Welcome to the September issue of the reader mailbag. Training camps for the 2022 season are about to get underway. Let’s get started.
(Note: Submitted questions have been edited for clarity and length.)
Which big contract signed this offseason do you think ages the worst? Nazem Kadri/JT Miller/Jonathan Huberdeau/Ondrej Palat worry me because of term given they’re all 30-plus. Tage Thompson/Josh Norris seem like a lot of money for their short resumes. Kris Letang or Evgeni Malkin could probably be the worst, but I don’t think the Penguins care how they age. They’re milking the last of that core’s window for all it’s worth. — Matthew W.
That’s actually quite a nuanced question because it flies against the conventional wisdom — which is the contracts that age the worst usually involve the 30-somethings that sign for five-to-eight years and will be doddering along on their skates by the time they get to the final season. The reality is, there may be even more risk to giving long-term dollars to a younger player on the basis of a tiny snapshot of promise.
So your example of Tage Thompson. Full credit for a breakthrough 38-goal, 68-point season at the age of 24 with the Buffalo Sabers last year. Sometimes, it takes a big man (6-foot-5) a little longer to find his NHL stride.