“Taking this much money means he doesn’t want to win”
“He’s leaving no money for them to build a —”
“This is just a selfish move by —”
Shut up. Please, shut up.
If you have said any of the above in the past week. Stop talking.
Connor McDavid has played in 127 NHL games to this point in his career. He has scored 148 points and won an Art Ross, Hart Trophy, and Ted Lindsay Award. He guided a franchise out of the darkness and helped them win a playoff round in their first year back in the big dance.
He deserves $12.5 million. He deserved $13.250 million. He deserves $20 million. This franchise was gifted him via a fricken’ lottery. He owes them absolutely nothing.
As far as I’m concerned it is their responsibility to ensure they take whatever money is left and give Connor McDavid the resources he needs to bring multiple Stanley Cups to Edmonton. It is not the job of a young superstar to make life easier on management.
It’s a problem that has existed for a while now in hockey, the idea that a superstar must take less so that the supporting cast around him is better. I see the mindset behind that argument, of course, everyone loves a good team player. Someone who puts themselves second.
But consider it from the other perspective.
Is it Connors fault that he Oilers paid Milan Lucic $6m? No.
Who’s fault is it that they had to buy out Benoit Pouliot? Hardly #97’s.
So why should he have to sell himself short to cater to the mistakes of others?
It’s something that hockey has an extreme problem with, that other sports frankly do not.
Look at the NBA, in most cases when a support player wants to join a super team and win, he takes less money. The majority of the cap is spent on the superstars.
I know the cap levels and rules are different in every league, but let’s throw McDavid’s salary up against the other 3 major leagues:
If McDavid were to hold a $12.5 AAV in the MLB, he would rank just inside the top 100.
Yup, hockey’s best young star has an annual salary that is in the same breath as players like Ricky Nolasco and Matt Garza.
Ignore the bargain that Chris Sale is on because he IS a truly special talent on a great deal. But the best young player that hockey has seen in arguably 25 years got a shiny brand new deal… that’s worth the same as a few sub-par starting pitchers.
No different in the NBA where McDavid would sit in a tie for 88th… with Miles Plumlee.
Tell me, when was the last time you heard someone say “Wow, did you see what Miles Plumlee did last night? We GOTTA find a way to watch him live!”.
Or maybe next time you walk into a sports retail store, ask if they have any Miles Plumlee gear left, or maybe it’s all sold out!
McDavid brings value to a franchise that no other player can. It’s absurd that in today’s hockey world, he’s unable to chase what he financially deserves and if he was allowed to, he would be scrutinized for doing so.
(Also just for fun, here’s the NFL salaries… seriously, he’s 63rd. WHO THE HELL IS ANDREW WHITWORTH)
James Duthie brought up a great point on TSN 1260 the other week. Give each team one exemption. Whoever the teams highest paid player is, simply comes off the cap.
It’s so simple, yet so effective. The Oilers give Connor McDavid the $25 million a year he deserves. The team doesn’t suffer. Old man hockey culture can’t say McDavid is a selfish spoiled kid.
In works for other teams as well. If you pay Player A $12 million a year, he’s exempt, but as soon as you give another player $13 million, Player A counts towards your cap again. It’s a brilliant way of keeping the parity that the NHL loves to create, while not handcuffing teams who have great players. It also allows players to earn what they are truly worth to their franchises without facing public scrutiny.
Of course, there are more layers to it, but that’s for another blog. For now, I leave you with this:
Connor McDavid deserves whatever the hell he wants, and it’s a shame hockey culture gets in the way of their stars earning what they deserve.
photo via The Edmonton Sun