Ovechkin Signing Could Doom Capitals

Alexander Ovechkin’s new deal is an example of idiocy mixed with insanity. 

A quick look at non-professional sports contracts teaches us a simple concept: long-term contracts are not the ideal way to run a business.  Offering an employee more job security than the going rate requires only pays if it saves a corporation time, effort, and money.

Would you call giving out the biggest deal in your sport’s history saving money?  Unless hockey’s economic picture changes focus and its cap doubles within a year or two, I’m going to say no.

Consequently, don’t be surprised if the 13 year, $124 million contract the Caps just gave their young superstar, Alexander Ovechkin, cripples them like a cheap shot from Ulf Samuelsson in the not-too-distant future.

Remember Cam Neely?  He was everything you could want in a winger: a dominant physical force who produced offensively and dropped the gloves when called for.  Alex Ovechkin is the closest thing we’ve got to Cam Neely in the modern game, so because of his exciting and blue collar style of play, he’s one of my favorite players.  Having him on the Bruins would have been a dream come true.  But not even I, a desperate Bruins fan craving a superstar power forward worse than an NBA groupie, would EVER have wanted him for anywhere near that many years or that much money.

Cam Neely could do it all, including pummel cheap-shot artist, career-ruining Penguins such as Ulf Samuelsson.

Cam Neely was great, but if you’ll look back in time, he had to retire from the game at only 30 years old.  While his bruising style of play was entertaining and effective, it contributed heavily to his inability to stay on the ice–he never played more than 76 games in any season and his career average was much, much lower at only 55.8.

Alexander The Great is currently 22-years-old.  When he’s 30 the Capitals will still be on the hook for almost $10 million a year for another 5 seasons.  While Ovechkin is great now, if he’s anything less than stellar for at least 10 more durable years, the Capitals will be dead.  They’ll be the New York Knicks of hockey–a team that’s wasted more dead presidents than the CIA.


Alexander Ovechkin just helped make his main rival a very happy and soon-to-be extremely rich man.

I can’t even imagine the insane deals Sidney Crosby and friends will get when their time comes to re-up.

You would think a sport that has fallen off the American radar and is only now starting to recover from nearly complete economic failure just a few years ago would be a little smarter with its money, but then again, if the people who run hockey knew what they were doing, would they ever have locked-out their players in the first place?


3 Responses to Ovechkin Signing Could Doom Capitals

  1. Bill Thomas says:

    Yea, the Capitals obviously wanted to lock this guy up for a long time but there is a great deal of risk involved. I would have been happy with a five year deal but Caps management wanted to put the issue to rest. It could however also work out to be a great deal if he’s able to perform at his current level for years to come, as the salary cap will continue to rise, and $11 million for a franchise player like Ovechkin five years from now may not seem like a high price. If I’m not mistaken, the Caps were paying Jagr around that much and got far less in return.

  2. PO says:

    Crosby already re-upped for $8.7 mil per year and would never cripple his franchise with a cap hit like that… he lefted enough money for guys like Malkin and Staal and Fleury to get theirs while at the same time satisfying the NHLPA by getting fair market value (much like when Mario was an owner/player and paid himself around $6 mil per year to satisfy the NHLPA so clubs couldnt pull the “mario makes this and you are not better than mario” card)… maybe instead of crippling his team with a 10 mil cap hit he should have learned english a little better and he could cash in on endorsements like Sid does, making his base salary his play money.

  3. DC_Mike says:

    PO, your point makes no sense. So Sid signs for $8.7m and that leaves enough money for other guys, but Alex signs for $9m and that precludes the Caps from signing other guys? Where’s the logic? Especially when you consider that Washington has been barely at the salary floor for a while.

    As for fair market value, there was certainly someone willing to pay him this amount as a free agent, for easily 6 years. But at that point, he’s in his late 20s, in his prime, when he becomes a free agent again. And then, the free agent signing hit will be even greater, which means one of two things – he’s going to be way more expensive to re-sign, or you let him walk.

    Either way – signing him like they did, or riskign he’ll walk – you face a tremendous question. Alex is a once-in-a-lifetime type of talent. I really believe that. Sid the Kid is great at his game as well, they are different styles of players, despite the media’s desperate attempt to compare them. For pure goal scoring, is there anyone you’d rather have on your team than Alex?

    From an economic standpoint, this is what the DC market needed. The guy is loved here, and the longer he’s around, the more commitment the team shows to him, the more people will be in the seats. People here are very skeptical of hockey after watching this team struggle through several horrible years. But showing we are prepared to keep Alex for the long-term builds a foundation that hopefully will turn fan support, and the on-ice product, around.

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