Flyers head coach John Stevens remained cool, calm, and collected the other day as he announced no actual goalie controversy in Philadelphia. He said Niittymaki had the hot glove, and he was in fact going to ride that glove until it cooled down. Of course he didn’t have to wait very long as the Flyers brand new starting goaltender for little under a week let in 5 goals against the struggling Ottawa Senators tonight only managing to fend off 18 of the 23 fired shots in his direction.
When a Conn Smythe Winner and 90 point forward signs a long term contract with an organization you can expect much of the NHL to take notice. In Zetterberg’s case the rest of the organizations and players around the league may have taken a particular interest in the salary provided to the Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup quality center. It’s not every day that a true NHL superstar signs a “lifetime” deal, and this one will take the Champion well into his 17th season with the club. The cost of Zetterberg for 12 more seasons though isn’t quite the cost that many would have expected Wings General Manager, Ken Holland, to be forced to fork over. Many expected a high salary hit for such a valuable player. Instead Henrik’s frontloaded contract carries a cap hit of $6.08m a year, something very managable for the most dominant organization of the last decade and a half. So what is it that we can assume from such a bargain deal for one of the NHL’s best forwards? Is this the prime example of the fabled “home-town discount” that players will take in order to stay wih an organization, or is this an ominous sign for those seeking fortunes on the free agent market over the next couple of seasons?