More on DiPietro

Spector defends the notion of long term deals, if not DiPietro’s exactly.

Would it be a stretch to assume the Capitals could make a ten-year, $80 million contract offer to Ovechkin to lock him up long term through his playing prime? Would it be unreasonable to believe Ovechkin wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to earn $8 million US per season for the next decade, thus securing his financial future?

I’ll bet more than a few Capitals fans would love to hear that deal announced today, and more than a few hockey sages would commend the club for doing so.

Don’ t expect the DiPietro contract to be used as a comparable throughout the league, but don’t be surprised if teams with genuine young superstars consider much longer deals to retain those players if it makes sense under their respective salary caps .

It’s possible the fan reaction would be better, but that doesn’t make it a better deal. I understand the impulse to triple-check criticisms on an easy target like the Islanders/Wang, because it can be too easy to lazily criticize people with a reputation for doing strange things.

Signing Ovechkin for 10 years would be incredibly stupid unless you could justify it as a way of paying him extra for now. No player–ever, Gretzky included–can be safely given this length of a contract in the NHL. Injuries are just too prevalent. As such, it’s difficult to get insurance on contracts like this. Second, most players go through several peaks and valleys of performance in their careers. The good GM signs players in a valley, knowing which ones will peak again.

Ovechkin also has yet to show us how he will mature emotionally, and whether he’s good enough of a player to lead the team to contention. Good players naturally start to rust in a losing environment.

Say whatever you want, but I just can’t agree with signing any player to more than about 5 years when they’re young. Signing older players past their prime to long term deals may just be the cost of doing business, and you at least have some record to work with. Ovechkin and DiPietro aren’t the counterexamples to Yashin.

If I had to think of anyone, it would be a guy like Sergei Brylin. Giving a utility player like him a 10 year deal for, say, $20M in 1998 would have made sense.