Am I reading this right? Did Brad Richards really sign a 5 year contract that will pay him $7.8 million per year? Is the Tampa Bay management insane? It appears the answer to all of those questions is yes. How sad for Tampa Bay Lightning fans.
Here is the problem. Richards will make $7.8 million a season. Martin St. Louis will make 5.25 million a season. And Vincent Lecavalier will make 6.875 million per season. Combined those 3 guys will make nearly $20 million dollars, or just over half of this past seasons salary cap. Maybe we should read this as a sign that the salary cap will go up dramatically for next season but even if it goes up to $45 million, is Tampa really going to spend to the cap level? How much talent are they going to be able to afford for the other 17-20 players on their roster? Boyle, Sydor, Prospal, Modin and Burke are also signed for next season for a bit over 11 million combined. That’ll be $31 million for 8 players. That’s rediculous. Now don’t get me wrong. Richards is a pretty good player. The best player on that team. But he isn’t a $7.8 million player. Nor is Lecavalier a $6.875 million player (he has never even had an 80 point season). How they are going to fill out that defense and add a quality goalie for no more than $10 million is well beyond me. One has to wonder if maybe St. Louis or Lecavalier mighe get traded but I am not sure who would want to take on those contracts. Maybe San Jose would be willing to rid themselves on Nabokov’s $5.375 million per season contract for St. Louis’s $5.25 million per season contract (that’s a trade that might make sense for both teams). Maybe Montreal would be willing to take on Lecavalier’s contract but not sure what they would be willing to give up in return. And honestly, I have a hard time seeing the Lightning trading Levavalier. They seem to have always held him in higher regard than he probably deserves. I’ll predict now that Tampa won’t be a serious cup contender again for the next 3-5 years.