Why the Flames Should Offer Brodie a Long Term Contract

Kent Wilson
July 12 2013 11:22AM

With the powers that be organizing themselves around the prospect development camp in town, a few bits of info are trickling out through the usual channels. One such nugget was the recent news that Calgary has offered TJ Brodie a pair of potential deals: a one year contract and a slightly longer, bridge-type deal in the same realm as Mikael Backlund's recent contract.

Those are blandly sensible options. After all, Brodie only has 104 NHL games under his belt and it was only a 48-game half season where he started to show he might be something more than a good third pairing guy to any realistic degree. The kid doesn't have a long track record of driving results, so there isn't any firm evidence that he will continue to be a noteworthy player on the back-end. It's therefore entirely possible he steps on the ice as a 23-year old defenseman this upcoming season and takes a giant step backwards.

 

 

I thought it might be Brodie's side not interested in a longer term deal, so it's instructive to find out it was the Flames balking at a Josi type contract for Brodie, likely for the reasons noted above. Still, it's worth understanding that sometimes short-term "bridge" deals contain their own sorts of risk.

Namely, that the player will get drastically more expensive to retain in the near future. On the one hand, there's the concern associated with committing dollars and term to a player who turns out to be mediocre or worse. On the other hand, there's the possibility the player will be able to hold a team over the barrel a few years down the road. A recent object lesson in the pitfalls of bridge deals is PK Subban - the Canadiens played hardball with the young defender this past off-season (and lock-out), resulting in a contentious negotiation that eventually ended in a lowball two year deal worth $2.87M per year. Of course, Subban won the Norris trophy this season, so you can be certain Montreal will be paying out the nose to keep their young star once his bridge contract expires after next season.

Brodie isn't going to suddenly win the Norris, but it's a colorful illustration of how an overly cautious approach with quality young players can cost a club in the long-term. For example, if Brodie's deal with Calgary ends up being 3 years long, he'll be 26 when the contract expires and a season or two away from unrestricted free agency. If he develops into a top-2 defender on the club, his pricetag will be significantly higher than what he could demand today - both because his perceived value to the team would be higher, but also because natural cap inflation will inexorably raise players costs around the league as a matter of course. For instance, assuming an annual 5% growth rate in league revenues, the cap ceiling will balloon to about $74M in the summer of 2016.

This is also why the Flames could potentially benefit from signing Brodie long-term: his percentage of committed cap budget will theoretically shrink over time. Using the assumed 5% growth rate, next year a $3.5M TJ Brodie accounts for just over 5% of the Flames total available cap. In three years, that shrinks to 4.7%. In five years, he's down to about 4%, etc.

Conversely, assuming Brodie improves and peaks around the 24-26 age range, his price will increase both by dint of his own performance and the rising cap. So, if the market for young, top-pairing defenders is roughly $3-5M this summer, it could be as much as $500k per year more for the same player in three years time thanks to inflation alone, plus whatever premium the market puts on that sort of player at the time.

The Benefits

Additionally, with the Flames engaging in a long-term rebuild project, it would behoove the team to be sensitive to potential future budget issues which may arise. For example, in 3-5 years, guys like Backlund, Monahan and Baertschi will probably be graduating to their next contracts. Ditto any of the other current kids who happen to stick with the big team, including Horak and Reinhart. If Johnny Gaudreau, Bill Arnold or any other future top-10 picks jump in and make an impact, the club will be looking to retain them with new deals some 3-5 years from now as well. If the current management does its job and Calgary is poised to seriously compete again starting in 2015/16, they will probably have some contract and budget concerns to deal with (god willing).

In contrast, current cap room for the club is as cheap as it's ever been. The Flames have evacuated most of their pricey contracts and could very well be getting rid of Mike Cammalleri and Jiri Hudler in the next 12-24 months, depending on each guy's attitude towards an extended rebuild. The Flames have more money than they can spend this year and probably next year as well. So the benefits of inking a guy like Brodie for cheap in the short-term are relatively minor.

