The bar's been set for Victor Hedman's next contract

It's a little early to be wondering about the 2012 NHL off-season, as the 2011-12 season has yet to happen. Yet, the news that New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres announcing they had re-signed 2009 draftees John Tavares and Tyler Myers to six and seven-year contracts (respectively) sort of forces the topic of conversation.

Tavares will be paid between $4 and $6 million over the life of his new six-year, $33 million contract. It is a reward earned not only for his young face-of-the-franchise status, but for putting up 121 points over his first two seasons in the NHL. It helps the Islanders avoid a long, drawn out negotiation drama that could lead to bad publicity.

Look at the contract numbers for Tavares, the #1 overall selection in the 2009 draft, and then let your mind wander to the #2 draft pick from the same draft class. You may begin to hope that Tavares' camp and Islanders ownership just helped the Tampa Bay Lightning dodge a bullet when it comes to re-signing Victor Hedman for something reasonable.

...Up until you look at Myers, a defenseman taken #12 overall from the same draft class, and his new $38.5 million dollar deal. The contract will pay him $12 million next year. At that point, you should do a facepalm.

Tyler is putting up stronger offensive numbers than Hedman, scoring 85 points in his first two seasons compared to Victor's 46. Myers also earned the Calder Trophy his rookie season. Myers having a better plus / minus over the first two seasons of his career (plus-13) may look impressive, but considering he's been playing with goaltender Ryan Miller, he's had help. Victor Hedman has an even plus-minus in his first two seasons, while playing in front of the likes of Mike Smith and Dan Ellis among others. Not bad, considering.

Between the Tavares contract and the Myers contract, you can get an idea of just what Hedman is going to be making in the future: Somewhere between $5 - 5.5 million a season for the length of his next contract. How well Hedman plays this season will determine if it's closer to the high mark or a lower number.

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