So now, the big question is about price and how much risk the Penguins will undertake. Crosby has only played 28 games since January 2011 and had to undergo several frustrating and difficult setbacks to achieve the proper health to play a contact sport like hockey.
And while negotiations aren't really allowed to start yet, it's probably natural that the two sides have floated some informal information back and forth about each other's ideas and desires. James Mirtle, reputable journalist out Toronto, tweeted about what Elliotte Friedman said on TV:
"So @FriedgeHNIC reports on Satellite Hotstove Crosby will likely get something close to 10-year deal near July 1. Could be $9-million cap hit."
We'll see if there's any truth to the chatter. The rumor mill has seemed to put out most reports that say Crosby is seeking a longer-term deal this time around, longer than the five year extension he signed in 2007 and kicked in in 2008.
For the team, there is financial risk at giving so much guaranteed money to a player with a shaky injury history. But let's be real, Sidney Crosby is virtually a license to print money. The Pens can easily, from a business perspective, justify investing $90 million (or whatever the contract will be) on the game's best and most marketable player.
And, while everyone hopes the worst is beyond Crosby for his concussion issues, the Penguins have been down the road of having an ailing super-star center with unknown availability- when you think back to the 1990's when Mario Lemieux's back, cancer and other significant ailments would render him out of the lineup for sometimes seasons at a time. Again, it'd be better not to go down that road again, but obviously if you have a chance to sign such a talent, you figure out ways to work around issues.
By the way, the salary cap is tentatively set for $70 million next season- with the brewing storm of a CBA negotiation almost certain to change that- but under current protocol, the maximum salary is 20% of the upper limit. Twenty percent of 70 million is $14 million, so if Crosby does agree to a long-term deal at around his current $8.7 million cap hit, it will represent significant savings for the team and could be helpful on future contracts in order to "set the bar" for Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Kris Letang.