A Brief History of the NHL’s Most Dangerous Contract, the Shiny New Toy Deal

It has been a lucrative off season so far. the flames And panthers One of the biggest blockbuster movies of the last decade, a truly shocking late night swap that saw Matthew Tkachuk Head to Florida for a Package That Includes Jonathan Huberdew And Mackenzie Vega,

blackhawks while tanking openly senators loading, both conditions are highlighted from the deal alex debrincat to Ottawa. golden nights Thrown away Max Pacioretti For Next-To-Nothing on Carolina, While Wild had to move Kevin Fiala To kings, We might not even do that because business rumors revolve around people Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toes, Pierre-Luc Dubois, JT Miller And to David Pastro,

All those moves were, or will be, amazing in their own way. But it is not the most important thing that they have in common.

We need to talk about the Shiny New Toy landscape.

it’s dangerous. This is potentially bad news for fans in Ottawa, Calgary or the Carolinas, as well as guys like Miller or Kane on whatever team might be tempted. It also feels quite likely that we are about to see at least some teams making cap-crushing mistakes that they will regret for years to come.

Let’s explain what’s going on, how it’s played out in the past, and what we can learn from it.

What’s the shiny new toy?

negotiating a contract in NHL It’s all about leverage. Sometimes the team has it, such as when a young player’s entry-level contract expires and his rights are in control of the team for years to come. Sometimes the player has it, such as when an established star hits free agency, or a beloved franchise veteran is on an expiring deal and needs an expansion before it goes to nothing. Is. In those cases, teams often pay more, as they may feel like they have little choice.

as a big fan of Debating Bad Contracts, I don’t say this lightly: There can’t be a more dangerous set of circumstances for a team or more beneficial to a player and his agent than the dreaded Shiny New Toy. This is a category of bad contract that I first proposed in a piece I wrote six years ago, I don’t know if you’ve read this or not, but I’m pretty sure the NHL GM didn’t, because if anything the list of mistakes is getting worse.

The scenario prevails when a team acquires a star player in a major trade, usually with great fanfare, and then immediately has to contend with an expansion. The player they just acquired needs either a new contract immediately or a deal that is about to expire, making them eligible for an extension.

What keeps the team engaged. Sure, it’s great that they added a new player, but now they have to keep him. His fans are excited. GM is reading media coverage about how well they did a job. They may also sell a few more season tickets. But all that positivity vanishes if they let this new star go for a year or so without anything.

The team requires the player to sign a long-term deal. And the player, and his agent, knows this perfectly. This is why they have all the leverage.

Put yourself in the shoes of a GM. You’ve just had a press conference to show off your new acquisition, and to brag to the world how amazing it is. You probably gave up valuable possessions to get it. Are you really going to sit at the bargaining table and act like you’re not sold?

you could not. you must pay. And very often, it leads to disaster.

What are some examples of Shiny New Toy disasters?

OK, so you get what the Shiny New Toy looks like. But how often is it really as bad as the one I just described?

Let’s start with a recent example. Last summer, the Blackhawks traded for Seth Jones On July 23, leaving the package of high challenges adam boquist, Jones was moving into the final year of his deal, with a UFA position, so the Hawks immediately signed him for an eight-year, $76 million extension. that contract raised eyebrows at that timeAnd a year later it looks like one of the league’s worst, with Dom ranking it at number two. her list of bad deals,

We don’t need to scroll far down that list to find more shiny new toys. cavalry traded for Jeff Skinner During the 2018 off-season, knowing he had a year left before UFA status. They eventually paid to keep him, giving him eight years and $72 million, which Dom holds as the third-worst contract in the league right now.

We can find another great example a little further down the list Eric Carlson, Shark Traded in for him in 2018, entering the final year of his contract, and eventually giving him eight years to live and $92 million. Now carrying the biggest cap for a defenseman in NHL history for five more years, he is hurt and only occasionally effective.

let’s keep going. how about the ranger people trade for jacob oven In June of 2019, then handing him $56 million after seven years and a month? The Sharks dropped a first-round pick for Evander Kane in 2018, then gave him $49 million seven years and a few months later. Jonathan Drouin six years from and landed $33 million canadians same day he gave up Mikhail Sergachev For him.

