I'm sure we'd all love to re-sign Zach Parise to a long-term contract and make him a Devil for life, but any such deal is going to have to differ from the Kovalchuk contract, since we have new rules on structuring long-term contracts. Per TG, the new rules are as follows:
Again, the amendment stipulates the following CBA changes:
**A contract of five seasons or more is considered a long-term contract.
**If the long-term contract extends beyond the player’s 41st birthday, the cap hit will be calculated two ways.
A) The average of the player’s salary every year in the contract up to the year after the player turns 41. (The player’s age on June 30 at the end of the season is considered his age for the full season).
B) In subsequent years, the actual salary for that season will be his cap hit. So, if the player makes $2 million in the season in which his 41 and $1 million when he is 42, his cap hit will be $2 million the first year and $1 million the second.
**For a long-term contract in which any of three years in it average to more than $5.75 million, then for purposes of calculating the salary cap hit, none of years, ages 36 to 40, will be valued at less than $1 million. In other words, if Player X has three years that average more than $5.75 million in a contract of longer than five years and he would make $600,000 at age 38, for the purposes of calculating the cap hit, $1 million would be the salary added into the total—not $600,000—for that season.
There's no guarantee that Parise wants to sign a lifetime deal, but let's suppose that he does and put out contract proposals. ZP turns 41 on July 28, 2025. That means that any contract signed through the 2024-2025 season will count in calculating his cap hit - and any years beyond will not. Let's assume then, that any such lifetime contract will be exactly 14 years - any less would be a detriment to giving the player the most money possible.
So...how would you structure Parise's deal? The ground rules are:
(1) "I think Zach will do the right thing for the team and take less money" is not a valid rationale for reducing Parise's cap hit. In essence, if you're offering less than what we gave Kovalchuk, you would need to be able to face Zach and say "We're offering you less money than Kovalchuk because ______."
(2) His salary in any one year cannot be less than $1 M. As the above rules dictate, the last 5 years of the deal will count for a $1M cap hit regardless.
(3) The contract must either be front-loaded or equal money in every year. There is no reason for Parise to accept a back-loaded contract and risk losing out on a lot of money if he gets injured/needs to retire.