Here's an illustration of the potential differences between a short-term bridge deal and long-term contract could look like for the Flames going forward:

Brodie short term 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2020-21 Total
Cap hit 2.5 2.5 2.5 5.75 5.75 5.75 5.75 30.5
Salary cap (5% growth) 67.20 70.56 74.09 77.79 81.68 85.77 90.05  
% of cap 3.72% 3.54% 3.37% 7.39% 7.04% 6.70% 6.39%  

 

Brodie long-term 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2020-21 Total
Cap hit 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 24.5
Salary cap (5% growth) 67.20 70.56 74.09 77.79 81.68 85.77 90.05  
% of cap 5.21% 4.96% 4.72% 4.50% 4.28% 4.08% 3.89%  

For the first table, I've assumed a 2.5M per year contract for the next 3 years. That would be the hypothetical "bridge" option. After that, I assume the team re-signs him for an additional 4 seasons.

Anyways, as you can see, Calgary does really well during the bridge, but things get a lot more expensive once that expires in 2016. Of course, the pivotal assumption here is that Brodie continues to develop as a top-2 option and settles into Oliver Ekman-Larsson territory once his bridge deal expires. It's hard to project his next contract demands under those circumstances, so I went with Larsson's deal ($5.5M, signed when he was an RFA) plus an extra $250k to account for assumed revenue growth and cap inflation. It could be a bit more, a lot more or a bit less, depending on other factors like demand in the market, Brodie's point totals, etc.

The benefits become obvious when we compare the first option to the 7-year deal projections. Brodie would cost a tad more in the short-term I assume (in order to purchase some UFA years down the road), but the team would capture savings to the tune of about $6M in cap space over the same time period, again granting certain assumptions. In addition, Brodie costs the team a significantly less ($2.25M) per season in each of the years after 2015-16, a discount at a point where the Flames could theoretically be a lot more interested in their roster budgeting than they are right now.

Of course, the actual level of future cap savings depends on the degree to which Brodie improves. If he runs in place or only improves marginally, then the benefits are much more limited.

The Risks

Naturally, the above scenario is based on Brodie becoming a consistent, legitimate top-pairing option for the Flames. Although he has a limited track record, this isn't an outrageous bet given his performance last season in both the NHL and AHL. What's more, Brodie's underlying numbers were top notch as a rookie (albeit in lesser circumstances), meaning the kid has always had the arrows pointing in the right direction as a pro and is poised to enter his prime at the onset of his next deal*. 

*(Whereas a lot of NHL GM's are willing to pay for the security of a player with a longer history in the league, that also usually results in a higher initial salary staring point, as well as the higher probability that you are paying for a peak that has already passed; that is, you're paying for what a guy did more than what he's going to do. Some RFA's get the big second deal, but those contracts are limited to guys who have already established themselves as stars.)

Of course, there's a chance Brodie takes a firm step back or that his performance last year was a mirage, meaning he isn't really a future first pairing talent. In that case, the team has a mediocre player locked up for long-term and the deal would be, at best, market value for the duration. At worst, Brodie would become an immovable toxic asset because his contract is so out of step with his true value on the ice.

How you weight these probabilities will effect how you view a long-term contract. Personally I think the player is more likely to improve and grow into an above average first pairing defender, but even if Brodie settles into a capable second pairing guy over the long haul, the team is still likely getting value anywhere between $3-4M for a majority of the contract - especially if the league's revenues grow to any notable degree over time.

Aside from the other attendant risks of long-term deals that are unpredictable (like a chronic or acute injury affecting performance for example), the only way a big time commitment to Brodie truly goes sour is if he proves to be a complete flash-in-the-pan and doesn't rise above a third pairing guy in the league. In that case, you're stuck with an entirely replaceable and therefore needlessly expensive bottom of the rotation until 2021. 

That's not nothing, of course, so I understand why the team is mindful of the downside. Still, the potential upside is significant enough that it would probably be worth the gamble. 

Conclusion

It's possible Brodie won't develop much or will in fact regress as a player, but that strikes me as unlikely given his performance since turning pro, his impressive package of skills (including mobility, hockey sense and puck distribution) and his young age. In the typical player's career arc, Brodie is on the ascension and is probable to improve - and get more expensive - than devolve. Calgary has more leverage currently because of his limited track record and the unncertainty about his future performance. Of course, once the Flames management have that certainty in hand, they'll have to pay a lot more to retain it, which is why it would be cheaper to make a long-term play with him now.

In addition, if the rebuild goes to plan, the Flames are going to need some bargains down the road to help manage future cap concerns. It never hurts to have highly efficient (read: underpaying) deals on the books since it means you can pay more elsewhere to attract or retain other high priced talent. If Calgary is still bad in 5 years, none of this will matter much (and Feaster and company won't be around anyways), but if the Flames have experienced their renaissance and Brodie is a cornerstone on the blueline, the price to keep him around will skyrocket at precisely the wrong time.

