Friday, June 29, 2012

A King's Ransom or Risk of Regicide??

We've seen it happen with Rick DiPietro, we're seeing it happen with Roberto Luongo, will we see it with Jonathan Quick?? The "it" in question is the pressure of a long-term deal getting to the performance of a goaltender as the contract carries on and the goalie possibly not living up to the potential and money.

Of course, if you hadn't heard and laughed along with Twitter; Quick is going to sign a contract extension with the Kings for 10 years worth $58M. While Quick is coming off of a Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup winning season, as well as being a very solid performer during the regular season; a raise of that magnitude is one that could make the most harden of Kings supporters scratching their heads.

As the lovely and talented Jen the NHL History Girl tweeted out:

And it's a great point, because, if anything, the goaltending position could be the most volatile as any position on the ice. Hell, I've made a weekly point to show off all the goalies who had a promising upside to them, but were unable to actually get it done when push comes to shove. Not only that-- but the injury rate for goalies could be a little higher than other position players, as they are out there all the time and have to be a little bit more flexible than their teammates. 

Even so, the examples I cited prior are prime examples of how long-term deals not only hurt the team, but could hurt the player's psyche and make the team a little bit of a laughingstock in the end, as they are hamstrung to get rid of the deal.

With the DiPietro deal, we all knew Islanders' owner Charles Wang was a little on the nutty side, but to give a goalie who is oft-injured (putting it lightly) a 15-year deal (albeit at only a $4.5M cap hit) was a bit ridiculous. You can't blame DiPietro for taking the money and running, if it's offered out there-- why not?? But the pressure on him to do something about it is way to high and it wouldn't be as lambasted as it is had DiPietro actually put up a performance.....of any kind. Though, we can probably blame genetics for him only playing 47 games in the past four seasons.

Yet, even the goalies who succeed aren't prone to controversy as we see Roberto Luongo getting the bum's rush out of Vancouver after signing a 12-year extension which started in the 2010-11 season. With his playoff short-comings (sans the 2011 Playoffs, even still with a little help from Cory Schneider) and the play of Schneider-- the Canucks fans seem ready to let Luongo go. Plus, with Schneider signing a three-year extension worth $4M a year-- it seems the Canucks are just waiting for a viable suitor to come along for Luongo and his $5.33M cap hit.

Quick will be on the hot seat next year, as his $1.8M cap hit will go away and people will wonder if the 10 years beyond that will be worth it or not. If he performs as well as he did this year, it could ease some minds. However, watch out if he starts to falter quickly and doesn't seem to regain form. It's a shock that Dean Lombardi, who has looked like a genius when it comes to getting the right personnel on his team to win, would do something with such a lofty expectation for that position which has the most pressure put upon it. For his sake, he better know what he's doing lest he get fired as a result.

Considering that many thought what the Winnipeg Jets gave Ondrej Pavelec was a bit on the crazy side, you have to think that the Kings looked at that as market value and since Quick was better than Pavelec statistically, he was worth the terms given. If anything, Carey Price is licking his lips and wringing his hands when it comes to what he could possibly get for his new contract-- especially if he gets an offer sheet.

While the man between the pipes could be the most valuable on the team, the risk of giving him a long-term extension is very high, even if the reward is there as well. You cannot blame these guys for taking the terms and money-- they are playing a sport where they excel and the general manager is the one who sets the value for their services. However, the pressure to perform is going to be there and if they don't live up to it-- they will be looked down upon-- rightfully or not. It's a double-edged sword they're dealing with, as a lot rests on their shoulders. For Quick, all he has to do is look at those before him and hope he doesn't fall into that same chasm.

No comments: