Now that the dust has settled, and the big fella has recorded another shutout over the Coyotes (same day as his deal, how awesome is that?), we get back to talking about Pekka Rinne’s big contract. Most everyone can accept that this is a good thing. Maybe a bit pricey, but no one has said the words that Rinne hasn’t deserved it. Seven million for the top goalie in the west? I’ll take it.
Is it a gamble? Maybe a little. Is it a bit much? Maybe a little. Is it a good thing? YOU BET. This contract is bigger than just Rinne, it’s a shot across the bow of the entire league.
There are two deciding factors on everyone’s pay grade:
Merit – How much has this person earned based off of accomplishments
Ease of Replacement – How easy will it be to get someone to do the same job
The merit is an easy case to argue. No one means more to the Predators than Rinne on the ice, and very few are as valuable in the locker room and in the community. Pekka will likely make slightly less than Shea Weber on his new deal, and that’s only due to the second factor. You’d be hard pressed to win an argument saying he hasn’t earned the biggest contract in franchise history (for now) and being the highest paid goalie.
How easy would it be to replace Rinne? That’s a tough one. Goalies take longer to mature, and Anders Lindback is a young guy with loads of potential. Is he ready to lead a team? No. He’s a great #2 option for most teams, and could likely start for a few teams… but he’s not ready to shoulder the load of carrying a team into the summer. Anders is a very laid back guy who can win you a few games, but the killer instinct that Rinne has isn’t developed yet. But with that said, good goalies are on the market every year in some capacity. GOOD goalies, not great. We’ve gotten accustomed to smaller goalie contracts because of this fact. It’s the same reason that teachers are paid less than what they’re truly owed because every year 50,000 teachers are pumped into the system, creating far more supply than demand.
Comparing the rather tall Scandinavian backstop to his peers, his pay raise isn’t that far out of line. Luongo is getting $10 million a year in his contract (very front loaded). Henrik Lundqvist was getting $7.75 last year as part of his salary. Rinne isn’t exactly the “highest paid goalie”, he’s just the goalie with the highest cap hit. Feel better after reading that? You should.
Pekka Rinne is asked to save the world at times, and erase the mistakes of young players while the team keeps growing towards being a serious contender. I can live with 7 Million American Dollars a year, for seven years.
What does this contract due for the future?
- Shows the league that the owners are willing to pay for top talent. Nashville possesses some of the best coaching in the league, and is now willing to hold on to their talent that has been drafted and honed.
- It puts the ball in Shea Weber’s court. I may have been alone when Shea elected for a one year deal, but what he did was call the ownership, who talked a big game all year about contracts, on the carpet. Tom Cigarran delivered. So now, it comes down to Shea’s desire. Keep in mind that 7 million dollars in Nashville is the equivalent to 11 million in several other places, thanks to our tax system.
- As David Poile says, it “extends the window” of opportunity. If Mitch Korn, who was Dominik Hasek’s handler for years and knows goalie talent as good as anyone, is confident Rinne will be good for 7 years, I’m good.
- Finally, it legitimizes the Predator organization by securing some serious star power. I’m a retailer, and it’s a struggle somedays seeing fans buy blank-backed jerseys knowing the talent that’s on this team. It’s a byproduct of smarter fans knowing that all three of those guys were on one year deals. It’ll be fun seeing Rinne jerseys (when they finally arrive!) fly off the racks. The NBA proves it everyday, stars sell (even with no basketball on the horizon).