TSN is reporting that Erat today signed a seven year, 31.5-million dollar contract extension, for an average cap hit of 4.5million/year. Erat set a career high this season with 23 goals.
It's difficult to compare contracts from summer to summer, but this signing should make it painfully obvious that Penner's contract should no longer be considered an overpay- even if it was at the time the market has changed, and I suspect that as time goes by that contract will look nicer and nicer. Especially if Penner pots thirty.
One thing to remember about the NHL now- salaries are a zero sum game. There's a definite amount of money out there to be spent, and if teams are spending more on their restricted free agents, perhaps the grossly inflated UFA market becomes more realistic as fewer dollars are available. Either that, or end of roster players become less and less valuable, as good-elite RFA/UFA players eat up all the dollars.
Either way, the Penner signing wasn't bad, and Hemsky was an absolute steal. And we should stop talking about Horcoff signing for less than 5.5 million/season.
Update: TSN.ca is reporting that the contract has been rejected by the NHL for violating a clause in the CBA regulating year-to-year fluctuations in Salary. They than point out that it means the Predators will need to move the dollars around respective years and than resubmit it. It's presently modelled 3.5, 5.25, 5.25, 6, 5.5, 3.5, 2.5. I have no idea what advantage there is to distributing the dollars like that.