Even with a relatively flat salary cap for the foreseeable future NHL teams have not been shy about handing out significant long-term contracts this offseason.
Since July 1 there have been 15 contracts (re-signings and free agent signings) signed that are at least five years in length and carrying a salary cap hit of more than $5 million per season. There is always some risk with that in a salary cap environment, especially when it comes to free agency. As we already know, most long-term contracts signed in free agency tend to end in a buyout or a trade.
With that said, let’s try to look into our crystal ball and assess the risk of each long-term contract signed so far this summer.
Wise investment: These deals should work as planned
Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning (eight years, $76 million; $9.5 million salary cap). Point is a superstar, one of the best players in the league, still in the prime of his career, and even if he does decline toward the end of the contract he is starting from a much higher level than most other players. He should retain significant value. A no-brainer contract.
Adam Pelech, New York Islanders (eight years, $46 million; $5.75 million salary cap). Normally I am skeptical of long-term contracts for non-superstars, but this seems reasonable for New York. Pelech is the rock of the Islanders’ defense, he is young enough to retain a lot of value, and the salary cap number is extremely manageable.
Dougie Hamilton, New Jersey Devils (seven years, $63 million; $9 million salary cap). Given the contracts signed by a lot of other defenseman this offseason this contract actually looks like a little bit of a steal. He makes less than money than Darnell Nurse, Zach Werenski, and Seth Jones (for fewer years!) and is better than all of them.