Thursday September 15, 2011 10:49 pm
John Tavares signs massive contract with New York Islanders
The New York Islanders announced today that they’ve locked up former first-overall draft pick and current fan favorite John Tavares to a six-year, $33 million contract. The deal kicks in next summer when Tavares’ entry level contract expires. This is great news for the fans of the Islanders, but the real question is how the heck can the franchise afford a deal as expensive as this one?
This past June, Forbes valued the Islanders at $151 million dollars, which makes Tavares’ deal worth more than 20 percent of the entire franchise. The Islanders are in desperate need of a new arena, and a few weeks ago, residents in Nassau County voted against putting up $400 million to build a new home. Unless current owner Charles Wang foots the bill for an arena, who knows where the Islanders will be when their current lease at the Nassau Coliseum expires in four years – two years before Tavares’ contract does.
Neither Tavares nor the Islanders wanted a looming free agency to hang over their heads during the season. But with a new CBA agreement due to be discussed next summer, who knows what the economics of the NHL will be in 2012? As of today, the Islanders have a payroll of $48.8 million, which just barely puts them above the floor, but they’ve yet to settle the dispute with restricted free agent Josh Bailey.
Tavares is an explosive player. He scored 24 goals and had 30 helpers in his rookie season, playing all 82 games. He stepped it up in his sophomore year, scoring 29 times and adding 38 assists in 79 games. It’s not a stretch to expect upwards of 35-40 goals and 80 points as he continues to develop. Those kinds of numbers should more than justify the average $5.5 million per year he’ll make – but it might have made for financial sense for the Islanders to wait until next summer and see if they can save a buck or two and put that money elsewhere where it’s needed.
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