Yes, the Blackhawks General Manager did “manage” to sign this summer’s hottest free agent, Marian Hossa.
The problem is, he signed Hossa for twelve years. Twelve years. Let’s think about this for a minute, shall we? In 12 years, it will be the year 2021–which sounds like the title of a Rush album or an Arthur C. Clarke novel–and Hossa will be 42.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with being 42 years old. Hossa will probably be in better shape when he’s 42 than I was at 22. But while goalies and defenseman can play into their 40s, for forwards it does not usually work out that way since their game depends so much on speed and agility.
And 12 years? Where’s the motivation when you have that much job security? It is said that a player performs best when his contract is up at year’s end. Hossa, who only signed for one year with the Red Wings, was Detroit’s top goal-getter with 40 last year. But what’s Hossa’s incentive now? The ‘Hawks can’t buy him out for probably seven or eight years if he under-performs, and if failed expectations are the case it will also be hard to trade him away with such a long-term deal.
The contract is “front-loaded” though, so while Hossa makes an average of $5 million per season, he actually gets more during the first nine years, and way less over the last three years.
Sure, I’m excited that the Blackhawks have signed a dynamic player like Hossa, I just wish the term wasn’t so long. But I guess Dale Tallon would have agreed to *any* terms, so long as to keep Hossa out of Detroit.
As you may have noticed, I made a custom hockey card of Hossa “as a Blackhawks” to illustrate this post, based on the 2008-09 O-Pee-Chee design. If you got a moment, tell me what you think of it. I guess it’s no great shakes really, I was more or less just trying to make it look as “real” as possible.
The Blackhawks signing of John Madden and Tomas Kopecky is so unexciting, that I did not bother to make custom cards of them.