Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Ron MacLean: McDavid is underpaid

Over at Sportsnet, they caught up with Ron MacLean at Smashfest where he gave his take on a range of NHL topics, including Connor McDavid being underpaid.

If there’s one thing that Ron MacLean has seen in his day, it’s a lot of great NHL talent and I’m going to put words in his mouth and guess that Connor McDavid has to rank in the top half of that group even though he’s only played two NHL seasons. When Ron MacLean speaks about Connor McDavid being worth the price of admission—I agree with him. When he talks about our captain being underpaid, I can’t say that I really disagree with him there, either.

From the Sportsnet interview:

“You know me. I’m old school. I still think he’s underpaid. A lot of people will look at me and say, ‘Are you out of your mind? He’s making $100 million!’ He’ll get by on that. He’s content with that, as Gretzky before him was. Wayne wanted to give the money to help build a better team. McDavid got what was coming to him, and he’s obviously worth the price of admission. If the markets were closer to fair, he could get more, but so be it.”

Before I defend this, I want to start off by saying that I know how much money $100 million is—you don’t have to explain it to me. Well, actually, I don’t really know how much $100 million is. I can only begin to imagine what it must be like to have that kind of cake rolling before the time the guy is even 30-years old (I’m 32), but that’s a different story. The fact that Connor didn’t “Joe Thornton” his way down Jasper Ave after signing the contract already means that he’s a greater man than I am. But can you really say he’s underpaid?

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
#NationSims2 Playoff Live Stream Sim: Round 3 - Game 1 – Jets @ Oilers 7pm MT

The max that Connor could have signed for under the current CBA is $15 million per season provided that the cap stays at $75 million, and, after thinking about it, I have to say that I agree with ol’ Ron that Connor is probably underpaid. Frankly, the Oilers are sure as hell lucky that he didn’t demand the max because they would have had a hard time saying no. I mean, what would have been their options? Chiarelli would have had to either sign him to the deal (which would have pissed people off) or trade him after only three years in the organization (which would have pissed even more people off).

Can you imagine how THAT deal would have gone over? It would have been madness. There would have been chaos in the streets. The comments section would have imploded the website. Flamesnation would have been thrilled. That’s a reality that I can’t even begin to think about. *shudders* Is Connor McDavid underpaid? There could be an argument there.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below


Let’s get down to the details you need for the tournament:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
  • When – September 14th, 2017 (Thursday)
  • Where – Cougar Creek Golf Resort
  • How much – $185 per person or $700 per team
  • What – This tournament will be a Texas Scamble style of play
  • Teams – Groups of Four (4)
  • How – Get your tickets here

As always, a portion of all proceeds from your ticket purchase will be donated directly to a local charity. This time we’ve partnered up with the Gregor Foundation to make sure that our kids are at their most handsome.

  • OriginalPouzar

    I’m going to disagree with Ron on this one although I know I’m in the minority.

    Becoming the highest paid player in the league (by AAV) by almost $2M/year does not equate to being “underpaid” to me.

    Yes, he could have held the team hostage and demanded more and the team would likely have had to sign him to a max contract with an AAV of $15M – he could have got more but that doesn’t mean he is “underpaid”.

    In a cap era – having the highest cap hit is not being underpaid – not in the context of the ultimate goal being a Stanley Cup, check that, multiple Stanley Cups.

    I could make more money too – I’ve been courted by numerous other firms over the last number of months – I could make more money by six figures a year – doesn’t mean I’m underpaid and my current income structure.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m content with McDavid’s contract – the 8 year term is sensational and the team paid handsomely to get that 8 year term. The organization and McDavid’s camps did a wonderful PR job leaking the $13M plus number to make the $12M plus number look like a bargain.

    At the end of the day, I get to watch McDavid play for my favorite team night in and night out for a long time – that is awesome and I’m happy!

  • Spaceman Spiff

    If you’ve ever read MacLean’s plodding, disappointing autobiography from a couple of years ago, you probably won’t be surprised by his position. He tends to be quite “pro-player” vis-à-vis salaries. I found that to be quite surprising given that he’s not a former player and, working at the CBC, you would think he’d be expected to toe the line of neutrality.

    I applaud his honesty, but I can’t say I agree with him. I think $12 million is puh-lenty-decent compensation for a man to be playing a boys’ game. I accept that McDavid will generate untold millions for the team and the league, but I don’t know to what extent that should be shared back with him.

    Heck, I didn’t know what a reasonable figure was back when Wayne and Mario were dominating the league and generating profits for it. Back then, two or three million bucks a year seemed like decent coin; certainly fair compensation for the demands of the game, on and off the ice.

    Of course, there are many of us in the Oiler fandom who have long memories of players leaving Edmonton for the money. That we just were able to extend a young superstar with a nine-figure deal is something that none of us would ever have believed in 1991 or 2001. Now we’re being told that they were lucky to have gotten the deal that they did. Perhaps, but it still seems to me that the player’s the luckiest one in all of this.

