Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Islanders Resign Goalie For 15 Years; Work To Begin On Extending Coach's Contract Through The Century

If any other franchise was involved, I would be convinced that this is a joke, but after the summer that has been on Long Island, I'll pass it along as news.

TSN is reporting that the New York Islanders have signed goaltender Rick DiPietro to a 15-year deal.

The contract, which will run until DiPietro is about 40 - long after most goalies have called it quits, or ceased being useful - will pay the netminer $67.5 million, which works out to an average of $4.5 million per year.

It would be easy to call owner Charles Wang crazy for agreeing to this deal, since he probably is. Think about it for a second; if you have a baby right now, that child will be old enough to drive (give or take a few months) by the time that DiPietro's contract runs out. He's 25 right now, and so far his greatest claim to NHL fame is being the first goalie to be selected first overall in the modern NHL draft. This isn't Sidney Crosby we're talking about; it's a (maybe) slightly above average netminer.

On the other hand, assuming that DiPietro becomes an above average netminer, he'll be signed for $4.5 million annually for the next 10 years or so, which figure to be his best playing years. That will be a bargain for a starting goalie for most of that time. The cap figure becomes dead money in the last five years of the deal, but with inflation, and the cap going up, it could be an insignificant part of the Islanders' financial picture by then. So maybe Wang knows what he's doing...

Oh, who am I kidding? This team is a mess, and it might be time to start talking about having the league step in.

The only thing separating the Islanders from the New York Knicks right now is the Long Island Expressway.


At 11:10 AM, Blogger Avi Schaumberg said...

Kudos to TSN for getting right what the wire services missed.

The CP story reports that "The deal is believed to be the longest in NHL history and second only in major North American pro sports to the $25-million, 25-year deal Magic Johnson signed with the NBA Lakers in 1981."

Wayne Gretzky, however, was signed to a 21-year personal services contract by Peter Pocklington. It's not quite the same as a hockey contract, and it did include provisions for renegotiationg the payments (so his price wasn't fixed), but it should still be considered the record for a hockey deal since that was the key 'personal service' being performed.

Pocklington used a PSC rather than a hockey contract as an additional tool to reduce the risk of losing Gretzky's rights if an incumbent NHL club drafted him before the WHA/NHL deal closed.

Of course the 21-year contract gave Pocklington the greatest scorer of all-time, and the final leverage he needed to secure entry into the NHL, so it made sense.

Securing the services of a currently below-league-average goaltender for a lifetime? That's a little harder to rationalize.

At 1:47 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Yea, its kind of sad to see a once proud franchise like the Islanders being turned into a butt of jokes. I mean seriously Wang and Snow are making Isiah Thomas look like a rational decision making. After all Isiah's fantasy world where egotistical and selfish players will all coexist makes a little more sense in that the players he acquires are actually talented. The Islanders on the other hand have sunk 67 million dollars into an average player. Good lord, what the hell are they thinking?

4.5 million is never going to be the cost of an average goaltender. Christ, if they'd been smart they would have let Dipetro walk and signed Legace for two million and saved themselves some money. Now they're paying a goaltender at least twice his actual worth and he's getting a paycheck for the next fifteen years regardless of how he plays or if he plays at all. He's entirely untradeable and they have huge amounts of money locked up in both he and Yashin.

There are badly managed teams like the Blackhawks, the Blue Jackets and the Bruins. But at least they appear to have some sort of rational motiviations, or are perhaps a bit stingy from time to time. The Islanders have just become batshit crazy and the ecentricities of the team's ownership are damaging the franchises and the league's reputation. Bettman needs to get Wang on some medication or force him to sell the franchise, Wang is going to kill the Long Island market.

At 8:06 AM, Blogger Nathan Muhly said...

This actually makes perfect sense. Once DiPietro retires they will still have him under contract and he can take over as GM.

At 12:30 PM, Blogger Mini Me said...

This really isn't laughable...it is beyond that...it is shocking.


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