I read the Ryan Getzlaf contract extension news yesterday and, unlike many times when I’ve joked about such a problem, I actually thought the details contained in that first tweet about it were the result of a typographical error.
Granted, Getzlaf is having a phenomenal year as a 27-year-old with nine goals and 18 assists in just 22 games, and has been an elite forward in the league since his third season (save for a bit of a hiccup last year thanks to his shooting at literally half his career percentage). But at the same time, an average of $8.25 million a season for the next EIGHT years? That is a pretty sizable raise from his current cap hit of $5.325 million and, I don’t think, all that reasonable. Again, the guy is 27 years old. Now he’s signed until he’s 35. The odds that he can put up the kind of numbers he’s putting up this year in even half those next eight seasons seems rather low.
But moreover, I wonder what this means for everyone else on the Ducks. I’m pretty sure it means Teemu Selanne isn’t coming back. I’m also fairly sure it means either Corey Perry isn’t getting re-signed or Bobby Ryan is getting traded in the offseason or both.
Why it’s such a weird move is that the Ducks are obviously not going to start paying everyone. They’re not a cap ceiling team, falling about $15 million short of the limit this year, so to give one player that much money — about one-eighth of next year’s cap, which you’ll remember is going to fall, and about 20 percent(!) of what they have committed to the 15 players currently under contract — seems a little crazy. Especially because that player is Ryan Getzlaf. That’s Eric Staal money, and while I’d put him on roughly the same level as Eric Staal in terms of quality across the league, Eric Staal is also dramatically, almost hysterically overpaid; he shouldn’t be the fourth-highest cap hit in the league, because that’s insane.
Evgeni Malkin’s contract is up after next season. Think he looks at the Getzlaf contract and does the finger thing for money at Ray Shero? Because I sure do. He has four (soon to be five) seasons better on a points-per-game basis than anything Getzlaf produced before this year. The Penguins better be ready to fill Mario Lemieux’s pool with money for Geno to swim in.
While the ink was still wet on that contract, someone said this is another case of the NHL’s middle class disappearing, and maybe all that is true. But it seems more likely that this is just a case of a team signing a dumbass contract that doesn’t make any sense. It seems more like what happens when a team that has the ability to overpay their stars does so. This is a deal that affects no one but the best players on their own teams. It matters for Malkin. It matters for Tom Vanek, whose deal is up after next season as well. But those guys were going to get roughly this kind of money regardless of whether Getzlaf signed for $8.25 million or $1.25 million.
It doesn’t matter to the NHL’s rank and file because the Ducks were never going to spend beyond Getzlaf and their other stars anyway. That’s why no one ever complains or even talks about how bad Staal’s deal is: because no one besides the Hurricanes has to care about it. It plays no role in the market because everyone knows it’s ridiculous, and it gets filed away in their minds as such. It’ll be the same with this Getzlaf deal.
With that having been said, $8.25 million a year to Ryan Getzlaf is a pretty bad contract.
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