Thursday, September 3, 2009

Stability is nice but...

...signing these mammoth contracts seems kind of unwise.

Yesterday Roberto Luongo signed a 12-year contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks. When the 12 years is up -- he'll be 43-years-old.

There are upsides to the long contract. You're guarenteed a world-class player for the forseeable future, letting the General Manager plan and build around him. In the end, it's probably a financial win for the Canucks because as the salary cap moves upward so do salaries, and you've got him locked into that one. He's your captain. You're giving the fans a franchise player to get behind... etc. etc.

But then there's a number of reasons why long contracts are a pain...

1. On top of the long contract you gave him a No Trade Clause. So if the team ever needs to move him, they're at his mercy. We saw how well that went with Mats Sundin.

2. Even if he agrees to be moved, he's got a giant contract dangling behind him. Most teams don't want to commit to those giant contracts for a player they haven't seen fit into the dressing room yet. Chemistry is a big part of the team. I'm not saying that Roberto Luongo wouldn't fit into a dressing room, but there's a lot of factors at play, and that long contract is certainly a deterrant.

3. What if he gets injured, and is just not as good as he used to be. If he has a career-ending injury he gets paid out by player insurance... but what if it's an injury that just makes him not as mobile, not as quick, but he still plays... eventually riding the bench more and more... or missing chunks of games here and there but not entire seasons... while you're still paying him. That sounds like fun.

4. And finally, there's just a lot of unforseeable things that a team will encounter. Like... What if suddenly there's a new coach in town and said coach and Luongo hate each other (see: Ottawa Senators, Dany Heatley).

I'm still not quite sure whether these contracts are a great idea.

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