I Want The NHL To Investigate The Tampa Bay Lightning Because They're Definitely Paying Players Under The Table

This story flew under the radar a bit yesterday somehow. Brayden Point signed a bridge deal to stay in Tampa Bay for $6.75M AAV. That is fucking stealing. I know that Point was an RFA and that he didn’t have any leverage. I know that. But neither did Mitch Marner. Marner signed his deal a little earlier this summer, he set the market, and he’s making basically $10.9M over the next 5 years. Not max term, not quite a bridge deal.

Marner…22 years-old. 5’10 and lets say 180lbs. He scored 69 points in 2017-18 in his second year and last year had a big jump to 94 points. Brayden Point 23 years-old…5’10 and let’s say 175lbs. He had 66 points in 2017-18 and then saw a big jump to 92 points last year. I am not saying these two guys are identical. I am not saying they’re interchangeable. I’d rather have Marner than Point, all things being equal. But they’re NOT. Not even fucking close. Marner is not a $4M AAV premium better than Point. It’s preposterous. So preposterous that there isn’t a contract like it in the entire fucking league

Zero comparable contracts. FUCK the Lightning. You know where I can find comparable contracts…on the Tampa Bay Lightning roster.

The going rate for one of the best defensemen in the NHL is 11,000,000 thanks to the Doughty and Erik Karlsson deals. Victor Hedman, who is every bit as good as those guys and possibly better…$7.85M. I know he signed earlier than them, but he didn’t get max money as he should’ve.

The going rate for top line forward was set by Toews and Kane $10.5M AAV. Stamkos signed after them for $8.5M. Nikita Kucherov signed the same summer as John Tavares. Tavares got $11M, Kucherov signed for $9.5M.

That is without considering they’ve got McDonough, Palat, Gourde, and Tyler Johnson on below market value deals. You wanna know why the Lightning boat race everyone during the regular season and clinch the Presidents Trophy before the Winter Classic…that is why. They cheat. Clearly. Don’t tell me about the no income tax in Florida either. Fuck that. If these guys are signing lower value deals because the end money is the same then agents and players association aren’t doing their jobs. They should be striving for the same number across the board. Rising tides lift all boats. The real dollars matter, but if it is THIS big of an advantage then the league needs to step in a fix this in the next CBA. Maybe put something in where teams that play in a state of provence with a bigger state tax can go over the salary cap to retain their own guys and make up the difference. So Tampa Bay can’t sit there well under the cap, retaining all these guys not because they’re great negotiators but because their state government allows them to. The league should adjust the next CBA to ensure competitive balance because the Lightning shouldn’t get to have sunshine, warm weather, a media environment that is a cake walk, a sold out barn every night, AND a tax free state. It’s not fair.

This has nothing to do with the Blackhawks needing to sign Debrincat and Strome next summer. Not at all. Just looking out for the best interest of the league from a competitive balance perspective. That’s all. Having said that…it’d be pretty sweet if Debrincat signed for Point money and not Marner money.