The Wild West – A Look at the History of Long-Term Deals for Players over 27



Before J.T. Miller re-signed with the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night for seven years at $8 million AAV beginning next season when he will be 30 years old. I was going to write an article about what I considered the 15 worst current contracts in the West.

With all the discussion in Vancouver and around the league I thought it would be interesting to look at the history of similar deals instead.

The parameters set begin July 1st, 2011 with minimums of five years, $6 million AAV and signed at 27 years of age or later.

Since free agency began in 2011, 89 of these contracts were signed and here they are broken down by calendar year:

2011: 2

2012: 2

2013: 10

2014: 3

2015: 5

2016: 10

2017: 4

2018: 10

2019: 15

2020: 7

2021: 11

2022: 10

Just looking at the breakdown of the past 12 years, the trend is certainly growing as 53 of the 89 (59.5%) contracts have been signed over the past five years.

Now we are going to look at each year in detail and try to determine what value each deal brought to the table over the length of the contract. We need to keep in mind that the average salary is between $2.8 and 3.0 million over this timespan. All of these players should be well above average and should be held to a higher standard.

We are going to use WAR as the comparable to each of these players from Evolving Wild. We aren't going to deal with gradual declines but look at the contract as a whole to see how they compare.

2011 contracts (1 of 2 successful)

Pekka Rinne    29        G          NSH     2011    7          $49,000,000    $7,000,000

Over these seven seasons, he spent all of them with Nashville and overall his WAR was 12.4 with three seasons at minus WAR with his top three years being 4.3, 5.1 and 5.9. His average WAR was 1.77/season. His WAR to salary ratio is 0.25. Signed by David Poile.

Brad Richards  31        C, LW   NYR     2011    9          $60,000,000    $6,666,666

This contract was a disaster as Richards lasted two seasons before the Rangers