Justin Foulkey received seven years and $45.5 million from blues The day it was acquired from Hurricane in September 2019, despite a full year remaining on the deal. Finally, inflated Ryan McDonagh contract that lightning Just had to dump on the Hunters, signing them just a few months after meeting Rangers for a package of picks and prospects, proving that smart teams can be prey, too.

This is not a recent incident. We can look at other questionable contracts from years ago, such as the Hurricanes giving Jordan Steele A 10-year contract worth $60 million in 2012, just days after he was traded for it on the draft floor. Senators traded for Bobby Ryan after losing Daniel Alfredson red featherSo he had to pay seven years and $50 million over the life of the deal a year later.

Those same senators sent Jason Spaza to Dallas in 2014, then saw Stars Give him four years and $30 million on a deal that almost immediately felt like an overpay. Corey Schneider’s disastrous seven-year, $42 million extension comes a year later Devils traded for him in front of hometown fans,

We can go on, even reaching back in the pre-cap days, where there was arguably the worst trade-and-contracts of all time. A Classic Shiny New Toy Scenario, But I’m guessing you got the point. When a team pulls a trade for a big name that needs expansion, they are in very dangerous territory.

Does a shiny new toy contract ever work?

If you’re a fan of Flames who pushed this post so much, there’s a good chance you’re just scared. So this is the part where I must offer you some optimism, with a list of Shiny New Toy contracts that worked out just fine.

Problem is, I’m not quite sure there is any.

Certainly, none of the contracts commonly mentioned among the league’s great bargains fall into the Shiny New Toy category, although they are usually signed by elite young players just before a breakout, and those probably don’t. Sometimes business happens. Also, we don’t need to find a great contract counter-example – just a decent contract will do.

Are there any candidates? can make the case for you mark stone, who received eight years and $76 million from Vegas just days after being kicked out of Ottawa. The deal seemed reasonable at the time for a man who was considered among the elite wingers in the league, but injuries have eroded Stone’s value in recent years. The jury is still out, but Stone can still do a good job.

It’s too early to tell about people like Kevin Fiala in Los Angeles (on a deal most of us thought was fine) or humps lindholm In Boston (which may be a little diceier). If we go further back, we can find a couple of team friendly 2015 contracts like Dougie Hamilton In Calgary and Ryan O’Reilly’s deal with Saber, which ultimately worked out better for the Blues, but still fits our criteria.

But perhaps the best counter-example to Flames fans is one that will be bittersweet: Matthew Tkachuk’s eight-year, $76 million expansion with the Panthers. Technically, he signed that deal with Calgary as part of the league’s first sign-and-trade, but I think we can allow it to be in the spirit of the thing. Tkachuk hasn’t played a game under that contract yet, but it is already getting good reviews,

If the Panthers can give up as much as they did for Takachuk and still get him signed to a proper contract, then perhaps there is hope for other similar situations. Or maybe Takachuk is the only exception that proves the rule, where a team circumvented the shiny new toy curse by working out a contract before the trade ended. Look, I wanted to leave Flames fans with some optimism, and that’s the best I can do.

Mark Stone. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

So what have we learned?

Wouldn’t “trading for stars that need expansion” be an oversimplification? I think it could be. And considering how long I spend complaining GM not doing businessI really don’t want to rule out a whole broad category of them.

So let’s go with this: While a star player’s contract may be the only reason they’re available to trade in the first place, teams must be extremely cautious in making those deals.

It’s a cautionary tale to the flames, which both Huberdeau and Weiger have. It’s worth remembering for the senators with DeBrincat. This can be a problem for Hurricane and Pacioretti, though the deal may be more than a designed rental. This is a red flag to anyone who is thinking of pulling the trigger on Miller, Dubois or Kane, or any other stars that become available in similar positions, even if the trades themselves provide strong value.

buyer beware. Because the track record here is absolutely bad.

(Top photo of Seth Jones: Christopher Hawinkel / USA Today)

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