The Chicago Blackhawks signed Marian Hossa to a TWELVE YEAR, $62.8 million deal today in what can only be classified as an idiotic contract. It’s not that Hossa is not a great player or that he does not deserve the deal. It’s the length of the contract.
Unlike the NFL and MLB, the NHL (and NBA) has a salary cap, meaning that each team can only spend to a certain, defined amount. For next season, the cap is $56.8 million, a $100,000 increase over the cap last season. Hossa’s contract is worth $5.233 million per year so that means that nearly 10% of the Blackhawks’ money is tied up in Hossa next season. Hossa is just one of twenty plus players that Chicago will have on its roster next season.
Now, that still leaves a large amount of money for Chicago to spend on the rest of their roster. Hossa is a terrific player and he will certainly help the Hawks next season, but next year is not the problem with the contract. Five years from now, what is the cap going to be?
The answer is that no one knows. It could be $70 million or it could be $40 million. If it’s the former, than Hossa’s contract will be a steal. However, if it is the latter, then the Blackhawks are in trouble. Think about it. If the cap drops significantly over the next decade, then the Hawks are going to have significantly less money to use, but Hossa’s contract is still going to be worth $5.233 million. All of a sudden, Hossa takes up %15 or more of the team’s budget and they are not able to put together a competitive roster.
With the salary cap, signing long-term deals is extremely dangerous, but a 12-year contract is just stupid. Add in the fact that Hossa will be FORTY-TWO when his contract is up and this contract has the potential to set the Blackhawks back a decade. The Blackhawks are counting on Hossa being worth 10% of the team’s budget next season. Fine, I believe that is the case. But in 10 years when Hossa is 40 years old and at the end of his career, how much is he going to be worth? With the value of his contract, Hossa could be making an even higher percentage of the team’s budget, but adding much less to the team.
Want to hear an even crazier contract? Listen to this. In 2006, the New York Islanders signed goalie Rick DiPietro to a 15 year, %67.5 million contract. WOW. Sure, DiPietro is a very good goalie and has earned $4.5 million over the last few years, but once again, the salary cap is the issue. No one knows what it will be so is DiPietro going to be worth %4.5 million of the Islanders’ cap when he is 40 years old in 2021? Once again, no one knows. What happens if DiPietro gets worse and can’t stop the puck? The Islanders have locked up all this money in a player who they have no idea what he will be in 10 years. Then, they have him for five years after that. Is DiPietro’s dad the GM of the Islanders?
The Sedin Brothers both signed 5-year, $30.5 million contracts today with Vancouver. The Canucks just put $12.2 million dollars a year over the next five years in to two players. That’s more than 20% of the cap locked up in two guys, neither of whom is an elite player (both very good, neither elite) in the league. Like the Blackhawks and Islanders, the Canucks have significantly hurt themselves by signing the Sedin brothers to long-term deal. Luckily, their deals only set Vancouver back half a decade while Chicago and New York both find themselves with big, long-term contracts that are going to suck up their budget and damage their chances of winning for years to come.