Over the past couple days there has been information coming out about what Connor McDavid’s new contract will look like. According to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, that number looks to be coming in around $13-13.25 million over eight years.
The first thing we’re going to get out of the way is the obvious fact that this is a lot of cake for only one player. At $13.25 million, Connor’s contract would be valued at 17.6% of the cap which is definitely high but, at the same time, we still don’t know what NEXT year’s cap will look like. Is it unreasonable to assume that adding Vegas into the mix will increase league revenues and raise next year’s cap, bringing down the overall percentage of McDavid’s deal? I don’t think so. Hell, this year’s cap was supposed to be flat but it still managed to go up just under 3%.
The fact that the Oilers were able to get Connor to be open to an eight-year contract is a huge win for the organization. There was plenty of talk about him taking five years which would have allowed him to walk away for nothing if he chose to do so, so getting him locked in at eight years makes a huge difference. Think about it this way, if Connor had signed a five-year contract for similar money then how much would he have looked for after those five years? It’s not crazy to think that he’d demand another raise after five years, right?
From where I blog, Connor McDavid will be worth every penny of this deal.
APPLES TO APPLES
While Connor’s contract will set a new record for the NHL in terms of dollars spent on a single season, it’s actually more in line with what other league superstars make than you may think. It’s also important to compare apples to apples when looking at these contracts. For that purpose, I’m going to look at what a few fellow superstars signed for and what that meant for the cap at the time of the signing:
- When Crosby signed his second contract in 2007 for $8.7 million/year, that accounted for 17.3% of the cap at the time of signing (Cap: $50.3 million). Will the cap jump as much as it did for the first year of Sid’s deal? Probably not, but I seriously doubt that it won’t move at all.
- The contract that Alex Ovechkin signed in January of 2009 was for 19% of that year’s cap (the cap went up the following season, bringing that percentage down, but at the time of signing it was 19%). The 2008/09 cap — when he signed his deal — was $56.7 million.
- BONUS FACT! Brad Richards signed a new five-year, $7.8 million contract for the 2006/07 season, which accounted for 18% of the cap ($44 million).
My point is that you’re not going to get a Rolls Royce on Ford Escort pricing no matter how hard you try. If you want the best player on earth, you’re going to have to pay for it and the Oilers are going to do just that when it comes to Connor. Actually, it’s pretty funny to think that the Oilers are actually getting a better relative deal on McDavid than the Lightning got on Brad Richards. Think about that for a minute without laughing. The biggest problem the Oilers are going to have isn’t Connor’s contract, it’s going to be finding valuable guys that can play beside him that won’t break the bank in the process.
With this contract being eight years long, McDavid is committing four years of unrestricted free agency to Edmonton. A nightmare scenario for the Oilers would be a four-year deal at the max — which is 20% of the upper limit, or, $15 million annually right now — that takes him right to free agency. We can’t predict that the cap will explode the same way it did a decade ago, but it will certainly continue to rise over this eight year deal.
WHAT ABOUT THE CAP?
To me, the scariest part about Connor’s deal isn’t what McDavid actually signs for but rather what Leon is going to get. All along I’ve thought that Draisaitl was going to fall somewhere around the Tarasenko range ($7.5 million per) but now I’m not so sure. If Connor is going to get $13.25 does that mean Draisaitl’s agent will try to push his client closer to eight figures? The Oilers had better hope not.
When Toews and Kane signed their new deals on July 9th, 2014, they accounted for nearly 30% of the salary cap (at that time), which could be eclipsed by Edmonton if they’re not careful. To get there, Draisaitl’s new deal would have to come in at $9.3 million which I think we can agree is probably a little bit high for what he’s likely to get, but you never know. Regardless of what actually happens, the Oilers are going to need a few ‘6’s dressed up as ‘9’s if they’re going to make this work.
But seriously, how could you be fine with Milan Lucic and Kris Russell making a combined $10 million when a potential top-5 player of all-time makes $13.5 million? None of those other free agents the Oilers have signed took a discount, why should the generational talent do so? Also, don’t forget about the NHLPA. What happens to all of the players in the league if the league’s MVP takes a discount, ultimately driving everyone’s value down?
We’re going to have Connor McDavid, the best player in the world, signed for eight years. This is a good thing.
WHAT SAY YOU?
$13M would be $17.3% of the 2017-18 cap ceiling. That's the same cap percentage as Sidney Crosby's $8.7M contract signed in 2007. https://t.co/4dG2tl6FTh— NHLNumbers (@NHLnumbers) June 27, 2017
At the end of the day, the Oilers really only had two options — sign Connor to what he’s worth or risk losing him when the team control years ran out. Is $13.25 million per year over eight years a good deal to you? I’d argue that spending 17.6% of the cap on a guy that was in on 41% of the offence makes a world of sense to me, but I want to know what you think. What say you, Nation?