Ducks General Manger Bob Murray just spent more than a quarter of Anaheim’s salary cap next year on two massive contract signings.
The two deals, made less than two weeks apart, gives center Ryan Getzlaf an eight-year contract extension worth $66 million, and winger Corey Perry $69 million for the same number of years.
The signings ensure that Anaheim won’t be stripped to the bone when free agency beings – a growing trend among smaller-market teams.
Given that next year’s salary cap will drop by about $6 million and salaries of the past, it’s fair to say that Anaheim overpaid to retain their two stars.
Last year, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed matching contract worth roughly $7.5 million per season with the Minnesota Wild. The year prior, it was the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes that took center stage where New Jersey finally shipped an average of $6.6 million per year to the Russian star.
That said, it would be difficult to see Getzlaf and Perry fetch more than $7.5 million per year on the open market, especially with the aforementioned salary cap coming down next year.
That means Murray overpaid his players by about $1 million, since they were unlikely to earn that type of cash in the summer. Heck, league-leader Sidney Crosby will only make $75,000 more than Perry in 2013-14.
Murray’s argument is that overpaying now will reap rewards later. He knows the duo is key to his hockey club and that they would be devastated without their services.
The Ducks currently sit second in the league with 48 points, so obviously they are doing something right.
Overpaying is also something Anaheim can afford, given they already have 16 players signed next year and about $11 million left in cap space. Therefore, leaving an extra $2 million on the table is something Murray was comfortable with.
It also sends a very clear message to the youngsters in the dressing room, mainly that steady production equals big contracts.
It’s an instant vote winner with the players. It makes them more motivated to compete. Youngsters like Peter Holland, Kyle Palmieri and Emerson Etem now know this, and so they’re likelier to give the Ducks a little extra – especially once Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne retire.
From a player’s perspective, that’s money that needs to be reallocated and with Anaheim’s recent statement, the message is rather clear on how to obtain a piece of that purse.
For Murray this was a political play that he could afford and given the situation, it was probably for the best of the franchise.
While Getzlaf and Perry aren’t exactly superstars, they are very solid – and therefore solid investments. They will probably help the Ducks to a lot of victories and even if they’re overpaid now, they probably won’t be at the end of their respective contracts.
The double signing was very smart and it needed to be done. Most likely, this will turn into a good investment. Now whether it creates a precedent for smaller-market teams remains a mystery.