One item often discussed about Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are how fortunate the Pittsburgh Penguins are to have them locked in at team-friendly salary cap hits.
Crosby, in particular will have a $8.7 million cap hit from 2008 until 2025 when it all shakes out. In 2008-09, that was 15% of the $56.7 million upper limit of the salary cap at that time. Now, almost a decade later the cap has increased as league-wide revenues have and Crosby now only makes 10.9% of the salary cap. Malkin, similarly is a relative bargain as well for his consistent point-production and $9.5 million cap hit that looks better and better every year as the cap goes up, and other players sign big tickets.
So, to be sure, the Pens are lucky to have their franchise cornerstones locked up, and at pretty good rates at that.
One aspect not often mentioned is just HOW those contracts were signed though. And something perhaps as good or better than the exact numbers of the contracts Crosby and Malkin have is the peace of mind they gave the organization and its fans.
Crosby agreed to his 12-year deal on June 28, 2012, a full year before his contract was to expire. Similarly, Malkin’s eight year contract (the new maximum term allowed) was agreed to in June 2013, a full year before he was set to hit free agency.
Which is to say, Penguins fans should sure be glad they can take for granted that peace of mind that Crosby and Malkin both gave them. Could you imagine how it would feel to be in the Islanders shoes right now? Just look at all this activity swirling around:
Believe the Islanders get to present to Tavares after the Leafs tonight.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 25, 2018
Leafs management is now leaving the CAA offices and their meeting with the Tavares camp. A two-hour session, all said.— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) June 26, 2018
San Jose and Boston will present to John Tavares tomorrow in LA. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars will deliver their pitch on Wed.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 26, 2018
Signing John Tavares is a long shot. The Bruins have to take it. https://t.co/PbFAlwom4p— Fluto Shinzawa (@FlutoShinzawa) June 26, 2018
Some news from the @SanJoseSharks meeting today:— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) June 27, 2018
Sharks Owner Hasso Plattner attended the meeting with the rest of the Sharks brass earlier. While that may not seem like much, having the commitment and can-do attitude could be big for Tavares, also helps with $$.#TavaresWatch
Tampa and Dallas make their pitches to Tavares in person today. Heard that there won’t be any other teams invited to meet. Decision clock starts tonight it seems. #TavaresWatch— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) June 27, 2018
John Tavares, face of the franchise. #1 guy in town. Holds the immediate future of the organization in his hands. And he’s hearing out other teams. Getting pitched and sweet talked by five other coaches, GMs, the Sharks owner even showed up.
I’d be distraught right now if this was Crosby or Malkin considering the notion of what they would look like in a Maple Leafs jersey....Or thinking about how the weather and tax situation is a lot more favorable in Florida...Or what their future could hold joining a strong team like San Jose or an Original Six market like Boston.
This isn’t to say Tavares is in the wrong, he’s earned his shot at testing the waters and after the lack of talent the NYI decision makers have provided him, no one can blame him.
Hockey players tend to be loyal to a fault and change-adverse, so who knows, maybe the Isles can still woo Tavares back. The only other marquee player to test free agency in this generation while in his prime was Steven Stamkos who heard pitches just like Tavares and decided the grass was greener where he was in Tampa. But the NYI situation definitely ain’t Tampa, so then again this could be a new start for Tavares as well.
No matter what Tavares decides, Penguins fans have to be happy that their stars were always content to commit so early to Pittsburgh for the primes of their careers. Thinking about the alternative would make for a hockey nightmare, but it’s one that Pens fans won’t have to go through with their stars.
Finally, here’s a picture of Sid in jolly old England as his European vacation continues.