Good young puck-moving defensemen are precious in the NHL. Teams possessing such a commodity tend to lock them into long-term deals long before they become eligible for unrestricted free agency.
They often become cornerstone players for their franchises. Some handle that responsibility better than others do.
See for yourself how they compare:
ERIK KARLSSON, SENATORS
Drafted: 15th overall in 2008
Production: 163 points, minus-11 in 233 games.
Contract: $45.5 million over seven years.
Money quote: “When you see a guy rise the way he has, it’s real important to keep him. It took a little bit of time, a bit of effort from both parties, but to get it done, and get it done at this time of year, is real important.” – Senators GM Bryan Murray after finalizing the contract.
Analysis: The day after agreeing to his extension, Karlsson won the 2012 Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman. That validated his standing as one of the league’s elite offensive weapons.
DREW DOUGHTY, KINGS
Drafted: Second overall 2008
Production: 184 points, plus-18 in 364 games.
Contract: $56 million over eight years.
Money quote: “Let's go win some Cups. We just spent more money this off-season than it cost to buy the team. We are committed.” -- Then-AEG chief executive Tim Leiweke, after the Kings’ parent company signed off on $114.6 million in new deals before the 2011-12 season.
Analysis: The Kings did, in fact, go on to win the 2012 Stanley Cup. Leiweke later departed AEG to run the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he left with no regrets about his market-setting deal with Doughty.
Drafted: Fourth overall 2008
Production: 121 points with a plus-25 rating in 224 games.
Contract: Unsigned restricted free agent
Money quote: “I've just kind of been moving forward as if I'm going to start the season like a regular year. I've been working hard all summer, trying to put it behind me here for this week and trying to enjoy this process and, you now, hopefully something gets done here in the short term.” – Pietrangelo, on the potential of holding out this fall.
Analysis: He made the NHL’s Second All-Star Team in 2012 and should become a perennial Norris Trophy candidate. A full season of playing with new partner Jay Bouwmeester will bring out his best.
P.K. SUBBAN, CANADIENS
Drafted: 43rd overall 2007
Production: 114 points, plus-14, in 202 games.
Contract: $5.75 million over two years.
Money quote: “This was the best deal not only for myself, but for the Montreal Canadiens, more importantly. At the end of the day when you can leave a negotiation and both sides are happy, that's the best," he said. "I'm so happy to be back with my team. This is where my heart is, it's in Montreal.” – Subban, after agreeing to a shorter deal.
Analysis: Subban and his agent, Don Meehan, held out for a long-term deal. That became a big story in Montreal when the holdout dragged into last season. Now Subban will have to use this season to campaign for maximum dollars.
OLIVER EKMAN-LARSSON, COYOTES
Drafted: Sixth overall 2009
Production: 67 points, plus-7, 178 games.
Contract: $33 million over six years.
Money quote: “In this day and age, you have to pay for quality. You either pay now or pay later. He has the chance to be one of the best players in the League for a long time. That's why we stepped up and made the deal.”—Coyotes GM Don Maloney.
Analysis: Ekman-Larsson sacrificed long-term earning power to gain lifetime security with this contract. The financially-strapped Coyotes franchise bought low on one of its most important assets.
TYLER MYERS, SABRES
Drafted: 12th overall 2008
Production: 116 points, plus-10 in 256 games.
Contract: $38.5 million over seven years.
Money quote: “We wanted to recognize Tyler not only for his abilities now, but his abilities in the future. It has been nothing short of a terrific start to what I think will be an outstanding career.” – Sabres GM Darcy Regier.
Analysis: The 2010 Calder Trophy winner cashed in when new Sabres owner Terry Pegula went on a mindless spending spree. Myers’ extension paid him $12 million in 2011-12. In a related development, he tanked on the ice – scoring just eight points with a minus-8 rating in 39 games last season.
ZACH BOGOSIAN, JETS
Drafted: Third overall 2008
Production: 103 points, minus-42 in 297 games.
Contract: $36 million over seven years.
Money quote: “I'm just real happy that Winnipeg believed in me and kind of gave me another chance to kind of prove myself. I didn't exactly have the best start of my career in Atlanta, and obviously moving up to Winnipeg gave me a new chance to play in a hockey market and play in a hockey town that really I enjoyed playing in front of. It was definitely a no-brainer for me to want to stay there for a long time.” – Bogosian.
Analysis: Bogosian jumped at the chance to make real money. The Jets, mindful of the franchise’s limited ability to attract free agents, gambled on a player willing to commit to Manitoba.