Considering all the Ilya Kovalchuk confusion, at least there’s some news that’s a little more straightforward this afternoon. Take, for instance, word that Taylor Hall signed an entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers today. James Mirtle shared the news.
It’s basically a given Taylor Hall gets the max entry level salary: $900k base with another $2.85-million in bonuses = $3.75-million total.
I think one of the best innovations of the league’s most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement was setting a rookie maximum salary. While it’s not the most “democratic” system, signing a No. 1 pick to a still-nice-when-you-consider-the-bonuses contract is a good thing for both parties. The ailing team gets the chance to get a solid (sometimes great) trio of seasons at a bargain price while the drafted player can sign his second contract three years later as a restricted free agent. The format also puts a little less pressure on the top pick(s) to deliver big numbers in years one through three.
Just look at the NFL; teams often sign top draft picks to contracts they normally wouldn’t hand to standout veteran. I think the NHL’s setup is a lot less destructive, even if Taylor Hall’s accountant might disagree with my general point.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of impact Hall makes on the fledgling Oilers. Will he put up numbers akin to Patrick Kane or a more modest but respectable showing like John Tavares? Maybe he’ll struggle in a tough spot like Steven Stamkos or burst out of the gate like a superstar such as Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin? Regardless, merely having this discussion about an Oilers prospect must make Edmonton fans feel more optimistic about the future.