So we all are fine with the fact that on day one of free agency, some big contracts can be handed out, and yesterday was no different.
Teams can also hand out some big deals in-season to ensure their pending UFA doesn’t hit the open market and lose them for nothing.
Let us look at some basic stats of two defensemen, one who signed yesterday, and one who signed during the season.
I am by no means comparing the two as playing a similar game, just what contracts they signed, and what might have happened if one hit the open market. I am also not using stats as the “be all, end-all” in what a players contract is based on.
The top collection of stats belongs to the 27-year old Matt Niskanen, who signed a seven-year, $40.25 million deal yesterday. The deal carries a $5.75 million cap hit.
The below collection of stats belongs to 29-year old Dion Phaneuf, who signed a seven-year, $49 million deal earlier this past season. The deal carries a $7 million cap hit.
We also know Phaneuf has his plenty of haters, but he’s not nearly as bad as he’s sometimes made out to be. Another reference point is that 33-year old Brooks Orpik signed for five-years for $27.5 million, a $5.5 million cap hit, yesterday.
So, if Phaneuf wasn’t signed during the season and was a free agent yesterday, what do you think Phaneuf would have received?