It’s probably a stretch to suggest a $5 million salary to a 23-year-old who had 53 points this season is a sign of sanity, but Jeff Carter’s soon-to-be announced deal with the Philadelphia Flyers represents just that.
Say what you want about the money Carter will be making on the new deal, which will be about $15 million for three years. What many hockey people are finding encouraging is it seems for the moment – and we stress, for the moment – teams are coming to the realization that giving ridiculous terms to young players is not the way to go.
We can thank the Nashville Predators for a lot of that. Going into free agency season, the Predators had two potential restricted free agents on defense and they could have elected to lock them up contractually until the youngsters needed Grecian Formula.
Instead, the Predators signed Shea Weber to a three-year deal worth about $4.5 million per season and Ryan Suter to a four-year pact worth $3.5 million per season.
This way, the team doesn’t lock itself into a term that will extend beyond the next collective bargaining agreement, which will expire in the summer of 2012 because the players will extend it by a year.
Something to do with them never having it so good.
Weber and Suter, meanwhile, don’t get locked into a massive deal that has the potential to underpay them later.
Perhaps other teams will see what the Flyers and Predators are doing and conduct business the same way with their young players.
Here’s to hoping.
It’s hard to figure what the Leafs are thinking by putting Kyle Wellwood on waivers. Obviously they’ve exhausted every trade avenue with the guy, but if you’re that intent on getting rid of him, why not just decline to give him a qualifying offer at the deadline Wednesday?
Perhaps they’re trying to give him one last chance to catch on with someone else. Maybe they’re so upset with him they don’t want him to become an unrestricted free agent. Or perhaps they still have plans to sign him and they’re trying to prevent him from going to arbitration.
Conventional wisdom would suggest Wellwood would get killed in arbitration, but his numbers are actually not bad. Since he signed his current deal, Wellwood has scored 63 points in 107 games for an average of 0.59 points per game. Given the Leafs would have to extend him a qualifying offer of almost $1 million, those numbers don’t look near as bad when compared to his salary.
That may prompt Wellwood to take the Leafs to arbitration to either get more money, or more importantly, avoid the Leafs forcing him into taking a two-way contract.
But if Wellwood were to clear waivers, there’s no way he’d ever go to arbitration because that would be an enormous black mark on his case.
Ken Campbell, a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com, is at the NHL Draft in Ottawa covering the event. His blog normally appears Tuesdays and Fridays and his column, Campbell's Cuts, appears Mondays.
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