A long-term deal means the Flames protect themselves against Brodie's salary inflation due to player improvement or cap growth and they also lock in a few UFA years from a guy who figures to be a meaningful piece of the team moving forward. If Feaster and company are more confident that Brodie will be a top-4 defender or better rather tha a bottom pairing defender or worse, they should be pushing for a Josi type deal.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#3 Smudged
July 12 2013, 12:29PM
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It seems like there is enough evidence already to indicate that there's something special about TJ Brodie and his skills on the ice. There's nothing to indicate that his success so far has been luck. He steadily improves year after year. Seems like low risk to me.

If you know you have a good player that you can lock in for a longer period at a better rate, why wouldn't you?

It's like buying a car that you think will be good long term. Why would you pay a little bit now, and then when you know you really like it, mortgage the farm to keep it later?

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#4 SmellOfVictory
July 12 2013, 12:32PM
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Kevin R wrote:

See Kent here is where I get torn. We have 2 prime examples of young highly touted Dmen, potential Norris trophy winners all scoring the big long term contracts. & at the time, everybody went yaaaayyyyyy, the champagne corks were flying & we were on our way. Then, within 2 years, people wanted these dman gone for bags of pucks, the players were garbage but in reality they weren't that bad because of the expectation that goes with long term big buck contracts. Then, the GM's were getting called morons for the signings & everyone agreed in the final analyses, these players were just overpaid. Does this come to mind for any Flames fans? Dion Phaneuf(aka Pilon) & the late deported JBO (aka JBLOW).

If Feaster gives Brodie a 2 year deal for 2.0 to 2.5 mill per, that's pretty good money for the kid & it does reward his progress. Does anyone here think this kid is going to be a Norris Trophy candidate in the next 2 years. I don't think so. If he does do this, good for him & I'm sure Feaster will pay accordingly as part of one of our future valuable core players. If he does this, I would say our rebuild is going pretty freaking good.

I don't think anyone would complain if we signed Brodie to a 5 or 6 year deal at 4.0mill per. Personally, for Brodie's sake & Flames sake, I think 1 last bridge contract is not out of line.

Phaneuf got paid because he was already putting up gaudy numbers from day 1 in the NHL. He was a Norris trophy finalist early in his career, and there was no way around giving him substantial dollars eventually. JBo was also a proven commodity, as well as an outside UFA contract. Brodie would be a guy who's getting paid substantially less against the cap because he DOESN'T have the track record numerically to bolster his pay, but he's a good bet to improve and become good value beyond that.

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#5 ?
July 12 2013, 12:48PM
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Excellent article. This really illustrates why bridge contracts can be just as dangerous to a teams salary books as a big, long term contract can. Like the PK situation, if you play hardball with a guy and give a lowball offer, they'll usually take it. However, you may end up having to pay MUCH more, in both term and dollars, down the road. Or, and this scenario is less likely but still possible, the player is frustrated that the team doesn't value them as a piece of the puzzle and requests a trade to some other team, where they begin to dominate as a 1st line/ 1st pairing/ #1 goalie.

Or they get signed to a massive offer sheet while you're busy negotiating a short-term contract.

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#6 Sincity1976
July 12 2013, 03:50PM
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Chris Butler has similar stats following his ELC. Imagine if Calgary would have signed him to a 4-million per season contract.

Josi and Brodie aren't comparable. Brodie moon lit as a top 2D for a portion of the season but he was sheltered for most of it. Josi played top 2 the entire season. He also played top 4 the season before while Brodie bounced between the NHL and the AHL.

Giving Brodie 4-million per season is ridiculous. He probably isn't signing long term for less.

No GM in hockey would give him that contract. No owner in hockey would sign off on paying him 4-million per season while he continues to develop. It is silliness.

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#7 Derzie
July 12 2013, 11:30AM
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I don't care who it is. I don't support deals greater than 3 years. Makes some players lazy. Human nature is fight or flight when it comes to contract years. Having a guy playing to raise his stock is the way ALL contracts should be written. If you end up paying more later, then it is well worth it. Just don't give him more than another 3 years. The buyouts and boat anchor contracts are a sobering lesson that long term contracts benefit no one from a hockey perspective.

