Summer of the six-year deal
This summer teams are doling out long-term contracts like candy on Halloween. Call it a product of the new CBA. Players obtain unrestricted free agency sooner, and the cap makes it easier to steal RFAs via offer sheet. Although Kevin Lowe will eventually run out of compensation picks.
The magic number seems to be six-years, which puts some of the recently signed RFAs under contract past their UFA eligibility. Here's a run down of the summer's 6+ year deals:
- Scott Hartnell PHI $25.2M (resigned before UFA deadline)
- Nathan Horton FLA $24M RFA
- Milan Michalek SAN $26M (contract extension, was a 2009 RFA)
- Derek Roy BUF $24M RFA
- Stephen Weiss FLA $18.6M RFA
- Ryan Whitney PIT $24M RFA
- Dainius Zubrus NJD $20.4M UFA
- Scott Gomez NYR $51.5M UFA
- Thomas Vanek BUF $50M RFA
- Daniel Briere PHI $52M UFA
The fear has been that the salary cap will make it hard to build a dynasty. Once players win the Cup, their asking price generally goes up and it's impossible to keep the team together.
Savvy GMs are tying up their best assets early and offering young UFAs long term deals. Teams wanting to make a serious run for the Cup aren't putting all their eggs in the current season's basket. They're giving themselves a few kicks at the bucket by thinking about not only today's payroll but five years from now as well.
Maybe we'll witness another dynasty. Or at least the first back-to-back Stanley Cup winner since the 97-98 Red Wings.