Thread: Speculation: Kari's next contract
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03-12-2012, 11:55 PM
glovesave_35's Avatar
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Originally Posted by BigG44 View Post
If Dallas isn't willing to push into the high $5 or even exceed $6 million, it's doubtful Kari Lehtonen stays in Dallas. Someone will pay him as an UFA.

So if you argument is that Dallas should cap their offer and be prepared to walk, that's fine.

My argument would be that $6 million is not honestly that much money, and (with the exception of Benn) your top players are already locked up. Even needing to get Benn under contract, you are no where near the cap (most project it won't fall below $60 million after the new CBA). Plus, you are no where near being in the position of needing to let a key player (not even a core player) walk away because of cap or money issues.

I don't think many would argue that Kari Lehtonen has been pretty much the MVP of the team. Even last year, he's a big reason they are one game away from the playoffs. He had pretty much the same team in front of him that Turco had in 2009-10 and was miles ahead of him. Do you want to squabble over $1-$1.5 million?

It's doubtful Bachman will have proven enough at the end of next season that he's ready to be a starter. Bachman has been excellent as a backup, but don't forget that he wore down in a limited stint (2 or 3 weeks IIRC) as a starter and his game fell of significantly. I'm glad Dallas has what seems to be an extremely competent backup, but people shouldn't just assume he's ready or capable of carrying a team. In a 2 or 3 years, yeah he could be a potential answer.

Beskorowany and Campbell won't be ready either in 2013.

I just don't think anyone is presenting a decent argument about why you shouldn't pay market value on a relatively short deal (3 or 4 years). Bachman will still be young, and Campbell would only be 24 or 25 years old. Instead of forcing yourself to potentially have a significant fall off in quality goaltending in 2013-14, you've set yourself up to allow your goalies of the future to fully develop and be ready for increased responsibility. You likely won't have much of drop off in talent at the position in 2016-17 or 2017-18. Finally, you've maximized your assets because let's be honest, we either sign Lehtonen or he walks at this point. GM Joe isn't going to trade him at next year's deadline if he isn't signed. However, a few years down the line when Dallas has more than competent options to immediately step up and carry the load, Lehtonen should be available for additional assets to another team (like Grossman but probably better assets).
Paying a guy "market value" in terms of dollars per annum is one thing. Handing Lehtonen a 5-6 year deal at $6 mil/yr when you are less than three years removed from drafting a goaltender 11th overall* seems unrealistic to me. So what, did they draft Campbell that high to be this team's backup for 4 years and then take over? I don't buy it. Honestly, I get that Lehtonen is a huge piece of the puzzle. I'm just not ok with giving him a 5+ year contract given his durability issues, postseason question marks, and the Campbell selection.

Personally, I would be happier with an inflated salary three year deal, something in the 6.75 per year for three years range. If a team out there is willing to commit to him for 5 years at 6+ then oh well.

*Note that I'm not saying that Campbell has earned anything in the bigs yet nor should he be given anything. But spending a draft pick like that on a goaltender and then blocking his chance for 5-6 years doesn't make much sense.

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