Get ready to see #5 for quite some time. The New Jersey Devils announced on Saturday that they have re-signed Adam Larsson to a six year contract. According to Mike Halford at Pro Hockey Talk, the contract is worth $25 million for an average value of $4.166 million per year. It is broken down as such:
Safe to say the Devils no longer operate in Lou's contractual cone of silence: pic.twitter.com/ifocZaornS— Mike Halford (@HalfordPHT) July 25, 2015
Earlier this month, I asked the question regarding what should be Larsson's next contract. My conclusion was that given what he has shown - and not shown - so far, I was not convinced that he was really worth more than $3 million per year. Clearly, Ray Shero, Larsson, and Larsson's agent at a minimum. disagree with that. I did concede, though, that more than $4 million would be needed for a long-term deal. That much was true, and so the Devils are banking on Larsson's potential to a degree.
The first two years of the contract are more in line with what I think Larsson has earned so far: $2.5 million in the first year, $3 million in the next. It appears to me that the four years after that are based on what kind of defenseman he organization thinks Larsson will become. Since it's at least $4.5 million in each of those four years, they see him as a potential first-pairing caliber defenseman. That's certainly possible. Larsson is still 22 and while he's played quite a bit, he has shown legitimate signs of improvement last season. Signs that he can be someone who can handle significant minutes against tough competition well. Hopefully he will reach that level as opposed to becoming a Dan Girardi-style first-pairing defenseman: someone paid like one but doesn't perform like one. Preferbly by that third year, when the salary jumps up beyond $4 million.
Nevertheless, it's a deal I understand. While I'm not wild about the amount, I get that it was needed for the term and I think Larsson has a good chance to justify it. So I like it for now.
Larsson was the last restricted free agent the Devils had to sign this summer. Short of some minor signings (Albany needs players, and NJ could use some right wing depth) and perhaps some personnel changes (e.g. a new director of scouting), this may be the last major event of the summer for the Devils. This signing also means there will be no arbitration hearings involving the Devils. That's not really a surprise, but it's not a bad thing either. Lastly, you can safely buy a Larsson #5 jersey. I doubt the Devils would have made this commitment if they thought to move him down the road. He's signed through 2020-21 and that's a good thing.
Now you know my opinion on the signing, I want to read what you have to write about it. What do you think of Larsson's new contract? Do you think he can justify the $25 million, six year deal? Please leave your answers and reactions to Larsson's new deal in the comments. Thank you for reading.