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#8 Lordmork
July 12 2013, 11:33AM
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For exactly the reasons above, why would Brodie sign a long term deal, if he could sign a shorter-term deal and then a longer-term one, and come out ahead to the tune of 6 million? Unless he's not confident he can improve enough to earn that kind of 5.75 million/year contract, his pocketbook would argue for a shorter term deal, then to really cash in around his apex.

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#9 Kevin R
July 12 2013, 11:37AM
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See Kent here is where I get torn. We have 2 prime examples of young highly touted Dmen, potential Norris trophy winners all scoring the big long term contracts. & at the time, everybody went yaaaayyyyyy, the champagne corks were flying & we were on our way. Then, within 2 years, people wanted these dman gone for bags of pucks, the players were garbage but in reality they weren't that bad because of the expectation that goes with long term big buck contracts. Then, the GM's were getting called morons for the signings & everyone agreed in the final analyses, these players were just overpaid. Does this come to mind for any Flames fans? Dion Phaneuf(aka Pilon) & the late deported JBO (aka JBLOW).

If Feaster gives Brodie a 2 year deal for 2.0 to 2.5 mill per, that's pretty good money for the kid & it does reward his progress. Does anyone here think this kid is going to be a Norris Trophy candidate in the next 2 years. I don't think so. If he does do this, good for him & I'm sure Feaster will pay accordingly as part of one of our future valuable core players. If he does this, I would say our rebuild is going pretty freaking good.

I don't think anyone would complain if we signed Brodie to a 5 or 6 year deal at 4.0mill per. Personally, for Brodie's sake & Flames sake, I think 1 last bridge contract is not out of line.

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#10 BJ
July 12 2013, 11:40AM
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Interesting read.

One point I would like to make about contract length is that these long contracts being given are a relatively new thing. Often once a player cashes in they feel they dont have to work for a contract anymore. Not trying to paint Brodie's character in a negative way but it happens with players. And then the sense of entitlement creeps in a la Dion Phaneuf.

I am unsure of the best route to go but I like shorter deals in general because it puts onus on the players to work hard for their next contract.

I remember the time when Regehrs first five year deal was the longest contract in Flames history.

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#11 mattyc
July 12 2013, 11:44AM
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ballsy move. Not sure I'd go 7 years. My gut is telling me he's never going to be a top pairing guy, but he'll be a reliable 3/4 D - I'd love to be proven wrong. Still, if you're going to buy UFA years, this is a solid bet. Another way to do it would be to go for a short deal and then try to buy UFA years when he's 25. Gives you another year or two to decide if he's someone you want to commit long-term to. Could potentially be more expensive, but would still be better than trying to negotiate a contract at 27 when he can hit free agency.

On a side note, that Predators roster is a who's who of pluggers and checkers - yuck. How many times do we have to watch them next year?

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#12 Rockmorton65
July 12 2013, 12:04PM
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I'd say 3 years/ 2.5 per sounds almost perfect. Give him a decent raise, a taste of security, but not locking him in long term until we're certain what we have.

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#13 Rockmorton65
July 12 2013, 12:04PM
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I'd say 3 years/ 2.5 per sounds almost perfect. Give him a decent raise, a taste of security, but not locking him in long term until we're certain what we have.

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#15 Graham_CGY
July 12 2013, 12:16PM
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To further this and to completely discount Pat and Andrew Walkers "fears"...

2 names:

1. Roman Josi. He is the prime benchmark. and has a 4 mill. cap hit.

2. Slava Voynov. Not to much chatter about this comparable, however, 4.167 cap hit, playing 4-6 mins.

2. Luke Schenn is making 3.6 long term and I'd take Brodie anyday over Schenn.

I'm with you 100% Kent! Even at 4 mill, for a 3-4 dman in this league is normal. So these statements from 960 about overpaying for the guys is ridiculous.

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#16 Michael
July 12 2013, 12:17PM
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Keep Brodie's contract to two or three years, and let him earn the big dollar, long term contract. If Brodie does develop into a top 2 dman, I'm quite happy paying him the big dollars with his next contract. We should be paying for actual performance not 'projected' performance.

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#17 SmellOfVictory
July 12 2013, 12:29PM
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If they're going bridge, I'd rather it be just a year. I think a year, plus what he's shown (killing low-level comp two years ago, then killing mid-high level comp last season) is enough evidence that it should assuage fears of steps backward, and they would still have a good chance of signing him to a good value contract long-term.

