Let me start this off by saying part of what makes Steve’s work so amazing is the current team’s success, the location of the team, and the sense of bonding between the players. If you were an NHL player and got to choose between playing in Tampa Bay, or Winnipeg and Edmonton chances are you’d pick Tampa Bay. Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with Either Edmonton or Winnipeg the difference is that Canadian taxes on salary are higher and the climate difference between Canada and Florida makes Florida more attractive. If a player were to have a salary of three million USD the taxes on that player in Edmonton would be 47% which is roughly 1,4100,000 taken away in taxes as compared to Tampa Bay with a 37% tax rate equating to 1,100,000 taken in taxes. That is a 400,000 gap which really illustrates why players are taking a salary cut to stay in Florida.
Now Yzerman has also worked some magic getting players Stamkos, Kucherov, and Hedman all signed under their perceived value on termed deals. Here’s a list of those players with comparable players and career statistics:
This player is pretty self explanatory, with three 90+ point seasons under his belt Steven Stamkos was due for a huge payday when he entered the last year of his deal. He was eventually given an 8 year contract with a cap hit of 8.5 million per season. That is quite a big contract but Stamkos reportedly left millions on the table as teams like Buffalo, Toronto and Detroit were prepared to back up the brinks truck in order to pay him, Detroit even trading Datsyuk’s contract in or to reportedly sign Stamkos. Top players similar to Stamkos include Patrick Kane, Corey Perry, John Tavares, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Jamie Benn. These players are some of the most elite scorers in the NHL today and here are their salaries in order of greatest to least;
Patrick Kane- 10,500,000
Jamie Benn- 9,500,000
Corey Perry- 8,625,000
Steven Stamkos – 8,500,000
Vladimir Tarasenko- 7,500,000
John Tavares- 5,500,000 (soon to get big raise)
Stamkos would definitely be getting 10-12 million on the open market, if that is the way he chose. Why did he choose to stay in Tampa, Florida? Tax differentials. Making $12 million in Toronto is the same as making $8 million in Florida. That solid point alone gives Florida a big advantage, also Florida’s climate helps significantly in swaying players.
Career Stats: GP: 576 / G: 317 / A: 254 / PTS: 571
Nikita Kucherov, An extremely talented Russian sniper, put up two 60+ points and was instrumental when Stamkos was hurt with the blood clot scare. He is the real deal, Kucherov’s future is quite bright and like the rest of the elite players Yzerman’s been able to sign, he settled for a reasonable price. He signed for $4.766 million over three years. He wants to win, they all do, It’s obvious. Kucherov played a big role in last year’s Tampa Bay Lightning, as well as this years. He already has 7 points in 7 games. Comparables to Nikita Kucherov would be players like Vladimir Tarasenko, Brandon Saad and Ryan O’Reilly. Here are their salaries in order of greatest to least;
Vladimir Tarasenko- 7,500,000
Ryan O’Reilly – 7,500,000
Brandon Saad – 6,000,000
Nikita Kucherov – 4,766,667
Kucherov has put up better numbers than everyone here, except Tarasenko. He’s an elite scorer who will definitely get a huge contract in three years. Again though, he is basically making 6-6.5 million per year, due to the tax regulation in Florida. Another steal by Stevey Y himself.
Career Stats: GP: 218 / G:69 / A: 87 / PTS: 156
Victor Hedman is an elite defenseman. He signed for eight years, at $7.875 million AAV. Again, we have another guy who signs long-term with this Tampa Bay Lightning team. Obviously the message being said from Steve Yzerman is “Do you want to win?” Well the answer would be yes. You can’t win without a complete team. What can I say, this Tampa Bay team is quite complete. Hedman signed long-term relieves the pressure from signing their top d-man. Some comparables would be Brent Burns and Drew Doughty, both good with and without the puck. Here are their salaries from greatest to least;
Victor Hedman – 7,875,000
Drew Doughty – 7,000,000
Brent Burns – 5,760,000
It will be interesting to see what Yzerman does next. We still have Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson and Ben Bishop needing contracts. Although, with Vasilevsky getting an extension we may have seen the last of Bishop come the trade deadline. Who knows though, that’s what we thought with Stamkos. If there’s a will, there’s a way. Hello, Steve Yzerman. Man or Legend? I go with Legend, on and off the ice. Was a great hockey player and now is a great GM for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Career Stats: GP: 477 / G:50 / A: 184 / PTS: 234