    • Ryan68

      If you generate massive revenue, you deserve massive money. How much have they made on his name alone? McDavid is worth hundreds of millions if not billions to the league and Katz. He deserves his payday. And before anyone starts talking about themselves in relation to Connor’s money…no one pays to watch you do a damn thing.

  • OilCan2

    I read the linked article; is that why the call him “Jumbo Joe”?

    Connor wants the ultimate team prize (Stanley) and is being the ultimate Captain by signing a “Team Friendly” contract. To be honest he is the best player in the league and is getting paid like it too. I hope someone sends a memo to the Zebra Club so they can call all the lesser players for holding, hacking, interfering, etc. , etc.

  • Jay (not J)

    If Connor was a basketball player he’s be making that hundred million in less than 4 years. If the NHL was an uncapped league he would be anticipating an RFA offer sheet next summer from the East or the South that would be more double than what he just signed.

    • A-Mc

      If the NHL was an uncapped league, then many of us wouldn’t give a damn what Connor makes. The only reason i give two Sharts about the salary number is because it affects what kind of team can be assembled.

      • Spaceman Spiff

        If the NHL was an uncapped league, there might not be a team in Edmonton … or Calgary … or Winnipeg … right now. Let’s remember that as well….

        • Jay (not J)

          I wouldn’t argue against that point one bit. It’s funny though to see all of the excitement about 12.5 m/a when in Major League Baseball 12.5 million dollars might get you a 12 or 13 win starter depending on the year’s FA class. What does the top player in the NFL make in a year? NBA? Connor’s wage is artificially depressed by the NHL and it’s agreement with the PA. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it is because yeah, the Oilers would be gone along with 3 or 4 other Canadian teams, but you can’t look around the major league sports and pretend that a disparity doesn’t exist.

          • Spaceman Spiff

            Although I do think the NHL obviously has a drag on salaries, I also think the numbers that are being doled out aren’t necessarily “artificially depressed,” or at least compared to other leagues. The disparity is there, but I’d argue they’re all naturally occurring.

            It’s hard to compare the leagues because they all have different CBAs, different levels of tolerance for free agency, and different levels of revenue. The MLB is the Wild West. Pretty much unrestricted player movement, mainly due to the fact that the baseball was the first battleground between players and agents. The players won.

            The NBA has a soft cap with a luxury tax. It works quite well for the league because it’s a star-driven league that once gave the NFL a run for its money. But there are plenty of have and have-not teams in the league.

            The NFL, the most profitable sports venture in the history of this planet, has huge revenues, a massive TV deal, a salary cap …AND … unbelievably … unguaranteed contracts. Think about it: An NFL player can get cut anytime … and the minute he does, his contract is null and void. No buyout. No payout. Nothing – just what you earned to that point on the field, and whatever your signing bonus was when you were drafted. Other than their TV deal, that’s the single-biggest reason why the NFL is so profitable. Think about it: The average NFL career is, like, three seasons … and often, it doesn’t even make it that far. And even if the player is signed for, like, five years, if he gets hurt or cut, the owners aren’t on the hook for anything.

            I think the NHL players should be glad they have the CBA they do.

          • Ryan68

            NHL actually pays their players more than the NFL. And NHL has guaranteed contracts. In the NFL you can be cut anytime. Only quarterbacks make 8 figure salaries and much of that isn’t guaranteed. The NFL is great if you’re Brady, if not, not so much.Baseball has wildly more revenues than hockey. The NBA only has to carry half the players, better TV money, and the 1500 most expensive seats to a game don’t exist for hockey.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    Tough break, Connor! You tangled with big Pete and you ended up working for peanuts. Maybe you won’t get taken for a ride on your next contract, kiddo.

  • Nanook

    Underpaid as to what? What I saw was a young man happy to get paid what he is and be quite humble about it. Looks like he asked to take less to leave some money for other players. If he is happy with he is making, and the team is happy with what he is making and so are the fans, then why is he underpaid? At the end of the day, everyone is happy. End of Story.

  • wiseguy

    The cap makes his salary fair. If it was any higher it would make it impossible to reach his team goals of winning the cup. If there was no cap, he would be worth way more. However that was the purpose of the cap and the max salary, to keep the superstars spread out throughout the league. Remember how we used to hate the NYR in the 90’s because they just kept stockpiling stars by signing UFAs?

  • Spydyr

    I would like to see McDavid be the Stevie Y of the Oilers. The one player who starts and finishes his entire playing career with one organization. The Oilers have never had such a player. McDavid being their first would be fantastic.

  • Ryan68

    I think the front loading of the contract had something to do with it as well. $86M in bonuses. That’s got to offset the $2.5M he left on the table. I don’t care how much of Katz’s money Connor got. The kid’s going to generate a billion dollars before he’s done. He deserves big money.