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#18 RKD
July 12 2013, 12:30PM
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I can see both sides, I'm not saying Feaster is perfect but I get the feeling after signing Hudler and Wideman to 4 and 5 year deals respectively and finally acknowledging the Flames are in a full rebuild mode I think he is now very leery of long term deals. Darryl Sutter paralyzed the Flames and Feaster by putting him in "Salary Cap Jail." In a few more years if the Flames have too much money tied up in a few players they may not have the means to get some of the top elite players in the years they are expecting to spend some money targeting UFAs.

Remember Brodie is from Ontario, if he progresses and becomes even better he definitely will be looking for a ton of dough. If not we could lose Brodie to an Eastern team and he could be close to his family if they are still living there. Once the door opened for Suter, he left. PK Subban was demanding north of $5M, finally sucked up his pride took a smaller deal and had to stop his handshakes. He's going to get a massive deal after next season. If Brodie is a UFA at 26, there will be a lot willing GMs willing to overpay for his services.

In terms of young players on this team, I think Brodie has progressed the farthest. Yes, there is a chance of regression but let's see how Gio does. Gio does not look the same after that leg injury. If Gio plays like last season, Brodie will have carry a lot of the load.

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#19 Kevin R
July 12 2013, 12:56PM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

Phaneuf got paid because he was already putting up gaudy numbers from day 1 in the NHL. He was a Norris trophy finalist early in his career, and there was no way around giving him substantial dollars eventually. JBo was also a proven commodity, as well as an outside UFA contract. Brodie would be a guy who's getting paid substantially less against the cap because he DOESN'T have the track record numerically to bolster his pay, but he's a good bet to improve and become good value beyond that.

So your point being........... My point is that Brodie has tons of potential & has shown excellent development but has not established himself NHL wide yet. Where JBO & Phaneuf "were" bonafide & established at the time & look how horrible their contracts turned out to be. This is the basis of one more "Bridge" contract, 1 or 2 years, give him a nice hike & get a discounted long term deal once he has 1 or 2 full 82 game seasons under his belt & we establish that he is a 1-2 or a 3-4 dman & pay him like one. By then, Widemans 5.2 will be nearing its shelf life & Brodie's long term for comparable numbers will kick in.

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#20 SmellOfVictory
July 12 2013, 01:15PM
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Kevin R wrote:

So your point being........... My point is that Brodie has tons of potential & has shown excellent development but has not established himself NHL wide yet. Where JBO & Phaneuf "were" bonafide & established at the time & look how horrible their contracts turned out to be. This is the basis of one more "Bridge" contract, 1 or 2 years, give him a nice hike & get a discounted long term deal once he has 1 or 2 full 82 game seasons under his belt & we establish that he is a 1-2 or a 3-4 dman & pay him like one. By then, Widemans 5.2 will be nearing its shelf life & Brodie's long term for comparable numbers will kick in.

My point being that their contracts looked bad BECAUSE they were established; there wasn't any room for growth for JBo, and Phaneuf had already statistically topped out (also he's arguably worth his contract now, according to Leafs fans). The Flames "bought high" on both of those guys, whereas they have the opportunity to "buy low" on Brodie. He's already incredibly good in terms of the things that don't show up on the scoresheet for him, and in terms of goals/assists (the stuff that tends to drive salary the most) he really has nowhere to go but up. Not the case for either Phaneuf or JBo.

Also, neither Phaneuf nor JBo's contracts were "horrible" - they were each overpaid by somewhere to the tune of 1-1.5 million dollars per season, but they weren't complete albatrosses.

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#21 SeanCharles
July 12 2013, 01:57PM
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I don't think this is that big of a deal. Brodie will get 1-3years and he will improve in that time frame. After that he will probably sign an extension in the $3-5 million area.

Gio, Glenny, Iggy (in early years when he could command more than 7mill), Tanguay, Regher, Ference, the list goes on, all signed for below market value to stay here in Calgary.

This city and organization is a desirable one, if we are playoff contenders then players will no doubt love to play here.

You cover various possible outcomes for Brodie, but one you don't really cover is he excels and still takes a hometown discount.

Calgary has had a knack for achieving this in the past, why couldnt they again?

Glencross gets paid 2.55 million and he'll prob score 30 next year....

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#22 Baalzamon
July 12 2013, 02:24PM
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The Wild signed Jon Blum.

