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Stanley Cup tax alive and well

July 3, 2018, 12:44 PM ET [192 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Stanley Cup tax is alive and well. This is when general managers fawn over players who happened to be on a Stanley Cup winning roster. They don’t take into consideration that their contributions were minimal and that a bevy of players could have done the same thing if put in the same situation. Sometimes it is the team they won with that gives the extension and other times these players leave because other general managers want some of that sparkly Stanley Cup glitter dust in their locker room.

Some examples are extreme like when Dave Bolland signs for five years and 25M based on his Chicago sample. Bryan Bickell is another example from Chicago who earned a 4M AAV. It cost Chicago Teuvo Teravainen to unload the Bickell contract. Recent Penguins examples include Ben Lovejoy who hasn’t done anything for the Devils. Nick Bonino who will be hard pressed to live up to his contract. Ian Cole who is a really good bottom pairing defenseman, but now makes 4.25M. Trevor Daley and Ron Hainsey were able to cash in while not bringing much value with their signings.

This year it is players like Jay Beagle, Carter Rowney, Tom Kuhnhackl, and Matt Cullen all getting deals above their current value. Even Ryan Reaves who didn’t win a Cup was paid a premium by the Golden Knights because he had a timely goal in the playoffs.

It is great for these players. I never hold any of this against them. More power to them. This is a criticism of management tactics.

Jay Beagle is going to make 3M per year for the next four years. He’s a 32 year old fourth liner. Whatever perceived value he has in the locker room does not equate to that kind of term and money. Vancouver is one of the worst run teams in the league.

John Carlson is a good player. No doubt about it. His next contract was always going to put his team between a rock and a hard place. Does he get that deal from Washington if they don’t win it all?

Carter Rowney was warm blooded, had a pulse, and played the center position. Those were the qualifications at the time for the Penguins because of depth issues last couple of years. Somehow that was worth a three year commitment for the Anaheim Ducks at 1.133M per year.

Tom Kuhnhackl is an AHL player and fits right in with Lou Lamoriello’s other signings so far this offseason. He will join Valtteri Filppula and Leo Komarov as players who drag the team down. If Lamoriello is constructing a roster to tank then I would have to rescind my criticism. However, I don’t think his pride would allow him to do such a thing so he actually thinks that trio will make the Islanders better.

Matt Cullen looked completely done last year. If the signing was based on hockey alone it wouldn’t have been made. He’s certainly not making a lot of money so most people won’t care to criticize the signings. Sometimes a roster spot is more valuable than the cap space.

The Stanley Cup tax is a yearly tradition. It is showing no signs of slowing down.

Thanks for reading!
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