While there is some debate on whether or not Sidney Crosby is still the best player in the NHL thanks to injuries over the past several years. It’s hard to get a true feel for his statistical output with the Penguins, because he has played so few games, 63 over the course of two seasons combined to be exact, but Jordan Staal figured Crosby would e there for the long hall, and wasn’t prepared to be second fiddle, turning down a long term extension before being traded.
The Penguins also clearly expect Crosby to continue healthy for a very long time. After seeing Staal leave after turning down a 10 year deal, Crosby signed for 12 years and 104.4 million dollars. While many teams may be terrified of a long term deal with an injury prone star, the Penguins were not. I agree with their move.
As a baseball fan, specifically of the Minnesota Twins, this reminds me of the re-signing of Joe Mauer. A substantial investment was placed in a star who, even if he may not produce on the ice, he will remain popular and incredibly marketable. When he is in advertisements or promos for the NHL, it will be in a Penguins sweater. In addition to the on ice product, it’s free marketing for the organization, keeping their team in the spotlight.
The other thing to consider is that Crosby is still only 24. It seems like he has been playing forever now, but he has a lot of years left, barring some sort of structural injury (say to a knee), this may not be his last contract. Really, the only thing that will dictate that is whether or not Crosby wants to continue it.
And really, after a few years of receiving a 9 million/year salary, it’s a minor pay cut. In case you haven’t done the math yet, Crosby’s $104.4/12 year salary equates to $8.7 million a year. The Penguins have to hope that Crosby continues to see 87 as his lucky number.