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#23 RJ
July 12 2013, 02:50PM
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I'd look at this as pretty similar to the Gagner situation in Edmonton. They gave him short-term contracts. Now, at the age of 23, he has a chance to go to arbitration and get a one-year deal, after which time he'll become a UFA, at the age of 24. Regardless of what you think about Gagner, with a 24-year old UFA some idiot GM is going to buy high.

Now if he has injury problems, or we find out that his 48 game stretch was the high-water mark of his career, then you've protected yourself from future headaches. But then you've probably also shot yourself in the foot if he does turn out to be a solid Top-2 defenceman that someone will pay top money for when he gets to UFA status.

So nickel and dime Brodie now. Give him a one-year deal. Let him get to UFA status much quicker. Even if he tops out as a 3/4 D, he's going to get a big contract as a UFA and the Flames lose him. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. Hope Feaster guesses right.

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#25 negrilcowboy
July 12 2013, 04:27PM
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2 years at 2 mill per, then talk longterm. brodie has 104 career nhl games, 47 of which came in a strike/lockout shortened season. personally, i think alot of flamesnation overvalue him, ceiling is a second pairing guy. a softed gio is what we have here. anything longer than 3 years is foolish, have him prove his worth.

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#26 Kevin R
July 12 2013, 06:56PM
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RJ wrote:

I'd look at this as pretty similar to the Gagner situation in Edmonton. They gave him short-term contracts. Now, at the age of 23, he has a chance to go to arbitration and get a one-year deal, after which time he'll become a UFA, at the age of 24. Regardless of what you think about Gagner, with a 24-year old UFA some idiot GM is going to buy high.

Now if he has injury problems, or we find out that his 48 game stretch was the high-water mark of his career, then you've protected yourself from future headaches. But then you've probably also shot yourself in the foot if he does turn out to be a solid Top-2 defenceman that someone will pay top money for when he gets to UFA status.

So nickel and dime Brodie now. Give him a one-year deal. Let him get to UFA status much quicker. Even if he tops out as a 3/4 D, he's going to get a big contract as a UFA and the Flames lose him. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. Hope Feaster guesses right.

But if you give him a 2 year deal at 2.0 or 2.5 per, how is that nickel & diming him? Do you really think he figures he's worth way more? I think he he'd be more excited about the opportunity to prove himself & give him a chance to earn big $$$ & 2.5 mill aint chicken feed either.

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#27 Baalzamon
July 12 2013, 07:17PM
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Kevin R wrote:

But if you give him a 2 year deal at 2.0 or 2.5 per, how is that nickel & diming him? Do you really think he figures he's worth way more? I think he he'd be more excited about the opportunity to prove himself & give him a chance to earn big $$$ & 2.5 mill aint chicken feed either.

It's more than Backlund has ever made too.

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#28 SmellOfVictory
July 12 2013, 07:23PM
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He and Backlund are similar age and have a similar track record (numbers that don't blow you away, but both seem to be incredibly effective on-ice). Maybe they should shoot for the same contract.

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#29 RJ
July 12 2013, 08:02PM
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Kevin R wrote:

But if you give him a 2 year deal at 2.0 or 2.5 per, how is that nickel & diming him? Do you really think he figures he's worth way more? I think he he'd be more excited about the opportunity to prove himself & give him a chance to earn big $$$ & 2.5 mill aint chicken feed either.

As a fan, that's more money than any of us will see in a lifetime.

But as a RFA, the term and size are not large. I'm looking at what Kent is saying: If you think that Brodie is the real deal, then you tie him up long-term, and then you've got cost-certainty. It also sends a big message that he's part of the core of this team going forward. If he is a top-2 D, then you want to enjoy the perks of his top-2 status, not experience all the growing pains then watch some other team get the benefit of a fully developed Brodie.

It's a tough position to be in.

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#30 Jay
July 12 2013, 10:12PM
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Giving him a long term deal is a gamble. Although I think it is a good bet, I don't think we need to gamble at this point of the rebuild. Value contracts are key for capped out teams competing to win it all. We are not there and won't be there over the term of this bet (unless we give him an 8 year deal, which would be a huge gamble). If we give him a 5 year deal, and hopefully we come out 5 years later looking like a champ team, we would have to re-sign Brodie at market value again. So whats the point of this gamble, if we win, we win nothing.

