NHL players have a reputation of connecting with their fans more than other leagues. Las Vegas fans will witness this beginning in June of 2017 when we finally get our first players. Player’s salaries may be the reason why the relationship with fans is better than in the NFL, MLB, and especially the NBA. NHL players are rich, but not Scrooge McDuck rich. For example, Milan Lucic got $42 million over seven years to protect Conner McDavid. Same deal for Kyle Okposo who moved upstate for 7 years. Crazy numbers, and crazy amount of years. However, both deals are bargains when comparing it to the NBA’s version of Oprah’s car giveaway.
Apparently, ten points a game will get you almost $100 million. Shooting guard Evan Turner signed for $70 million with Portland. Turner is a nice player, I’d compare him to the NHL’s Mikkel Boedker. Boedker tallied 17 goals this season, and just signed a four year deal worth $16 million with San Jose. Turner’s $70 mil is also over four years, but he’s making $55 million more than Boedker. Overall on day one, the NBA spent $1.7 billion on player salaries. The discrepancy is ridiculous, NHL players should feel rooked. Maybe they are, but that’s for another day.
Las Vegas has many, many millionaires. In fact, there will be people making a lot more than all of the NHL players on the Strip. NHL and NFL players are the blue collared athletes, and they’re paid like it. Unlike those in the NBA, where a guy who has never made the All Star Game (Mike Conley) just cashed in a deal worth more than $30 million per year. Arguably that’s what makes NHLers so relatable to fans.
Las Vegas, being a close-knit community, will get to know these players well. Through charity work, golfing events, trips to Wet and Wild, dining at Capo’s, whatever, you’ll see players out. Also, many have families, and want their kids to settle in quickly.
Plus there’s the owner. We only know The Creator from a distance really, but doesn’t it feel like we know him really well? He’s incredibly humble, and comes across as someone players will want to win for. That’s important, because the owner sets the standards. His franchise will operate the way he does, through hard work and humility.
In a town filled with money, the players won’t be the big fish. They will be in other departments. No one in Las Vegas is asking for Blue Man Group’s autograph over Matt Beleskey or Kevin Hayes. The players will be adored, and embraced every where they go. Las Vegas locals are excited and at the same time the players will be too. It’ll be a great relationship.
Even though The Creator will sign players for tens of millions, no matter what, they’ll always be better deals than signing a bum like Matthew Dellavedova for $38 million over four years.