While the rest of the folks in Leafs Nation go on pulling their hair out trying to figure out how the team will land another offensive forward, thereâ€™s probably a bigger item on Brian Burkeâ€™s to-do list: negotiating Luke Schennâ€™s new contract.
Itâ€™s inevitable that this deal will get done, but much like the dealings with Nik Kulemin last summer, the price is still up in the air. Putting a cap on a playerâ€™s value is tough, and even more so when itâ€™s a young player with barrels of potential like Schenn. But Jon S of Puckineh.com has done just that, and heâ€™s done a pretty good job;
Ryan Suter’s contract of $3.5 million a season is the contract of a team’s number two defenseman, and player that can be counted on in all situations. Presently this is not Luke Schenn, though it could very well be as soon as next season.
Itâ€™s hard to disagree with this statement. Schenn could well be on his way to becoming a defenseman that logs more powerplay time and develops a minor offensive role from the blue line. Currently he isnâ€™t there, but heâ€™s showing strides to getting there, and you have to wonder how much that will play into his contract negotiations.
Burke shouldnâ€™t pay based on potential, and if he isnâ€™t going to, heâ€™ll have to keep things short-term. Luckily, itâ€™s something heâ€™s good at.
When the St. Louis Blues signed Erik Johnson to a two year $2.6 million per season deal they did the right thing (in my opinion) and gave Johnson a deal based on the level he was currently at, and gave him a shorter term so he wasn’t locked in for too long on a bargain contract
This is essentially the deal you want to see for Schenn if youâ€™re a Leafs fan. Based on the uncertainty of the next collective bargaining agreement (which Jon goes on to mention), it may not be smart to give him a lengthy contract at this point. And really, can you see Burke doing that anyway? I canâ€™t.
The flipside to this, however, is that if Burke wonâ€™t commit long term to a player like Schenn, itâ€™s nearly impossible to envision him throwing any major number of years at a player like Brad Richards. Then again, Richards and â€œpotentialâ€ donâ€™t land in the same sentence anymore, so itâ€™s uncertain what type of attitude Burke will have in those types of dealings.
I figured the high end of a Schenn signing could be up in the area of just under 4 million, considering the sheer amount of minutes he can eat up.
As such a deal like Marc Staal’s that sees him paid $3,975,000 a season for 25 minutes of shutdown service is too steep, as Schenn is not yet a (marginal) All-Star or playing top pairing minutes.
It’s simply too much at this point. As much as I wouldn’t cry about a big pay day for Schenn due to my extreme Leafs bias, I really can’t see him landing upwards of 3.3-3.5 million. So if I have to throw an estimate out there right now, I believe Schenn willÂ rake inÂ about 3.1 million per, over three years.
It’ll be an interesting summer for Leafs fans, and a lot of the buzz will be created around returning players who will need new contracts like Gunnarsson, Bozak and MacArthur. And of course, theÂ most importantÂ of all willÂ obviously be Schenn, but will Burke pull something else that’s even bigger?
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