It’s finally over!
If you’ve stood by your computer constantly hitting refresh like I did, then you know I am talking about the Kovalchuk Sweepstakes, which is reportedly a 17-year deal with the New Jersey Devils. Yes, seventeen YEARS. Yeah, that is a loooooong time.
How long, Neil?
Well, seventeen years ago Ace of Base ruled the airwaves, and The New Mickey Mouse Club got some new members: Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera. So yeah, 17 years is a long time.
Time will tell if he’s worth it, but Kovalchuk has put up some serious regular season numbers in his career before his 28th birthday: 642 career points in 621 career games at the NHL level. Not bad for the the first overall pick in the 2001 NHL entry draft.
I will leave others to debate whether or not the contract is worth it or how it just laughs in the face of the current CBA, but you have to believe that at least one Russian in the DC area was intently watching these talks unfold: Alexander Semin.
With Fleischmann’s agent citing Plekanec as a comparable player for a salary increase, is it really far fetched to think Sasha’s agent will compare him to Kovalchuk this time next year looking for a similar deal? Probably not. And in a world where Derek Boogaard signs a four year deal at $1.65 million per year anything is possible.
A more appropriate comparable would be either Rick Nash (CBJ) or Thomas Vanek (BUF). Both have around 270 points in 300 NHL games since the lockout at the same age (25) as Semin’s 278 points in 275 games. Nash has 8 years left with a cap hit of $7.8 million while Vanek has 7 years with a cap hit of $7.1mil per left on his deal.
Either way, those type of cap hits would be more than the Backstrom deal – something I just don’t see the Capitals doing. That puts Semin in play on the UFA market and probably playing for another team either by free agency or via trade.
Will #28 still be in Caps red during the playoffs? Stay tuned, Mouseketeers.