Today, the New Jersey Devils announced that they have signed their 2011 first round pick Adam Larsson to a three year entry-level-contract. Up against a 5pm deadline to sign Larsson (or face paying his SEL team a $100K fee for extending out his negotiating rights to 8/15) they inked a deal that will pay the Swedish defenseman the maximum rookie salary of $925,000 per year.
Per Tom Gulitti Larsson will also receive the maximum AHL salary of $70,000 and a signing bonus, which will likely be the maximum of $92,500 but doesn't seem to be officially released yet.
Considering the above Larsson will carry a cap hit of $925K next year. That is well below the $2.5MM to $3.5MM many of us here speculated he would get. Why the low cap hit? The contract lacks any of the traditional performance bonuses afforded to rookies via the CBA (head to capgeek.com for a detailed explanation on the different bonus structures for rookies).
In a conference call today (audio is here via the Devils website) an unusually chatty Lou Lamoriello makes a point to explain why the Devils-as an organization- don't believe in performance bonuses and to commend Larsson for his commitment to the team. Transcription below was from Gulitti's Fire & Ice blog:
"I am not one who is a believer in the rookie bonuses that is in the National Hockey League CBA—the A, Bs and Cs as they’re called. Yet, everyone in the league that are drafted certainly in the top areas seem to get them. Nobody (with the Devils) has not gotten them and our conversations have been that this would not be something that’s advantagous for us to do and the reason is because every player in our locker room that we have drafted have bought into that philosphy and nobody worries about individual things and only the team and it’s a commitment that’s made. Getting a young player who his peers who have been drafted below him and above him, for him to understand and agree to that—and also his representation—this young man is as mature as he can get at his age."
Lamoriello said "it is impressive" that Larsson made that decision.
"The reason for emphasizing this is that’s the decision that the player made to be a part of the Devils and also not to be any different than any other player in that locker room, including some of his teammates that he played with prior to coming here," Lamoriello said.
I ask that you listen to the conference call if only to hear Lamoriello swat away a question from Mark Everson.
While some believe that Larsson should play in the SEL this year, the current plan is for Larsson to play in North America. Whether that is in the AHL or the NHL remains to be seen.
Thanks to user Elesias for putting up a fanshot about this, but I felt this signing definitely needed to be featured on the website right now. I am sure John will be adding his thoughts on this signing and others later tonight.