Scouts Say Tuch's Talent Should Make 7-Year Extension Well Worth It
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What do Alex Tuch and Connor McDavid have in common?
They're both forwards who have signed 5+ year extensions coming off their entry-level contracts. That's not the norm.
The length of the contract is both a sign of the franchise's belief in a forward and the player's willingness to sacrifice some money in the long run.
Here are similar deals, from June 2017 on:
• Dylan Larkin (signed 8/10/18), 5 years, $30.5 million ($6.1 million AAV)
• Jonathan Drouin (signed 6/15/17), 6 years, $33 million ($5.5 million AAV)
• Alexander Wennberg (signed 9/1/17), 6 years, $29.4 million ($4.9 million AAV)
• Bo Horvat (signed 9/8/17), 6 years, $33 million ($5.5 million AAV)
• David Pastrnak (signed 9/14/17), 6 years, $40 million ($6.66 million AAV)
• Christian Dvorak (signed 8/9/18), 6 years, $26.7 million ($4.45 million AAV)
• Viktor Arvidsson (signed 7/22/17), 7 years, $29.75 million ($4.25 million AAV)
• Nikolaj Ehlers (signed 10/4/17), 7 years, $42 million ($6 million AAV)
• Alex Tuch (signed 10/19/18), 7 years, $33.25 million ($4.75 million AAV)
• Connor McDavid (signed 7/5/17), 8 years, $100 million ($12.5 million AAV)
• Leon Draisaitl (signed 8/16/17), 8 years, $68 million ($8.5 million AAV)
• Jack Eichel (signed 10/3/17), 8 years, $80 million ($10 million AAV)
In terms of counting stats, Tuch compares most favorably to Dvorak on this list right now. In fact, both scored exactly the same amount of goals and points last season (15-22-37).
Tuch is a rarity here insofar as most are centermen -- only Pastrnak, Arvidsson, and Ehlers are wingers. This isn't a surprise because centers are generally considered more valuable than forwards.
Regardless, this deal sets up as a fantastic long-term value for Vegas. $4.75 million sounds like a lot next year, when Tuch's contract kicks in, but if the winger fulfills his potential, it will be a bargain.
"30 goals would likely be his ceiling," said one scout. "Like the size, skill, and shot. I probably see him as a regular 25-goal scorer.
"Consistency will be important for the player."
Another scout was even more impressed by Tuch's rookie campaign.
"30 for sure," said this scout. "He is a natural goal scorer. Very good hands. Can play a finesse or power forward game."
Comparing Tuch to Dustin Brown in his prime, the scout noted, "More talented than Brown, less of a work ethic though."
Questions about consistency have dogged young Tuch, which was one of the reasons why Minnesota parted with him at the expansion draft.
"He can get by without working hard," said the scout. "But if he works super-hard, he's unstoppable.
"He can be a regular 30-goal guy."
Based on these expectations, Tuch should own a stranglehold over a top-six role, or better, for the next eight seasons.
In that case, the winger's contract will become an indisputable bargain.
George McPhee certainly hopes this investment goes more the way of James van Riemsdyk than Rostislav Olesz.
In August 2011, van Riemsdyk signed a six-year, $25.5 million dollar extension with Philadelphia. The 22-year-old winger would score 165 goals over the next six seasons, hitting 30 or more twice.
An unrestricted free agent this past summer, the 29-year-old van Riemsdyk was rewarded with a five-year, $35 million dollar contract.
Tuch will be 29 when his deal expires. If the winger comes close to van Riemsdyk's production, as both scouts project, he could deliver solid value as soon as the first year of his extension. $4.75 million is already a good price for a 25-goal scorer.
As for Olesz, the 22-year-old was inked to a six-year, $18.75 millon dollar extension in June 2008 by Florida. However, injuries hampered his development; he was bought out in June 2013. The winger scored just 24 goals over the life of his contract.
Between Tuch and the recently signed-for-seven-years-too Shea Theodore, McPhee has placed a sizable bet on two youngsters who were passed over in favor of other prospects by their drafting organizations.
But in both cases, the talent and potential pay-off are well worth the gamble.
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