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  1. #1
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    Bridge or Pay-for-potential contract? (Gardiner as an example)

    Ok, Gardiner is a RFA and needs a new deal. Nonis and co. obviously feel Jake is a core piece (with what they have said about him) and still think he has more to show. Question is: do you give him a Bridge deal so he can prove his worth or give him a Pay-For-Potential deal to try and catch him before he reaches his potential (IE a JVR type deal)


    Here's how i would describe the two options options:

    Bridge Deal
    The NHL favourite. Little risk of back firing because by the end of the deal you will be a lot more certain of a players true worth. Being a little more sure/confident in a players progress might be worth the extra $1-$2 million per year they get. Think Kadri. $2.9 million now but with one more near 50 point season and he could be looking at that $5 million for 5 years that a similar 2c with 40-50 point season(s) signed in New York, named Derrick Brassard.
    Pay-for-potential
    Big risk, big reward. Philly did this with JVR. They thought it was in the process of backfiring but then the Leafs reaped the rewards after the trade. The fact that i can't really name any others that were successful with this is probably not a great indication of it being a good idea.

    Let's apply this to Jake Gardiner:

    Bridge deal

    Good news is that Jake has 3 years until UFA status (as far as i can tell, might be two at the very least). So a 2-3 year bridge deal would make Jake a UFA, which is never a good thing. As with all RFA scenario's, if the player is serious about playing NHL hockey then the team has the majority of the power which is why a lot of them get less than $3.5 million on bridge deals.

    So because we have no idea what the two sides are looking at cap-wise, let's assume Gardiner gets a standard 2 year deal for $3 million per season. It's a nice raise on his $1.1 million he earned last year but still under his future value as his agent would argue lol.

    Pay-for-potential

    Bad news is that Jake has had a concussion before, never a good thing. Good news, so has JVR and that hasn't affected him at all. Every player is different but that's a little encouraging. Gardiner scored 31 points last season. 44 defenseman out scored him (303 Dmen played in the NHL last year). Jake Gardiner scored 10 goals last season. 23 players scored more goals than he did. So we are dealing with a defenseman that is currently producing but we all agree could improve defensively and maybe even offensively. Now, not many UFAs this year were really comparable with Jake. Maybe we can attach Niskanen's $5.75 million to what Gardiner could get but Nisky had a great 46-point year.

    Because this type of deal is naturally going to be more expensive than a bridge deal, jake gets more than $3 million on this deal. Add in the fact we would buy UFA years from him also increases the value. Jake and his agent will also be fighting to get as much as they possible can, and the Leafs will be fighting to limit risk which makes for a nice compromise and they meet in the middle. I'd speculate that on this sort of deal, Jake would be a 5-6 year $4.0 million per year player.


    So what do you think? Which interests you most? Do you think enough of Gardiner's ceiling that you are willing to give him more money and term to try and cut cap corners down the road? Or are you unsure still and would take the $$$ hit and let him prove what he's worth?


    "Hey Dad. Whatever. Keep cheering." - Mo' Riles

  2. #2
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    Damn. wanted to add a poll but it's too late now.

    I personally like the idea of signing core players to PFP deals. Risky, but in a cap world it's a risk worth taking for players you deem core pieces. Jvr is not only a 25-30 goal scoring 50 point player, he's that plus on a very good contract. That adds a lot of value in every way (to your team and via trade).

    I'd like for Kadri+Gardiner to be considered for this sort of deal. Maybe Bernier too but i think he's already managed to prove his worth and he's also a UFA sooner than both of these guys might mean he's going to cost more anyway.

  3. #3
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    Every single player is a different case.

    We live in a cap world now, so I'm a huge fan of pay-for-potential. I believe as a general manager, there are only two components to everything.

    Assets and value.

    Both of these can be evaluated separately, or hand to hand.

    Assets goes into asset management, acquiring assets with minimal value given up, etc, but obviously this isn't the case. We've already acquired this asset (Jake Gardiner) via FA when we signed him. Great. Now, how do we obtain the most value out of him. Let's talk bang for buck.

    First full season: 7 goals, 23 assists, 30 points, -2 in 75 games
    Second full season: Mostly spent in minors
    Third full season: 10 goals, 21 assists, 31 points, -4 in 80 games

    Defensemen in this point range last year:

    Jacob Trouba
    Olli Maatta
    Nick Leddy
    Hampus Lindholm
    Justin Schultz

    With defensemen though, you can never just look at points and say that's the end of the world. Jake's obviously had a concussion, he's softer than most defensemen and we have Morgan Rielly who does what he does but much better.

