Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Alfredsson deal

Even though it was just a couple of days ago, Daniel Alfredsson's recently-penned contract extension seems like old news now. Alfie is locked up; another quintessential puzzle piece set into place. Very locked, what with that no-trade clause (although if any Senator deserves one it's Alfredsson).

As I said the day of the signing, it took great commitment for Alfredsson to agree to that contract. Although $5.4M a year is nothing to scoff at, many people--myself and the Ottawa Citizen writer Wayne Scanlan included--believe Alfredsson could easily have netted $8M a year on the open market.

But looking at the structure of the contract in more depth, Alfredsson really won't have sacrificed all that much money--especially if, as some folks on the TEAM 1200 have suggested, he is strongly considering retirement after only three of the four contracted years. Take a quick look at the numbers, in terms of actual annual payout (bonuses included):
  1. 2009-10: $9.1M
  2. 2010-11: $7M
  3. 2011-12: $4.5M
  4. 2012-13: $1M
Thanks to that final year at $1M, the cap hit--the total salary ($21.6M) divided by the number of years (four)-- is $5.6M. A bargain, considering the 2009-10 cap hit of some other league elites, like Alex Ovechkin ($9.5M), Sidney Crosby ($8.7M), Evgeni Malkin ($8.7M), Eric Staal ($8.25M), Brad Richards ($7.8M), Scott Gomez ($7.357M), Chris Drury ($7.05M), Thomas Vanek ($7.1M), Jarome Iginla ($7M), Wade Redden ($6.5M), or Ryan Smyth ($6.25M). Heck, compare him to Dany Heatley ($7.5M) or Jason Spezza ($7M) and he's re-defined home-town discount.

If that fourth year weren't included in the contract, however, the cap hit rocket up to $6.87M per year--still lower than a lot of those other contracts, but significantly more than the $5.6M hit he's got. About one Jarkko Ruutu (cap hit: $1.3M) lower, in fact.

What it means is clever work by Bryan Murray, who tried to find a way around a tight budget and a difficult-to-predict salary cap, and a willingness to co-operate on Alfredsson's part for the benefit of the franchise. It also means a bunch of other players looking for similar career contracts, including Jason Spezza (who's on his way) and Chris Phillips (who might be next in line).
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