I wrote the below on a goalie message board a few weeks ago. But I figured with all of the Gustavsson talk going on in the Harding thread, it would be worth while to reprise my thoughts here.
Jonas 'The Monster' Gustavsson "bidding wars" and where will he end up?
I have heard some mention of Jonas Gustavsson "bidding wars" may help dictate where he ends up. But it often seems to be left out that because of his age (24), he will be subjected to a one year entry level contract and thus, a maximum salary. Additionally, because he was never drafted, his ELC will be subjected to the maximum allowable salary for the draft year (2009) in which he signs.
This means that the maximum salary for an ELC in 2009 is $900K with a maximum of $2.85 million in performance bonuses. Therefore, the maximum cap number that Gustavsson or anyone drafted in 2009 could have is $3.75 milion.
So how much will Gustavsson make? This is where the "bidding wars" could take place. Below is a breakdown of the top 5 draft picks for each of the past five years and the cap numbers of their entry level contracts. You'll see that outside of Evgeni Malkin, only the top draft pick from any year has made the maximum allowable amount for an entry level contract. One contract in particular which could be a bench mark for Gustavsson’s is that of the only goalie in the group: Carey Price’s entry level contract pays him a maximum amount of $2.2 million.
2004 (maximum cap number: $3,834,200; Maximum base salary: $984,200; maximum performance bonuses: $2.85 million)
- Alexander Ovechkin $3,834,200
- Evgeni Malkin $3,834,200
- Cam Barker $1,595,000
- Andrew Ladd $1,834,000
- Blake Wheeler $2,825,000 (Wheeler did not sign with Phoenix, the team that originally drafted him and became a free agent. I believe that when he signed a contract with Boston in the summer of 2008, his entry level contract was subject to the maximum allowances of the 2008 draft year.)
2005 (maximum cap number: $3,700,000; Maximum base salary: $850,000; maximum performance bonuses: $2.85 million)
- Sidney Crosby $3,700,000
- Bobby Ryan $1,922,000
- Jack Johnson $2,150,000
- Benoit Pouliot $1,700,000
- Carey Price $2,200,000
2006 (maximum cap number: $3,700,000; Maximum base salary: $850,000; maximum performance bonuses: $2.85 million)
- Erik Johnson $3,700,000
- Jordan Staal $2,200,000
- Jonathan Toews $2,800,000
- Nicklas Backstrom $2,400,000
- Phil Kessel $2,200,000
2007 (maximum cap number: $3,725,000; Maximum base salary: $875,000; maximum performance bonuses: $2.85 million)
- Patrick Kane $3,725,000
- James Van Riemsdyk ??? did not find details of contract
- Kyle Turris $2,696,000
- Thomas Hickey ??? did not find details of contract
- Karl Alzner $1,675,000
2008 (maximum cap number: $3,725,000; Maximum base salary: $875,000; maximum performance bonuses: $2.85 million)
- Steven Stamkos $3,725,000
- Drew Doughty $3,475,000
- Zach Bogosian $2,725,000
- Alex Pietrangelo $2,225,000
- Luke Schenn $1,250,000
Perhaps some more appropriate comparables could be the entry level contracts of Henrik Lundqvist and Fabian Brunnstrom. Lundqvist, Gustavsson’s fellow countryman and goaltender, is often referenced when discussing Gustavsson because it was his Swedish Elite League playoff shutout record that Gustavsson eclipsed this year with a 240 minutes 25 second shutout streak. Lundqvist was a 7th round draft pick in 2000 and signed a three year entry level contract in 2005 as a 23 year old. His contract was worth $1.8795 million per year in a year when the maximum ELC was $3.7 million.
Fabian Brunnstrom was an undrafted yet highly coveted scoring winger from Sweden whom the Dallas Stars eventually signed to a two year entry level contract in the summer of 2008. The then 23 year old Brunnstrom has an ELC with a cap number of $2.225 million ($875k salary; $1.35 million potential bonuses) in a year when the maximum ELC was $3.725 million.
How much does that leave Gustavsson? I would guess that he will sign a one year deal worth between $2.5 and 3 million dollars.
And where will he end up? He's supposedly narrowed his options down to Toronto, Dallas, San Jose and Colorado and plans to visit North America and meet with those organizations. I’ve read that Gustavsson had been contacted by as many as 24 NHL teams. But, he’s supposedly narrowed it down to those four.Brian Burke has already made it public that he’s made an offer and that Gustavsson would back up Toskala. Dallas is rumored to be interested. But, they have Marty Turco in net. San Jose has Evgeni Nabokov and Colorado has Peter Budaj.
Apparently, Patrick Roy was his favorite goaltender and many are speculating that Roy's rejection of the Avs' offer to coach the team has hurt their chances at landing Gustavsson. I would further contend that the Avs' salary cap situation could hurt their chances: they have just 13 players signed for about $43 million next season. San Jose is in a similar situation with 13 players signed for about $46 million.
On the other hand, Dallas has 17 players signed for about $40 million and Toronto has 17 players signed for about $42 million.