In which we analyze a deal that has the support of 95% of Sens fans and 5% of Leafs fans

Varada

WHAT I LIKE:

From what I understand, this is a back-loaded deal that increases from $4MM to $7.5MM over its term. This is actually pretty refreshing in an era of front-loaded, long-tail contracts designed to lower a cap hit.

It rewards a young, skilled player, and presumes that he will get better. Sports is one of those few spaces where people can talk about honor, and doing it the right way, and not laugh. Well, that there is an honorable contract. Murray has shown that he will hand these kinds of contracts out to core players. He’s living within his means, while paying players what they’re worth. From that standpoint, what’s not to like about this deal?

Obviously we have a good player locked up for some of his UFA years when he could, presumably, make more money by signing a short term deal, make it to the UFA market, take a 12 year deal from Philadelphia and then be traded to Columbus.

WHAT I LIKE LESS:

I guess there is some risk in that Karlsson has only had one elite year (if you don’t count last year’s 50 point season as elite for a defenceman), and the structure of this deal assumes he’ll produce for several. This isn’t a big gripe, though – even if he regresses back to a 50 point defenceman, that’s well worth the $4MM he’ll be paid in year one. (And he was 20 points ahead of the next best offensive defenseman, so if he regresses, it will be to the strata of other elite D.) There’s an argument to be made that a 2-3 year deal to make sure he’s legit is worth it, even if you have to then pay out more.

Ottawa now only has $26 MILLION in cap space, with the tenth lowest payroll in the league. Poor Euge. How will he get by?

James

WHAT I LIKE:

-          Karlsson signs deal with Ottawa for 7 years. Straight up. Takes me back to the salad days of the signings of several amazing players to long deals such as Spezza, Heatley (which was the style at the time), Fisher, Alfie when it just seemed like the team was going to be amazing forever…forever…forever…for– *snaps out of it* I don’t suppose I’m alone in thinking that it has been many years of looking at a contract like a countdown, “Only one more year of this Kovalev horseshit” or “Only two more years till Cheechoo/LeClaire/Emery/Gerber/Rumsfeld is finally off the books.” I remember a number of times driving home from my old job at the WTYKY.com Planning Committee, turning on necessary evil TEAM 1200 and every other day there being an announcement “…And the Sens have locked up Dan(n)y Heatley (or whoever) for the foreseeable future” and just reacting like, “Good, species just got stronger…see you every year Stanley Cup finals.” Hmmmm not exactly the way things worked out or anything but I have longed for the times when locking up a cornerstone player was a thing of celebration and not just an argument over whether term or dollars was more of a mistake…I mean, that’s fun too but its basically only been that for quite some time. 

-          It’s a long deal but not absolutely INSANE in its length. I feel 7 was my personal comfort zone max and anything between 8 and 10 was plain scary. 7 is enough to show faith that this is definitely a guy that the organization plans to build around during this important phase but not so long like those terrifying Luongo, Carter, DiPietro, Kovalchuck “ill play here until I’m dead” deals. I’m not trying to be foolishly proud on the Sens’ behalf I’m just saying, as a huge fan of Karlsson, I wanted a long deal, would have lived with a shorter deal considering the circumstances surrounding this off season but preferred long. I got what I was hoping for and within reason.
 
–          Length of the deal keeps the cap hit decent for what should continue to be an elite puck mover and hopefully the Sens are going to have a lot of great young players to keep together down the line and will have more room to do it this. As we all know windows of contention are brief in the NHL’s current paradigm and whatever potentially keeps that window open longer is great news to me.
 
–          Initiates what feels to be an official passing of the torch for the organization. We Sens fans got to enjoy some pretty damn strong years in the early to mid-2000s…and then the team kind of drifted into its experimental jazz years. Which…sucked. Coach merry go ‘round, Heatleygate, trade Spezza bull, hobos, sea captains, Joey Bishop. Initiating Senate Reform showed the brass was serious, but this signing is an indication that the future is quickly becoming now. 
 
–          Leafs fans are absolutely hating on this deal which can only mean it’s a great thing.
 
WHAT I LIKE LESS:

-          Comes this monies, comes the pressures. Varada and I watched a lot of games together this season and when Karlsson was really pouring it on and his point totals were starting to get really really real, like the 60+ range when he’d score, one of us would say, “Every 2 points he puts up equals a new hover sea-doo on pay day.” Two point Karlsson games are henceforth known as Hover Sea Doo games.  Well, my Special Little Guy, hover sea-doos achieved. And how. He’s got hover sea-doos all the live long day for the foreseeable future. We’ve seen it countless times where a player signs a huge contract (withthenewyorkrangers) and loses their edge as a player. One would imagine that as of yesterday a certain career goal has been achieved in LARGE by Karlsson. Of course, your Gomez, Redden, Bowmeester type regressions are always highlighted and highlighted again because its fun and easy. The other side of it is that a lot of players sign huge deals and continue to perform at a high level. Heck our own Jason Spezza has despite injury put up a point a game since signing an even more lucrative contract. Its not a science how players react. It will always be a gamble to do something like this. I’d rather have a GM who takes a gamble on an Erik Karlsson than not. If there’s been one thing EK has done in his career so far, it’s been defying the naysayers. Odds are pretty good Papa Alfie has instilled some his legendary game in and game out work ethic on his young brorson (look it up). Teams are going to be clamping down on our Special Little Guy from here on out but he knows haters gon’ hate. GET EM!

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