Posted - 10/30/2003 : 19:29:54
Contibuted by: Pat Beaulieu
On Monday, October 27, Christmas came a little early for Canucks fans. Todd Bertuzzi, Vancouver's mountainous winger and resident alpha male in the dressing room, signed the largest contract in Canucks history.
The deal calls for Bertuzzi to earn $4.3 million this year replacing the $3.7 million in base salary he was originally set to make in this, the final year of his old contarct. Bertuzzi will earn $6.633 million next season with the last two years of the deal calling for annual salaries of $6.933 million. As well he will receive a $2.5 million bonus this year and $500,000 next year plus incentives. In addition, all scoring bonuses for the last two years are applicable this year and a new set is available through all four
years, this according to Bertuzzi's agent Pat Morris.
Also reported was that in the event of a lockout next season, Bertuzzi would make $8.7 millionfor year 2. If the lockout lasted two seasons he would cash in at a tidy
$10.5 million. Exciting news to fans in Vancouver who feel their club has the makings of a Stanley Cup contender.
So what does this matter to you if your not a Canuck fan? Well it depends on from which direction you're looking at it. To the general fan of the NHL it shows you a glimpse of where the league is hoping to go in terms of future salaries. The days of the Bobby Holik's receiving $10 million per season are on their way out. Brian Burke, Vancouver's General Manager, negotiated this (Bertuzzi's) contract with slant towards a salary cap in the new collective bargaining agreement. Some have speculated that the owners are asking for a cap of around $30 to $35 million. Although those numbers
seem a bit low and more likely than not would be in the range of $40 to $50 million.
One of the advantages the players have had by increasing their salaries so dramatically over the past four or five years has been salary arbritration. Essentially, the jist of arbritation is to pay players in relation to their peers. Each player goes in to the proceedings with a list of comparable players and their salaries, and asks for compenstion that is in line with their peers on that list. What the Bertuzzi deal does, in effect, is set a new bar. Take for example Keith Tkachuk. He's a player who some would say is similar to Todd Bertuzzi and would be comparable had Bertuzzi gone to arbritration. But if you were to break down the two you would find Tkachuk to be the lesser player based on just stats alone. Not to mention the fact that Tkachuk is more prone to injury and is three years older. Now here's the kicker, Tkachuk is set to make $11 million this year. compared to Bertuzzi's 4.3 million this year. If Tkachuk worth that much who's to say Bertuzzi couldn't fetch $14 million from an arbritator?
The measure of importance of this deal can't solely be found in what the Canucks have done for themselves. Instead it must be weighed in conjunction with what it has done for the league as a whole. Perhaps it will serve as a road map for both fiscal responsibility for the owners and financial reward for the players. For the fans in Edmonton, Calgary and the like, it's a glimmer of hope. hope that they can acquire and retain their stars and maybe one day, play on an even playing field....at least until the Rangers come in and screw it all up again.
Feel free to agree or disagree. Let me know what you think.
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