RFA's Could Be Ruining the NHL, Here's a Way to Fix It
Recently, James van Riemsdyk of the Philadelphia Flyers signed a 6-year contract extension worth an average of $4.25M.The huge problem with this extension is that it completely defeats the purpose of Restricted Free Agency. In 2004 the NHL had a lockout because of skyrocketing costs of player salaries. A 24% rollback in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement seemed to remedy this issue, along with caps on individual contracts and finally, new rules for UFA and RFA status.
First, this contract needs to be analyzed and picked apart to show why it's a problem. To do so, a "debate" will be held to show why JvR never deserved it. This "debate" will be shown by lists offering pros/cons of what each side could want a negotiation.
- Getting paid big dollars: This is obvious. Playing hockey is in fact, JvR's job. People like to get paid for their work. They like top dollar. No reason to think JvR doesn't have normal human interests or instincts.
- Maybe Winning a Cup: No real way to prove this. Comments of his can be analyzed and broken apart but at the end of the day, only JvR himself knows where winning is really ranked.
- Living Somewhere: Another easy to measure factor. There some places that some people may not want to live, like Edmonton because of the cold, Phoenix, Columbus, or Long Island because of uncertain futures, or New York because of the cost of living, or Colorado because maybe Mile High Air doesn't agree with some players. (Quick aside, the NYC Cost of living is so high, that it factors into why Glen Sather must overpay for UFA's the best example of this the "Yankees Premium" in baseball, when the NY Yankees sign Free Agents, they overpay to make sure that after Cost of Living is factored in, the player STILL makes more money than they would in another city.)
- Security: Long term contract with no movement clauses.
- Keeping under the cap/costs down: In short, staying within the lines of the CBA rules on the salary cap.
- Winning: Losing means attendance falters, this means less profits. Or, more positively, winning is fun.
- Roster Flexibility: Tying up too many players with long term contracts usually handicaps a team's ability to make moves and there won't always be teams ready/willing/able to pull off the Carter/Richards deals of June, 2011.
Mr X: I want to get paid more money.Team Z GM: How much?Mr X: I performed well! So 3 years at $4.5M per seasonTeam Z GM: No. How about 2 years at $1.5M per seasonMr. X: Well, I performed at a high clip. Look at my goals, assists, CORSI rel QoC and Zone Starts.Team Z GM: 2 years $1.5M per season, 3 years at $2M per season or get an offer sheet.Mr X: Fine I will.Team Z GM: If you get the offer sheet, we're gonna match it. And no one will pay an amount so great that we can't afford the cap hit.Mr X: Ok, new solution, I'm signing the 1 year QO and next year I will take you to arbitration.Team Z GM: 1 year at $~900K is perfectly acceptable. See you at arbitration next year.
Player with 1 RFA year left: no limits other than standard contract limits.Player with 2 RFA years left: no year limit, cap hit limit at 10% of Max Team Salary Cap ($6.43M).Player with 3 RFA years left: 5 year limit, cap hit value at 10% of Max Team Salary Cap ($6.43M).Player with 4 RFA years left: 3 year limit, cap hit value at 7.5% of Max Team Salary Cap ($4.82M).