Big Money

No, really! I want to be the highest paid King!

I know some Kings fans let out a collective groan when the salary arbitrator granted Shea Weber a one year, $7.5MM award on Wednesday. What does this mean for the on-going Doughty negotiations? Not much, in my opinion.

Many are assuming that Weber’s award would effectively increase Doughty’s contract value and sure, Doughty’s camp can try to use Weber’s arbitration outcome as leverage, but I highly doubt it will be a successful bargaining tool. Doughty and Weber’s situations are an apples and oranges comparison:

- Weber had arbitration rights, Doughty didn’t.
– A one year, $7.5MM award is significantly different from the long term contract the Kings are trying to work out with Doughty (latest from Helene Elliott in July: “nine years at more than $6.5 million per year”)
– Weber is turning 26 in a week, Doughty is 21 (22 in December)
– Which means, under the current CBA, Weber has only 1 more summer of RFA, Doughty has 3
– Weber career totals: 402 GP, 80 G, 134 A, 214 Pts, +23. A Norris trophy finalist last year, losing to Nicklas Lidstrom
– Doughty career totals: 239 GP, 33 G, 93 A, 129 Pts, +16. After a stellar, Norris trophy nominated 2nd season (lost to Duncan Keith), his stats fell last year likely due to the concussion he suffered

I think a new contract has yet to be settled not so much because of the $$, but more so the length. It is in the Kings’ benefit to tie up Doughty long term so the 9 year contract quoted by Helene is appropriate. Doughty on the other hand might not think so. A long term contract signed now will likely take Doughty through his prime and unless his stats prove otherwise, the value of the contract he signs next will take a hit. A shorter contract that takes him to UFA status will be much more financially advantageous for Doughty. He will only be 25 then (assuming UFA rules do not change in new CBA) and could potentially reap a bigger payday in an open market. Signing a long term contract at that time would make sense.

The Kings could also go in the other direction (a la Jack Johnson) and offer him a 3 year contract. They’ll retain his rights as he’ll still be RFA for one more season and can try to renegotiate a long term deal at that time. The problem with this is that Doughty will have arbitration rights when the contract expires and will likely hold out for an arbitration decision on a one year deal. Then he’ll be UFA.

As for my prediction…
$55.2MM, 8 years ($6.9MM cap hit)
NMC AND NTC
Will sign 9/2/2011

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