Dear Devils fans, shut up.

With the big contracts given to Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Richards in the past few days (both of which are awful deals, ftr.), I’ve been hearing an outcry of fans of the New Jersey Devils who are complaining about these deals being cap circumvention in the same way that Ilya Kovalchuk’s proposed contract was. While it’s no doubt that these two deals are heavily front-loaded, they aren’t the same as Kovalchuk’s contract in the sense that they are not blatantly dodging the salary cap by extending the contract until the player is in his mid-40’s. Here’s a comparison;

Ilya Kovalchuk Proposed Contract: 17 years, $102 mil
Cap Hit: $6 mil cap hit
Age    Salary
27    $6,000,000
28     $6,000,000
29    $11,500,000
30    $11,500,000
31    $11,500,000
32    $11,500,000
33     $11,500,000
34    $10,500,000
35    $8,500,000
36    $6,500,000
37    $3,500,000
38    $750,000
39    $550,000
40    $550,000
41    $550,000
42    $550,000
43    $550,000
96.5% of contract in first 64.7% of contract

Christian Ehrhoff Contract: 10 years, $40 mil
Cap hit: $4 mil
Age    Salary
29    $10,000,000
30    $8,000,0000
31    $4,000,000
32    $4,000,000
33    $4,000,000
34    $4,000,000
35    $3,000,000
36    $1,000,000
37    $1,000,000
38    $1,000,000
92.5% of contact in first 70% of contract

Brad Richards Contact: 9 years, $60 mil
Cap hit: $6,666,667
Age    Salary
31    $12,000,000
32    $12,000,000
33    $9,000,000
34    $8,500,000
35    $8,500,000
36    $7,000,000
37    $1,000,000
38    $1,000,000
39    $1,000,000
95% of contact in first 60% of contract

As I stated earlier, these deals are front-loaded but Kovalchuk’s contract was such a blatant case of cap circumvention because the deal extended until he was 43/44. How many players in the league last year were over 40? Let’s see, there’s Dwayne Roloson, Teemu Selanne, Mark Recchi and I can’t think of anyone else. Was there any reason for the NHL to believe that Kovalchuk would play out the entire 17 years of his contract until he was near his mid-40’s? Absolutely not. He may have retired, left for the KHL or another team by the time the $750k part of his deal set in. He wanted too much money and the only way for the Devils to give him that and stay within the salary cap was to make the last 36% of his contract near the league minimum. Meanwhile, Ehrhoff and Richards will earn the bulk of their money in the early years of their contract but it’s more believable that they will play out the remainder of their deals than Kovalchuk’s. That and they make $3 throughout the last three years of their contracts. Kovalchuk makes $3.5 mil in the least six years of his deal. There’s the difference.

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One Response to Dear Devils fans, shut up.

  1. Ralph says:

    Lidstrom, I think, too.

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