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Come on! Somewhere out there Lee Majors has to be an Oiler fan. Today the Oilers welcomed another member to their six million dollar club by adding Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Many hockey fans will argue that the Oilers overpaid based on the underlying stats and games of experience. On the surface, the argument appears valid. However, this deal, along with Eberle’s and Hall’s, represents so much more. It aligns with the culture and the identity that Eakins and MacTacvish appear to be creating. Simply put, team first! For now at least, the leaders of this team will be compensated equally. Perhaps helping to foster a deeper team first mentality by quieting the need to assess one’s worth through salary comparison.
Yes, not all players will be compensated equally to these leaders. But with the creation of this benchmark all other player roles can be assessed and given a suggested value. Why does this matter? It establishes educated expectations at the time of contract negotiations. It helps to remove the unawareness that a player and his agent may have at the time of contract negotiations with management. Based upon the teams salary structure a player and his agent should be able to accurately predict what management most likely can afford to offer. If that fits the player’s expectations, an appropriately valued contract can be created. If it does not, then both sides should be able to act accordingly in advance to effectively manage the situation. As for management, it holds them accountable to responsible salary management. All created contracts should be structured to align with the values placed upon the different player roles.
So are Eberle, Hall and Nugent-Hopkins’ salaries risky? Sure. Will these contracts be value deals in the latter years? Perhaps. But based upon what I have heard, read and seen concerning these three I would be willing to take the risk. Not only do they each have difference making hockey abilities, but to date, they each seem to be great community fits. As an Oiler fan, I would rather see these three financially rewarded as opposed to an unknown free agent mercenary.