Comparing this to the Oilers rebuild, they signed a very promising young defenceman to something like 5 years at $4M per year. Their gamble didn't turn out so well. Had they won that gamble, the oilers would still suck and the value contract gives them nothing (maybe they could have traded the contract for a first rounder?).

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#31 durrr
July 13 2013, 05:02AM
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Long-term contracts are relatively new ever since DiPietro signed one. Most haven't even concluded yet, but a number of them have already been bought out... or "retired."

The problem with a long-term contract, for a player like Brodie, is that there isn't a precedence to suggest that this might actually work. Roman Josi is a great comparable since he's the same age, also played 100 games... the only difference is he actually played top-minutes all season, as opposed to meaningful minutes for 1/2 of a shortened season.

The problem with Josi's contract is he just signed it, so who really knows how it'll look a few years down the road... but an educated guess is that Seth Jones will be playing in the top pair in the next year or two, pushing Josi down to the 2nd pairing. Meaning the benefit of paying Josi top-4 money to play top-2 minutes is now lost, but they've still assumed the inherent risk of a 7-year contract.

Not an awful situation, but how much better would this scenario look, if they signed Josi to a 3 year contract with a cap-hit of 2.5M?

Basically, things change and sometimes very quickly. I'd rather pay Brodie a few million extra further down the road when/if he earns it in order to keep the flexibility for natural roster turnover. Besides, the last thing the Flames should be doing in the FIRST summer of a rebuild is signing players to long-term contracts...

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#32 dean the raven
July 13 2013, 07:33AM
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Kent, you never cease to freak me out. Not just with your incredibly articulate use of the language (you use sentences like "Conversely, assuming Brodie improves and peaks around the 24-26 age range, his price will increase both by dint of his own performance and the rising cap. " Who says "by dint of"?) but also because of how much time and effort you put into research, and the documentation. Good lord, man! I imagine you sleep 2-3 hours, wake yourself from a dream of ice and Stanley and in sweaty fury hammer these articles out on an old- fashioned typewriter, smoking a cigar and spitting in a can. Then you post these gems and we reap the benefits of a truly obsessed mind. Thanks, Kent. And get some help. Really like your perspective on the long term for The Brodie ( I call him that because when I hear TJ I think of cop shows and bad hair pieces). Risk-reward values are apparent and I've never had a big wide- on for him. Seen enough give- aways on his part to think that brain farts may or mat not be a recurring health issue. better to get the value and keep it rather than get the (super) value and pay thru the shnoz later to keep it. Your numbers made this possible. Thanks. and keep on keeping on. But do get some help.

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#33 Jeff In Lethbridge
July 13 2013, 09:03AM
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two mistakes GM's make: pay for what a player once was, and pay for what a player might become. both involve a lot of dreaming and wishing.

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#34 SmellOfVictory
July 13 2013, 09:05AM
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durrr wrote:

Long-term contracts are relatively new ever since DiPietro signed one. Most haven't even concluded yet, but a number of them have already been bought out... or "retired."

The problem with a long-term contract, for a player like Brodie, is that there isn't a precedence to suggest that this might actually work. Roman Josi is a great comparable since he's the same age, also played 100 games... the only difference is he actually played top-minutes all season, as opposed to meaningful minutes for 1/2 of a shortened season.

The problem with Josi's contract is he just signed it, so who really knows how it'll look a few years down the road... but an educated guess is that Seth Jones will be playing in the top pair in the next year or two, pushing Josi down to the 2nd pairing. Meaning the benefit of paying Josi top-4 money to play top-2 minutes is now lost, but they've still assumed the inherent risk of a 7-year contract.

Not an awful situation, but how much better would this scenario look, if they signed Josi to a 3 year contract with a cap-hit of 2.5M?

Basically, things change and sometimes very quickly. I'd rather pay Brodie a few million extra further down the road when/if he earns it in order to keep the flexibility for natural roster turnover. Besides, the last thing the Flames should be doing in the FIRST summer of a rebuild is signing players to long-term contracts...

Your point of view is understandable, but it's very difficult to put together a good team with a salary cap if there aren't either a) contracts that have a player signed to a discount (e.g. the proposed long-term Brodie contract, even if it is slightly riskier), or b) players vastly outperforming their ELCs. The latter is harder to control than the former, so it behooves management to take the occasional risk; it's just about taking the right risk. As the SAS say, who dares wins.

Yes, I just applied a military slogan to sports contract signing.

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