Yup. $7.5 million is an absurd amount. I get it, Weber is talented. He’s very talented even, probably top 10 defenseman in the league, and certainly top 15 or 20. Now he’s entrenched up at the top of the salary hits (and not coming down after this one year contract expires, that’s for sure). But more importantly, what does that mean for Doughty, since that’s what those of us on this site care most about.
In this case let’s take a look at what I said yesterday:
However, if the arbitrator decides that Weber is worth somewhere around $7+ million, we could be in for some trouble. Weber is 4 years older, and has NOT been a Norris Trophy finalist. Even a half-way decent agent can make a compelling case that Doughty should match or exceed Weber’s cap hit. Sure, as fans we can hope Doughty takes a home-team discount, but really, who are we kidding?
Well we are clearly kidding ourselves, that much is sure. Doughty can easily point to this contract and argue that he deserve AT LEAST what Weber was making. He’s got plenty to argue that he should be making more than Weber, including (most obviously) his Norris-trophy nomination in only his second season. He has also already scored more points in a season (59) than Weber (53), so the potential for a substantially more effective offensive player is certainly there.
So is there even a glimmer of hope that Doughty makes less than the $7.5 million in this deal? I’d say it’s a slim chance, but it’s there. Here are a few factors that you’d better believe Lombardi is going to be arguing to Doughty and his agent:
- Weber is older, thus has a more proven track record. Until Doughty can string a few strong years together, he lacks that pattern.
- Weber is a Captain. The leadership role can’t be underestimated, and though Doughty may be important to the team, there’s certainly SOME premium in pay deserved for serving in the role of Captain.
- RFA status. Let’s be honest, Weber COULD have played elsewhere this season. If the Predators had elected not to file for arbitration, it’s feasible that Weber could have laced them up for another team. Barring a trade, that’s not happening for the Kings.
And of course there’s the home-town discount. Perhaps that is helped by the fact that Doughty grew up watching the Kings, and perhaps has some fondness, but I wouldn’t count on it…