Savard is 32 now and will turn 33 in 2010. Deal would take him to age 40, if he plays it out. But, we know that won't happen. Realistically, it's a 5 year deal since it's front end loaded. Not much different than the Ohlund deal for 7 years and 26 million in the summer. Ohlund isn't going to play another 6 seasons after this one.
NHL probably has to work on the wording of how much a salary can drop year to year, as well as any "signing" bonuses paid out over the length of the deal. I believe Gilbert has a "bonus" in the summer.
It still surprises me to see how many people on these boards can't understand that players aren't going to fulfill these long term deals. If a player retires with 2 years left on their contract, the team doesn't eat the cap hit, it is freed up for them to sign someone else. Only if the player signed a deal after he hit 35 (that's why the Pronger situation is going to be very interesting, since he signed the extension before he turned 35, but the new deal wouldn't kick in until he is already 35) would an early retirement force the team to eat the salary cap hit. If Khabi retires, the Oilers are on the hook for the 3 million plus cap hit per season. Only if it's due to medical reasons, where he fails a physical, would the Oilers get cap relief, ala Mike Rathje and the Flyers.
Just seems odd to me that players at age 28 - 30 are planning their retirement. But, to each their own.