Everyone has seen it. You are having a debate, whether with your buddies, or within your online community when someone argues that "so-and-so's contract is ridiculous and is killing the team." You try desperately to argue on behalf of the player, the term, and the dollars of the deal, but to no avail. What then? Who decides if a contract is "good" or "bad?"
Fortunately, you have Hockey Wilderness to help you settle the debate, and as you know, we are never, ever wrong. We'll start with the forward ranks.
Make the jump, help us hash this out.
All salary figures from CapGeek.com. (Where else?)
#15 / Left Wing / Minnesota Wild
Aug 24, 1973
Cap Hit: $2.333 million
Years Remaining: 1 year.
Comparables: Alexandre Burrows: 67 points($2 million), Jussi Jokinen: 65 points ($1.7 million), Wojtek Wolski: 65 points ($3.8 million), Kristian Huselius 63 points ($4.75 million)
Good or Bad: Good contract. When HWSRN let Bruno walk and go to Colorado, it was because there were doubts about Brunette's ability to continue to put points on the board. Two years into the deal that brought Bruno back, and he's still doing just that. 61 points from cleaning up the garbage on the top line is pretty good. The $2.333 million is a fairly standard deal in the NHL these days, with seemingly more and more players signed to that all important three year, $7 million deal. I can't think of any reason why Bruno is not worth the money he makes, so we'll just leave it at that.
#48 / Right Wing / Minnesota Wild
May 24, 1987
Cap Hit:$2.5 million
Years Remaining: 2
Comparables: It's difficult to judge who to compare him to. Do we compare him to guys who had the same number of points, or do we compare him to how many points he would have had with the Wild if here all season? For simplicity, we will use those who had equal number of points.
Paul Karyia: 43 points ($6 million), Jamie Benn: 41 points ($821.6K), Jason Blake: 41 points ($4 million)
Good or Bad: This is a very good contract. Even with the increase in pay, Lats is still affordable for his production. We have yet to see what he is capable of, and this contract makes him prove it. It ends one year short of UFA status, allowing for both sides to review in two years and decide if it was all a fluke, or if Lats is for real. Judging by the cap hits for the guys in front of him in the standings, $2.5 million is a steal.
#12 / Right Wing / Minnesota Wild
Apr 17, 1982
Cap Hit: $2.333 million
Years Remaining: 1
Comparables: Taking a different tactic with Kobasew, this past season was lost to injury. Using past performance, he is a 40 point guy. So, his comparables are the same Lats'.
Good or Bad: Right now, this contract looks horrible. 42 games, only 14 points. Kobasew was brought in to be a replacement for Bouchard, but ended up joining him in the press box. That said, his contract is the second of what we will find is many $2.333 million deals, and it's not a bad deal. If Kobasew could have stayed healthy, he likely would have found a place on the top two lines, which may have helped with points. A healthy Chuck Kobasew and this is a good contract. Injured, playing only 42 games, this one hurts.
#0 / Left Wing / Minnesota Wild
Feb 14, 1983
Cap Hit: $1.4 million
Year Remaining: 3
Comparables: Milan Lucic: 20 points, 44 PIMs ($4.083 million), Travis Moen 19 points, 57 PIMs, $1.5 million, Ethan Moreau 18 points, 62 PIMs ($2 million)
Good or Bad: Good deal. Scott Reynolds at The Copper and Blue called this "a pretty bad deal." I'm not sure what he bases that on, since his comparables are fairly close, save for Lucic (who is grossly overpaid). Fourth line player aside, he is a hockey player. He is not a standard fourth line guy. He is tough, gritty, and can score. This is not a bad deal, this is a rather fair deal, which makes it a good deal.
All in all, the Wild left wingers have decent contracts. No one is over paid, no one seemingly underpaid. We will see where it leads in the overall picture as we finish out the team, but right now, none of the left wingers are out of whack with salary.
The problem I see is that if Lats cannot turn into a pure goal scorer, the Wild have no finishers in this group, as we will find with the other groups as well. No one gets paid the big money, because the Wild don't have anyone who deserves the big money. Left wing is a source of strength in the NHL (with right handed shots playing left wing, they are also abundant). The Wild do not share in that strength.
What say you, Wilderness? What is your take on the contracts above? Fair? Good? Bad? Let us know in the comments.