When noon strikes tomorrow, Sidney Crosby will sign a 12 year, $104.4 million deal to remain a Pittsburgh Penguin for the rest of his career. Staying true to his superstitious nature, Crosby's cap hit will remain $8.7 million despite the player cap increasing by $4 million since Crosby signed his first contract extension in 2007.
In a world shared by Latrell Sprewell and his ridiculous "I have to feed my family" statement in response to turning down a $20 million offer, Crosby's decision to stay with the Penguins for the same amount of money (theoretically a pay cut) is admirable. Obviously, $104.4 million won't force Sid into collecting welfare, however, by leaving $60 million on the table, Crosby has given significant financial flexibility to the Penguins in hopes of acquiring players to win another Stanley Cup. Everything you've heard about Sidney Crosby making winning a top priority is now indisputably confirmed.
For the Pittsburgh Penguins, the deal clearly shows commitment to the world's best hockey talent. Despite Crosby's history of concussions, the Penguins are prepared to win and lose with 87 as their captain for the next dozen years. Furthermore, with the contract not being insured, the Penguins have invested all hope on Sidney Crosby. If the Penguins win the Stanley Cup, Sidney Crosby will be the first one to lift it. If Crosby's career ends premature, the Penguins will lose $104.4 million. Even for a franchise that is playing in a new arena, with an astronomical amount of revenue, that's a big hit to take.
Similar deals have failed to work out for other clubs. Rick DiPietro is the biggest example of what can go wrong with heavily investing in one player. DiPietro signed a 15 year contract in 2006 and, since then, has played in only 172 of 492 games due to numerous injuries.
The Washington Capitals are facing a different problem with their captain. In 2008, Ovechkin signed a 13 year, $124 million contract, the highest in NHL history. After scoring 65 goals and tallying 112 points in 2007, Ovechkin's production has fallen off dramatically. In 2011, he finished with a career low 65 points and saw limited ice time in the closing minutes of a close game. I.E. the Capitals were trying to find ways to win without their captain and highest paid employee.
The Pittsburgh Penguins see a great deal with Sidney Crosby. The dollar figure is a bargain compared to what a player of his talent typically commands. In return, Crosby has to continue to produce as everyone hopes the concussion issues have subsided.
The only person possibly hurt by this -other than the 29 other teams- is Evgeni Malkin; the current individual king of the hockey world. Malkin signed the same contract as Sidney Crosby in 2009. However, it would not be absurd for Malkin to command more money due to his brilliant play this past season. It certainly helps that Pat Brisson (Crosby's agent) and J.P. Barry (Malkin's agent) are co-founders of the Creative Artists Agency.
The Penguins will certainly look for a proper deal for Evgeni Malkin around this time next year. Will Malkin make more than Crosby? Will he ask for top dollar, forcing the Penguins to move him in a similar fashion to Jordan Staal? For now, it is impossible to tell.
One thing is certain: Sidney Crosby is not going anywhere.