Not only that, but $19M isn't an amount to turn your nose up. If he gets seriously injured or otherwise unable to perform in two years, he'll be glad he signed this contract instead of holding out for $6-8M.
Think about it... Let's say the alternative was playing under the RFA amount for two years and then signing a big contract:
2015-2016 $3,000,000 Two-year contract at lower rate to get to UFA.
2016-2017 $3,000,000 Two-year contract at lower rate to get to UFA.
2017-2018 $7,750,000 (big contract, presuming #'s keep rising and his performance increases) UFA
2018-2019 $7,750,000 UFA
So that's a total of 4-years, $21,500,000. Even if he signed a two-year, $6M contract - giving him the quickest out to UFA status - he's risking about $12M (difference between what he'd have at the end of the 16-17 season and what he's going to have now at the end of the 18-19 season) on the chance that he doesn't have a career-ending injury or otherwise harm his chances at a big contract.
So, yes, he maximizes his salary ceiling by signing a two-year deal, but he also maximizes his salary floor by signing a four-year deal. Risk/Reward.
I think the change in sheer number of games, not only as a whole, but within a stretch of 4-5 days is the biggest challenge. I would not be surprised to see him in GR for at least the next 13 months - if, for nothing more, to allow him the chance to build his endurance. Not just skating, but in the weight room, in practice, and the physicality of the game. That's gotta take some getting used to before someone is ready.
Do I think he could come up and be in the 80th percentile for three or four games? Absolutely. Do I think he'd regress to the 20th percentile after 60 games? Absolutely.
I think you leave him in GR just so he can get a feel for how to battle with a balance. You can't go 150% all the time every time.
Daniel Cleary (let go - 1.5M)
Erik Cole (let go - $4M)
Marek Zidlicky (let go - $3M)
Jonas Gustavsson (let go - 1.85M)
This puts us at a cap space of $10.5M.
Bring back all minor UFA/RFA's:
Brendan Smith (2-years, $2.5M/year = +$1.25M)
Gustav Nyquist (1-year, $1.5M/year = +$0.5M)
Tomas Jurco (1-year, $1.5M/year = +$0.75M)
Joakim Andersson (let go, saving 0.75M)
Teemu Pukkinen (2-years, $1.25M/year = +$0.5M)
Landon Ferraro (2-years, $1.25M/year = +$0.75M)
This leaves the team with roughly $7.25M in cap space.
So we're looking at a loose forward lineup of:
Abdelkader - Datsyuk - Zetterberg
Miller - Glendening - Ferraro
How do you fulfill the other two lines? I think you have to give a long look to Tatar, Nyquist, Sheahan, Pulkkinen, Mantha, and Helm. I'm moving Weiss to the first team that offers to absorb his contract.
Kronwall - ?
DeKeyser - Quincey
Ericsson - Smith
You have to consider Marchenko and Ouellet for a spot too. Maybe move Ericsson and his salary ($4.25M)?
Let's say both Weiss and Ericsson are moved (getting nothing in return but spare minor league parts and cap space). That gives the team $16.5M in space.
My two targets are Arizona/Chicago C Antoine Vermette and Washington D Mike Green. 2-years, $5.5M/year for Vermette and 5-years, $6M/year for Mike Green.
... what's that, you say? Yep, with $5M in cap space, I'm offering Ottawa G Andrew Hammond a $3M deal to play 1-year here splitting 50-50 with Mrazek, giving him the chance to springboard a 40-start season into a long-term contract. That's a 400% increase in his current salary.
So where does Howard go? My goal is to offer him and a player like Jurco-Pulkkinen-Sproul for a true #1 PWF or DEF. What teams need a goalie? Buffalo, Florida (if Luongo retires), Dallas, Edmonton, Arizona, and San Jose, in my opinion. And with there only being one "true" #1 Goalie in FA (Niemi) I think there could be quite a bit of interest.
My most realistic top target: Joe Thornton. Of course, his contract is an average value of $6.75M and, with trading Howard ($5.25M), the Red Wings have $0.50M in room or so based on conservative projections here. I'm offering D Joe Hicketts / F Tomas Nosek / mid-round draft picks if necessary. Nothing more, not with Joe going head-to-head against their front office so much.
I'd sign subban for7 or 8m and gladly lose four first rounders when you get a guy like that. But like others have said it will never happen for various reasons.
Risk Management. You can sign a guy like that, use up 1/9th of your cap space, move him into a different system, and pray that he still performs at the same level-- all while giving up chances in the next FOUR drafts to make up for it if he busts, or you can pass, fill from within, or take a shot in the next FOUR DRAFTS to find FOUR players who have similar potential to be as good.
Do you even watch the wings? Like I'm not tryig to be mean...but really. Do you not remember ANDERSON as our top line center? What caused that? Injuries. The same injury prone players being injured and you think it's going to change this year why?
Why do you think year after year when the same players are injured Itll change this year? Legwand is just a cheap insurance policy that we now wont have.
Are you kidding??? Who was injured when AndersSon was playing??? Datsyuk... Zetterberg...Helm... Weiss... all those guys we just listed. DEPTH = 6-8 guys who can play center, NOT who can play center ON THE FIRST LINE.
I get the feeling you just like to argue with people. Half your arguments make no sense, other than to rile people up.