There’s no question that Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are great players that are more than worthy of serving on the team’s top line. Even still, did the Anaheim Ducks overpay to keep them?
The Ducks handed Perry an eight-year, $69 million contract and Getzlaf an eight-year, $66 million deal. That works out to be a combined annual cap hit of just under $17 million for two players.
Only one team in the NHL has allocated more of their cap to their top two forwards. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will consume a combined $17.4 million in cap space next season. In 2014-15 Malkin’s eight-year, $76 million deal will kick in and that number will jump to $18.2 million.
To an extent, comparing the Penguins’ situation to the Ducks’ is unfair. Sidney Crosby’s contract is heavily frontloaded, and thus a relic of the old CBA where teams could both give players higher salaries in the short term and keep their cap hits manageable. And yet that doesn’t change the fact that by committing to Getzlaf and Perry in this manner, they have essentially said that these are the two guys that must lead their offense to wherever it’s going to go, much like Crosby and Malkin do for Pittsburgh.
That’s where the parallel gets interesting though, because the Penguins’ offense is far deeper than just those two superstars. However, Crosby and Malkin are so good that they have helped build a reputation in Pittsburgh that helps convince other players, like Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz, to take hometown discounts to stay on board.
If you want to take it a step further, you could argue that goaltender Tomas Vokoun was willing to accept a backup role and perhaps less money than he was worth because he believed in the Penguins.
That’s the potential power of superstars in the cap era. They lead their team and through success, they can help create an environment that either lures veterans or convinces the players around them to take a little less than market value.
The burden of Getzlaf and Perry’s contracts will become more apparent as Anaheim’s up-and-coming forward’s contracts expire and naturally, the negotiating process will be easier if they believe more than anything that the Ducks can win the Stanley Cup.