Sunday, September 4, 2005

DiPietro: the next Gretzky?

Apparently Mike Milbury seems to think so, considering the absolutely ridiculous 15-year, $67.5 million contract his Islanders offered the young goaltender, as reported by New York Newsday.

On Friday, the Islanders offered goalie Rick DiPietro a wowing 15-year, $67.5 million contract, according to New York Newsday.

However, the newspaper claims the offer never got past the negotiation stage because of astronomical insurance premiums, most of which would have to be borne by DiPietro. The NHL insures only up to five years on a contract; the rest is up to the player.

"Oh, man, it was an exciting offer," DiPietro told Newsday. "And it would have put me where I want to be for 15 years.

"We were ready to (accept it)," DiPietro said. "It's kind of disappointing we couldn't, but it felt good to know they - Charles [Wang] and Mike [Milbury] - were ready to make that kind of commitment."

The paper suggests a more conventional deal would have a term of three to five years.

And really, everyone should consider themselves incredibly fortunate that this didn't pan out. I'm actually shocked by the level of enthusiasm being voiced by both camps over this failed deal; on the Islanders side of things, you're overpaying DiPietro at $4.5 mil for the next few years in the hopes that he'll eventually become a player who's worth the money (though I do think the guy is a blue-chip prospect, there are many different shades of blue, and I just don't see him as a future Patrick Roy or Martin Brodeur... more like a future Sean Burke or Bill Ranford: dependable, good for the starting role on a middling team, but far from elite). And that said, it's entirely possible that DiPietro won't pan out at all, making him overpaid right now and later on, as well as next to impossible to trade. The Isles' only option would have been buyout. In fact, a buyout would almost be guaranteed by a deal this long. Dumb.

On DiPietro's end, how could he possibly think it would to advantageous to take himself out of the market for the entirety of his hockey career (especially considering how much things could change in that time, with the current CBA expires in only six years)? And Jesus, does he really want to spend the rest of his life playing for the Islanders? One would think it would be pretty hard to get excited about the long term of a club whose top prospect is Petteri Nokelainen, according to the most recent Hockey's Future evaluation.


mike w said...

Yeah, it's beyond dumb.

The NHL told us this lockout was about cost certainty, namely that players salaries were too high. Then within weeks of the new CBA every team basically spends the same as they ever did, if not more, and free agents are offered more than they're worth. What a wonderful reason for killing a season!

What's interesting is all of next year's free agent superstars have been locked up to long term contracts. That, at least, shows that most GMs are fairly prescient about their core players. What the hell is the New York Rangers gonna do now?

Also, hello Chris.

Chris! said...

Hey Mike! Yeah, the GMs are playing it smart (if by "smart" you mean "crazily") and locking up everyone who's at some point in the prime of their career to the longest possible deal--which I suppose *is* a form of cost certainty.

But, yes, despite all the talk about it over the past couple of months, I still don't understand how the New NHL is going to make a franchise that was losing money with a $28 million team any more profitable with a $35 million team. Doesn't it still all come down to ticket prices and seat sales in the end? Pronger or no Pronger, the Oilers can still only fit 16,000 and change into Rexall--unless they start selling seats in peoples' laps for half price--and with no announcement regarding ticket price increases having yet come, where is the new revenue making all this spendy-spendy make sense? Are people going to buy twice as many jerseys now or something?

I totally don't get it. But I'm also pretty hungover. And now late for work. Bye!

Long way to the top... said...

I seem to recall that the Oilers lowered certain ticket prices, but I'm not sure. Perhaps it was the lap thing that Chris mentioned. I still get a kick out of people mentioning "casual fans." What's a casual fan in Edmonton? A guy who throws his sweater over his shoulder and yells up the stairs, "Honey, I think I'll stroll down to the crime-infested part of town to check out that thing that everybody else in this city talks about all the time. Shouldn't be late."

I think the extra revenue is probably two-plus playoff games and I don't know, maybe window flags.

BTW - Who knows Rick Dipietro might be on Mt. Rushmore by the 2020-21 season.

-- Randy