Warning: Hockey article ahead. See you later, John.
So Rick DiPietro signed a 15 year $67.5 million contract with the
Islanders the other day. This means he’s getting $4.5 million per year until 2021.
There is even a clause in there that says that if he gets injured (hockey-related
injury) and has to retire, he still gets paid. If he decides to retire for any
other reason, the deal is null and void, but why would he? Great deal for
Rick, but why in hell would the Islanders do this? He’s now on contract until
he’s 40, and very few NHL goalies are still playing, let alone
competitive, at age 40. If he doesn’t pan out as a top level goalie, you’re still
paying him that whole time, since this contract makes him untradeable. No other
team would want to take that contract on — especially if the Islanders want
to trade him because he didn’t pan out.
You could argue that DiPietro might still be a competitive goalie in 10 years
when he’s 35, which may be true, so maybe the Islanders are thinking of it
as a 10-year deal “amortized” over 15 years. If he happens to play the last
5 years as well, then that’s a bonus for them. Looking at it that way, he’s
getting $6.75 million per year for 10 years (paid out over 15). The highest
paid goalie in the league, Nikolai Khabibulin, currently makes $6.75 million per
year (coincidence?). Is DiPietro the same caliber goalie as Khabibulin? No, so
this way of thinking doesn’t make much sense either.
Granted, the $4.5 million a year is not a huge amount by NHL standards,
so if the cap goes down, it shouldn’t affect them too much (it’s not like it’s
A-Rod’s “$250 million over 10 years” albatross), but I think it’s still
a big risk for the Islanders to take on an unproven goalie.
Update: A-Rod’s contract is actually $252 million over 10 years, but hey, what’s another $2 million?