the hook for. I bet they have all kinds of clauses to get out of paying – for injuries, disabilities, personal conducts, etc.
With Ovechkin in particular, I think his body will wear out on him way before 2023, just like Bure. The fearlessness is a wonder to behold but to have Shanahan-like longevity you have to pick your spots.
Darren: were you a good Hockey player at your peak? What position did you play?
Brian: Hey, I still haven’t hit my peak. Heh. Nope, I wasn’t very sporty growing up. Plus, I preferred fairer weather sports, like baseball.
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