Lindrosís rookie contract sent NHL salaries skyrocketing
Mark Messier, who won the Hart Trophy the previous season, was earning $1.5 million per year and Denault notes that the Flyers were prepared to base their negotiations with Lindros on that deal, with only Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux earning more than Messier.
But Rick Curran, who was Lindrosís agent, wanted $3.5 million per season, which would have made the 19-year-old the highest-paid player in the NHL despite never having played a game.
The Flyers had given up a ton to get Lindrosís rights from the Quebec Nordiques and knew they had to sign him.
ďRealizing the futility of the haggling, the Flyers and the Lindros camp agreed on a contract that included a $2.5-million signing bonus (to be paid in increments of $500,000 per season), plus a base salary of $2 million for two seasons and $2.5 million for the four seasons after that,Ē Denault writes. ďThe contract also stipulated that if the average salary of the three highest-paid players in the NHL (with the notable exception of Wayne Gretzky) exceeded Lindrosís, he would immediately get a raise to that amount.Ē
It certainly set precedent to the rise in salaries that the NHL saw in the mid-90s. The Alexandre Daigle contract was also a significant moment in helping that cause, signing a 5-year contract worth $12.25 million. He's the reason that entry level contracts exist.
because the basis of the NYR/philly arbitration case was that contacting the lindros camp already meant that the trade had gone through, the flyers were locked into signing lindros. the players were already gone, and they wouldn't have gotten the same package back if they pushed him in contract negotiations and reached an impasse.
but an excellent argument was made by blake bell many years ago that it wasn't lindros' contract that escalated salaries and led to the first lockout, but daigle's. the argument is that lindros was near gretzky/mario level, which is to say that lindros was considered a generational player and couldn't be used as a salary comparable for, say, fedorov or roenick or other young stars because lindros was thought to be in a different stratosphere. just like a guy like fleury who scores 100 points can't say, "i deserve 3/4 of gretzky money because i scored 3/4 of what gretzky scored." however, a young hotshot coming into the league like paul kariya can say, "i am as good if not better than daigle. look at my WJC stats and my i want something close to daigle money."
The salaries of the top players wasn't so much a problem. It's when teams started to aggressively bid on the lower level players at highly inflated prices, like when the Rangers signed Stephane Quintal for over $3M per year. http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/199...ree-agent-crop
If guys like him were making that much, then a player who saw more minutes and was considered a better player was going to demand considerably more. Due to the salaries of such players, the price of your mid-tier guys shot up, as did the upper echelon names.
the flood gates were open when detroit won the bidding war for Adam Oates and another guy and that Knocked out many teams who had been penny pinching their players
I would disagree with that.
Soon after the Ray Staczac and Oates signings the NHL made it a lot more difficult to sign college UFAs like them.
More importantly those guys were given the big bucks bc there was a bidding war for their services; had they been acquired via the draft, their pay would have been drastically lower. I think agents would have had a hard time using heir contracts against the GMS they were negotiating with.
Those guys were signed for near identical 4 yr / $1.1 million dollar contracts. Yes, a lot of money for the time, but nowhere near as outrageous as the Lindros or Daigle numbers. That was in the mid 80's....I don't think salaries started to escalate dramatically for a few years after that.
Anyways, respectfully, that's my opinion. I do however agree those college UFAS signings that season was one of the first times in that era where GMs started to get silly with their contract offers to completely unproven guys. I think Ray Staczak received slightly more than Oates, a record contract at the time...and before his career ending injury, he definitely looked like he could be a colossal bust. His skating was far from NHL standards.
I think the Gretzky trade to LA, and his first contract with the Kings is what sent salaries spiralling out of control.
Firstly, all the other superstars wanted to be paid in comparison to Gretzky (I'm half as good, I should get 50% of what he does").
Secondly, it led to expansion. Owners seemingly lost their minds trying to make money by allowing further expansion. The more money they made, the stupider they seemed to get in handing out contracts.
A separate topic, so I'll stop after this, but we are often told that Gretzky to LA was a huge step for hockey.
It may have been the case for the owners, but for the average NHL fan, things were going to get way worse because of what transpired afterwards. Ticket prices would skyrocket, the quality of talent would dissipate, in turn the lack of talent ushered in the era of teams seemingly not even trying to score anymore, escalating salaries would lead to lockouts, lower income teams could no longer keep their stars, and players would, from this point on, no longer be associated with just one team...they would move from highest bidder to highest bidder.
I also have to wonder how much influence Alan Eagleson had in keeping down player salaries. He's kicked out of the NHLPA in 1992 and replaced by Goodenow; this coincides with Lindros' and Daigle's contracts, and a rise overall in player salaries. Considering the PA would have replaced a close friend of the owners with a supposed hardliner in Goodenow, I think that also has to be regarded as a major factor, at least as important as the other things at the time like expansion, Gretzky in LA, etc.