The NHL training camps are just around the corner, and the Islanders are out of the gate quickly in the annual race for most insane contract, reportedly on the verge of signing Rick DiPietro to a 15-year, $67.5 million contract.
|DiPietro: Open wide and say 15 years.|
A year ago, the NHL apparently discouraged the Mike Milbury Islanders from signing DiPietro to a similar long-term deal. But the Milbury-to-Smith-to-Snow Isles are persistent. Fifteen years. Aside from so-called "lifetime" contracts and reserve-clause era serfdom, I'd think this is about the longest deal in NHL history, and as the story notes, one of the longest in pro sports:
The deal is believed to be the longest in NHL history and second only in major North American pro sports to the $25-million, 25-year deal Magic Johnson signed with the NBA Lakers in 1981.
Newsday says DiPietro is scheduled to receive $4.5 million in each season of the contract. With the value of the deal spread over the length of the contract, DiPietro's salary would rank eighth among NHL goaltenders for the coming season. And Newsday says it would leave the Isles $2 million under the current salary cap.
I'd love to read the fine print on this one because it's probably pretty creative (opt-outs? Retirement? Dealing with the usual "I wanna go play for a Stanley Cup contender 'cause this team's going nowhere" 30something line?) This from Newsday:
Although DiPietro is guaranteed the full $67.5 million if he suffers a career-ending injury, it's not yet clear what would happen should he decide to retire before the deal expires. For now, Islanders fans only can hope he has a long and glorious career.
Wonder if there's a cost-of-living escalator in there, too, for a goalie who appears to have locked himself in at $4.5 million per. Lots of questions, too, for the Islanders (as usual), pinning their hopes on a 25-year-old (almost, anyway) goalie. And what is Gary Bettman doing? Besides the vein popping out of his forehead, that is.
(UPDATE, 11 a.m. - Islanders have called a 3 p.m. press conference to announce the signing.)