Thanks to Roberto Luongo, Vincent Lecavalier, Ilya Bryzgalov, and Rick DiPietro, the past week of NHL transactions will probably be remembered as the Revenge of the Long-Term Contracts. With Luongo trapped in Vancouver and the other three players receiving buyouts that total almost $80 million, teams that tried to beat the system with extended deals are starting to feel some serious pain.
After years of teams signing players to ridiculously long-term deals, often front-loading them to exploit a salary-cap loophole, the NHL moved to put a stop to the practice in the last CBA by limiting contracts to a maximum of eight years. But the contracts signed under the old CBA still remain, and many of them don’t look good.
So I thought it would be a good idea to go through the full list of contracts longer than eight years that were signed during the salary-cap era and do a player-by-player breakdown of all [checks CapGeek] 21 of them.
Wait, 21? I’ve got to be honest, that’s way more than I thought there would be. What the hell, NHL owners? This is going to take a while.
[Strongly considers introducing an arbitrary cutoff like “12 years” and going to lunch early.]
[Ah, screw it, let’s do this.]
Here’s a look at each of those 21 contracts of nine years or longer, as we try to answer one question: In hindsight, did any of them actually turn out to be a good idea?
It’s easy to forget that last summer featured some major player transactions in the NHL. Between free agency and an unusually active trade market, plenty of players found new homes. Some of those moves have worked out well. Others not so much. Here are a dozen of the biggest names who switched teams before this season, and an update on the impact they’ve had so far.
Sunday night was the premiere of the 22nd season of The Amazing Race, the round-the-world reality competition on CBS that turns pairs of contestants into far-flung Carmen Sandiegos as they vie for a seven-figure prize. And amid the usual crop of globe-searching souls this time around — the two hot blonde country singers; the nearly identical bespectacled doctors; the mulleted rednecks; the tear-jerking father-son pair — was the duo of Bates and Anthony Battaglia, hockey-playing American brothers.
Bates Battaglia was selected by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the 1994 draft — that's like being a living snapback hat, really — and scored 198 points in a career that included stints in Colorado, Washington, Toronto, and Carolina (where he had his career-best season in 2001-02). His brother Anthony was a college hockey player who has remained in various minor leagues ever since, losing his two front teeth somewhere along the way. With their giant arms, they're intimidating — though compared with the group of Battaglia Brothers from whom they are descended, they're practically teddy bears.
The brothers, longtime Amazing Race enthusiasts, submitted themselves for that most universal of reasons: watching the show, they figured they could do all of that. In the premiere they traveled to Bora Bora, skydived and built sand castles, flirted with the country singers, and (spoiler alert!) finished second overall, despite missing the earlier of two fights out of LAX. Already a good showing, and one that prompted the thought: Which of the other countless hockey relatives out there would make for good reality TV? Let's take a look at these real-life hockey families, and the fake (FOR NOW!) reality shows where they could thrive.
Shortly after the Carolina Hurricanes announced yesterday that they had signed free agent winger Alexander Semin to a one-year, $7 million contract, general manager Jim Rutherford released a statement of welcome to his new player via Twitter.
"We did a lot of research about Alexander," Rutherford wrote. "Discussions about his fit with our team included coaches, players & staff."
So much for Southern hospitality! He went on:
"Alex’s elite skill level & ability to score fill important needs, & we hope a fresh start will serve both him & our team well."
This is a little bit like introducing a new flame to your pals with, "This is Frank. I did a lot of digging, and only a few of those rumors were true. And he's a really good cook, so " But it was hardly surprising that Rutherford would want to make it clear that so much consideration had gone into the acquisition. After all, $7 million is a lot of money, and it's really a lot of money to spend on someone like Alexander Semin, who in his seven years as a Washington Capital emerged as one of the league's most divisive players — as talented to some as he is maddening for others. An Alexander Semin hat trick, the joke goes among Caps fans, is a goal, an assist, and an awful stick penalty (typically hooking). He's become the poster boy for the tired "enigmatic Russian" archetype — exquisitely gifted, enormously lazy; see: Kovalev, Alex — for reasons that contain both a little bit of truth and a lot of bullshit.