(Alternate title: Longing for the days of rational Yashin contracts)
Well, apparently Charles Wang couldn’t stand sharing the “Joke of the Offseason” award with the Florida Panthers, so he went and raised the stakes. Rick Dipietro, who I assume will have his number retired soon, has signed a no-I’m-not-kidding 15-year contract at $4.5 M per year.
Despite the fact that this is entirely Wang’s agenda, I still encourage all readers to devote a night and a bottle of their favorite liquor for an impassioned e-plea to new-GM Garth Snow, who already is the second-shortest-tenured GM in NYI history. Even though this is (and forever will be) Wang’s beast on the isle, Snow still is the GM and should answer for this lunacy or make-like-Lafontaine and resign. Plus he gave out his email address, so he’s fair game.
James Mirtle (who’s a surprisingly strong fantasy drafter, by the way) writes a really good summary and points out that length aside, Dipietro is the wrong guy for a long-term deal. I’m going to take it a step further and just say that I think that goalie’s the wrong position to tie long-term money into.
Yes, goaltending is the single most important position on the ice in hockey, or at least close enough. However, when we talk about cap-limited-budgets, you must consider the marketplace of available talent. There are more than enough quality goaltenders to go around in this league; remember how hard Manny Legace had to work to find a place to play net? Recall how GMs in Buffalo, Anaheim, and San Jose have been trying to give goaltenders away?
Or look at the playoffs last year. Who were the big goaltenders? Cam Ward, Ilya Bryzgalov, Vesa Toskala, Ryan Miller, and (d’oh!) Jussi Markkanen weren’t the highest paid or the most experienced goaltender on their rosters. Goalies are breaking out all over the place, baby!
TSN quotes an eastern GM who I agree with. He points out,
''Let's just say DiPietro takes off and he becomes a star and a top-five goalie and you have to pay him $7 million a year. Let him go to another team if you can't afford him because you can get a pretty damn good goalie at $4 million every year.”Silly Islanders, you’ve tied your own hands for the next fifteen years on a plentiful asset with questionable shelf life.
While this is a bit humorous in that I don’t particularly care about the specific player or the teams, it certainly is a disturbing omen of things to come. This ability for RFAs to gain leverage in holding out will certainly make it more expensive to hold young talent.
A little steep, but not terrible. Maybe if he skated harder I’d throw in another dozen years.