Today is the opening of free-agency in the NHL. It is clear from the spending frenzy today that no one in the league has learned anything from the lockout of 2004-05.
Here is just a sampling of some of the deals completed today.
Brian Campbell-8 Yrs-57 Million
Wade Redden-6 Yrs-39 Million
Corey Perry-5 Yrs-26.6 Million
Mike Green-4 Yrs-21 Million
Ryan Malone-7 Yrs-31 Million
No offense to anyone on the list but let's be honest. These players are not the true superstars of the league. Good players but not the elite. It gets even more crazy when you get to that elite level. Vincent Lecavalier got a 9 Years-77 Million dollar deal from Tampa Bay in the past week.
The salary structure in the NHL is way out of whack. The deals that have been signed by hockey players today are better than about 90% of all NFL players. They dream of getting paydays like this. The NHL doesn't match the NFL on any level outside of they are both professional sports leagues in North America. Their team franchise values are nowhere close. Their revenue streams are nowhere close and most of all their TV contracts are nowhere near close. How is it possible they can pay their players more than good NFL players? It makes no sense.
The way these contracts are going we are heading towards another armageddon in the NHL. You have teams, like the St. Louis Blues, which are already having to penny pinch and the salaries are skyrocketing up in a downward economy. It just isn't going to work in an economic sense. Unfortunately the only way this can keep going is if there is some contraction or we have another league wide salary adjustment like we had after the 2004-05 lockout.
How quickly the league forgot what the lockout was all about. But then again look at the leadership the NHL has. Gary Bettman needs to be replaced before this league really does disappear off the sports landscape.