    When you consider Jake's age and eligibility til UFA (3 years), a bridge contract makes more sense than a long term deal IMO. I want to know if Jake will progress defensively enough, because, his more times than not, his offensive capabilities do NOT offset his defensive deficiencies. Rielly's do.

    Jake is 24 and his last contract was 3 years, 3.35M total, an AAV of 1.16.

    As an RFA, your ideal contract would be 2-3 years, 3M per year AAV. You give him a nice raise, a 9M deal over 3 years and let him prove himself. If Jake decides to complete his game and become more than just a good offensive player, then sure, pay him when he's a UFA at age 27.

    But at this point, I'm not sold on Jake become a complete defenseman that we can invest in a value deal for like we can with Rielly.

    Just my opinion.

  4. #4
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    Also, hi Opti.

  5. #5
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    Hey TO. Wassup brah.


    You remind me of a point i forgot. Jake is an OFD and they get paaaaaid. More than the average two way dman or shutdown guy. One season is all he needs to get a big deal (Ie Niskanen)

    So imo a pay-for-potential deal is even more intriguing with offensive guys. Try and catch them before they hit 60 points (Jvr/Kadri) or 40 points (Gardiner) or a Vezina (Bernier/Bob). Not saying all these guys are going to reach that ceiling but if they reach that milestone while not locked up we're going to have to pay.

    We're going to have cap space though. It's not a big issue but it's an interesting discussion imo. If you can free up cap anywhere, it's always a great thing.

  6. #6
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    I would go with a long term deal for like 4-5 years 3.75 - 4 I think he will be worth that

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexander_37 View Post
    I would go with a long term deal for like 4-5 years 3.75 - 4 I think he will be worth that
    that would be good on a 5 year deal to eat more of his UFA years

  8. #8
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    Eat into his UFA years for sure. This kid can be really good and I want him to be a part of this teams growth and eventual success. I think its looking clearer that Franson will be gone at some point before anyone else on the back end so lock of Gardiner.

    Definitely feel a trade coming on.

  9. #9
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    At worst I see him as a second pairing guy who is average defensively and above average on offense. At best he could be a Letang type guy on offense except not **** at defense and 5v5 play.

  10. #10
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    Bridge or Pay-for-potential contract? (Gardiner as an example)

    If you're going to do the pay for potential deal, don't waste your time with a silly term. When you take that risk on a player, you sure as he'll better be banking on his skillset while eating away his UFA years.

    What I'm trying to say is, if you're going to be paying jake gardiner 4-4.5M from ages 24-27 (his RFA years), you sure as hell better sign him to 7 years and not 4 or 5. There's no point of overpaying for 3 RFA years and then getting good value for one only 1-2 UFA years.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TO Rapz View Post
    If you're going to do the pay for potential deal, don't waste your time with a silly term. When you take that risk on a player, you sure as he'll better be banking on his skillset while eating away his UFA years.

    What I'm trying to say is, if you're going to be paying jake gardiner 4-4.5M from ages 24-27 (his RFA years), you sure as hell better sign him to 7 years and not 4 or 5. There's no point of overpaying for 3 RFA years and then getting good value for one only 1-2 UFA years.
    I feel you.

  12. #12
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    I do a bridge deal every time for one reason. You force the young player to continue to work hard if they want to make the big bucks. You see a lot of these kids now getting crazy money at age 21-22-23 and so what is their motivation to go to the gym and push to get better? They have plenty of time to win the cup so why not have fun? You see most of these bridge guys with chips on their shoulders and most of which earn the big money next time around by having great seasons. I want Gardiner to reach his potential so put it on him to get there. If he reaches it I'd gladly pony up the dough.

  13. #13
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    In this case I would try to avoid the bridge contract. League revenues are going up quite a bit with the Sportsnet deal so the cap will start going up significantly next year. Any longer term (6-7 years?) deal they can negotiate now will only become a better deal as the cap increases. I dont know for sure that Jake will meet expectations, but I don't expect regression either. If you can lock him up for 7 years at 4-4.5 or so Jake should be happy and it would be about market value now, but a huge bargain in a couple of years.

  14. #14
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    Paul Hendrick @HennyTweets 13m
    Leafs and Jake Gardiner appear to be closing in on a new contract. Indications point toward a long term deal. #TMLtalk


    I like this Kyle Dubas guy

  15. #15
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    Bridge. Gardiner seems like the type that could go nowhere. Frustrating style for sure.

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