Would it be better for the NHL than most of star players are traded?
Photo: Darryl Dyck, The canadian Press
The player of the Edmonton Oilers, Connor McDavid
Wednesday, the rumors of a contract extension of eight seasons of Connor McDavid with the Edmonton Oilers began to circulate. On the same day, another star of the NBA has changed teams.
Unlike the NBA, where star players, such as the new guard of the Houston Rockets Chris Paul, often changing address, there is virtually no movement among the key players of the NHL, even on the free agent market. The biggest name available for the 1st of July is that of a defender to an offensive that did not take part as a all-star game.
McDavid should not become a free agent before 2026 according to the terms announced Wednesday. Sidney Crosby, the best player of the past 10 years in the circuit Bettman, still has eight years remaining on his pact of 12 seasons, signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He would, therefore, autonomy in 2025, when he will be 38 years old.
The clubs of the NHL have the habit of quickly offer long-term contracts to young star players like Crosby and McDavid, so that they do not take advantage of the full autonomy. For the players, they gain security and a long term contract.
The assistant commissioner of the NHL, Bill Daly, has said that the league had “absolutely no interest” to see more movement among the stars of the circuit. Daly admits that it is good to develop a certain enthusiasm, but he believes that it is not the best business model for the teams and the supporters, in relation to the stability.
The NHL would certainly have had difficulty to survive in some of its markets if its stars were changing their addresses more often. The league, in its current form, also has much more parity than the NBA, where only a handful of teams can really aspire to the championship.
But the league would be better if his star players were going through three or four markets in the course of their career ? Imagine the excitement created if Crosby, McDavid, or Alexander Ovechkin had become independent during their best years. This excitement was palpable last summer, while Steven Stamkos has almost taken advantage of the full autonomy.
In the NBA, there are superstars available each summer.
Paul, possibly the best guard of his generation, will be the third team with the Rockets. Last summer, Kevin Durant left the Thunder of Oklahoma City for the Warriors of Golden State and, two years ago, LeBron James left the Miami Heat to join the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The player standalone, which might be the most coveted in the NHL this summer is Kevin Shattenkirk, defender offensive of 28 years. There is really no other star players on the market, with the exception of the free agent with compensation, which the teams do not offer.
Contracts to be shorter in the NBA — maximum five years — so the stars are more likely to walk around in the circuit, and thus disappoint their teams, and their supporters.
The NHL demanded and received contracts of shorter duration during the last lockout, reducing them to eight years at most.
“If you have a salary cap which limits in an artificial way that you can give to a player during a given year, the only way to arrive at its value on the market is to extend the contract, which is guaranteed “, said the executive director of the Association of NHL players, when asked to explain the benefits and drawbacks of having more contracts short.
“If you decrease the duration of the contracts, what you then need to possibly do is to give a more leeway on what you can pay. Otherwise, all you do is deprive the players the opportunity to obtain their fair value. “
Fehr added that the players would consider the possibility of having more contracts short in the next round of negotiations. This would certainly ensure that we would see more movement of staff.
It is possible that, as the risks of injuries are higher in the NHL, its players are more inclined to turn to the security that their counterparts in the NBA. Most of them have also shown a lot of loyalty to their team and, like Crosby and Stamkos, have accepted less money for the good of their club.
A few rare exceptions, have confirmed this rule : Marian Hossa and Chris Pronger in 2009, Zach Parisé and Ryan Suter in 2012, and Zdeno Chara in 2006. P. K. Subban and Shea Weber have changed clans the last year, but in a transaction and after that Subban had agreed to an extension of eight years to stay in Montreal.
Tyler Seguin and Phil Kessel left Boston early in their career, but that was before having been able to enjoy the complete autonomy.