The Vancouver Canucks signed their two franchise cornerstones to extensions on Friday, as Daniel and Henrik Sedin received matching four-year, $28 million contracts. It’s the perfect deal for both team and twins.
The contracts that will kick in next season will expire when the two are 37 years old. It’s really a nice fit cap-wise for the Canucks, because they’d rather not commit themselves to paying two players older than that $7 million against the cap this far in advance – even if they are two of the league’s most prolific scorers. And if the Sedins are still top 10 or top 20 producers at 37, Vancouver will be happy to give them $7 million again – it's not like the Canucks lifers will be eager to go anywhere else.
It gets even better for the Canucks. It’s almost a given that the NHL salary cap will climb next season and keep climbing after that. And when you consider that, starting next season, Daniel and Henrik’s cap hits will be tied at the 17th-highest in the NHL, Vancouver got a steal for two players who will keep taking runs at the Art Ross for the duration of their new deals. As the cap goes up, the standard payout for elite NHL stars will rise as well, so by the time 2018 rolls around, these deals will look even better in comparison to the rest of the league than they already do.
And don’t for a second believe the Sedins will disappear as contributors before their deals expire. In the last full NHL season, 35-year-old Patrik Elias, 39-year-old Ray Whitney and 36-year-old Martin St-Louis were all top-20 NHL scorers. And in last year’s abbreviated season, St-Louis won the scoring title. Currently, both 33-year-old Sedins are top-10 in NHL scoring yet again. Their really late years, when production will probably tail off – ages 38, 39, 40 and beyond – will be paid under a different deal designed for those inevitably declining years. But does anyone think they’ll go anywhere else?
If the Sedins wanted, they easily could have got a better pay out or more term on the open market, but they were never going to leave Vancouver. They got a raise over the $6.1 million they’re currently pulling in against the cap and will be on par with other franchise cornerstones such as Pekka Rinne, Jason Spezza and Tuukka Rask – all of whom will be younger than the Sedins will be when their deals expire. Daniel and Henrik will be getting less than the likes of Phil Kessel, Eric Staal and Ryan Getzlaf – but all those players are much younger and on deals that will run through the prime years of their careers.
These Sedin extensions were never going to be about getting top dollar, but fair dollar. The fact the Canucks were able to lock them in for four years instead of five proves the two Swedes weren’t going in for the kill. The $7 million hits should keep the Canucks’ cap somewhat flexible as they move forward with a roster that now has eight players signed through at least the 2016-17 season. They have their core, most of whom are signed for reasonable cap hits, which will allow team management room to supplement quality depth for another Cup run or two.
Because as the careers of the two Sedins enter the twilight years, what they’re really chasing is that elusive Stanley Cup championship.
And these deals give Vancouver’s front office the talent and wiggle room to put together a roster capable of chasing after one.