I have a fun game for you to try out. Next time you are due for a raise, tell your boss to keep paying you the same amount, but in a year they can start paying you a salary of $2 million, because that's how much you'll be worth. Then report back to me how long it took for you to fit your belongings into a box.
Seems ludicrous, right? Well that's the way the NHL works.
The debate will never cease on how much a player should be paid, or how a team is overpaying for someone. Seriously, not even the greatest player in the world will escape without criticism for the number of Ben Franklin wallet photos he's walking around with. I'll give you an example; I read somewhere that Alexander Ovechkin may not deserve the money he's making, or the length of his contract, because he plays such a physical game that it's hard to tell how durable he'll be. Really? That's the argument? For this guy?
On the other hand, players today demand contracts that are older than middle schoolers. That means General Managers are playing a lot more Miss Cleo than they ever have. How do you know how good or bad a player will be in the year 2017? What if 6 years pass, the guy turns into a skating mascot and you're still paying him $6 million a year? Whoops. Sometimes, it turns out he was injured before you even signed him!
Players are investments. With an investment, the least that you want is to break even. Ideally, you get a steal. However, more often than not you're left wondering why you emptied your savings into webvan.com, and believe me, there will be more than one webvan.com lacing up his skates this October.
What it comes down to is spending wisely. Anytime you put your money into a hypothetical, it's a gamble. You just have to play the odds in any given situation. How has he played thus far in his career? Does he have upside, or has he reached his max potential? Do I really see him playing at age 42? Why is my 12 year old cousin blogging about how much of an idiot I am?
Life for a General Manager is hard. Remember how your mom used to criticize you for wasting all of your money on baseball cards or Ninja Turtles? Now imagine you are a GM and have a couple million moms, constantly scrutinizing every penny you spend. And, these moms aren't lovable-casserole-making-moms, they're annoying-fanboy-blogger-moms. Not a terribly nurturing bunch.
Remember, no NHL GMs are psychic (none that I know of), so maybe cut them some slack. Or maybe e-mail them the name of a good tarot card reader.