It’s been twelve years since the New York Islanders signed one of the most ridiculous contracts in NHL history. They signed goalie Rick DiPietro to a 15-year deal.
At the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Islanders drafted goalie Rick DiPietro with the first overall pick. It was only the second time in history (at that point) that a goalie was selected first overall.
With a 2.45 GAA and 0.913 SV% in 30 games for Boston University, the Islanders saw their future between the pipes with DiPietro. They had so much faith in DiPietro that they would trade a goalie they drafted fourth overall pick in 1997; Roberto Luongo.
A few years later the Islanders would show that faith again in the form of one of the longest deals ever given in the NHL. (If not for
‘s 15 year deal with the New Jersey Devils DiPietro would hold the honor all to himself.)
Could Have Worked…Sorta
The Islanders would have to wait till the 2003-04 season before DiPietro would feature fulltime for them. In the two seasons before he signed that 15-year deal in 2006, DiPietro averaged a 2.69 GAA and a 0.906 SV% with the Isles.
A good return that solidified his skill in the eyes of the team. So on September 12th, 2006 they signed him to a 15-year $67.5 million deal. A deal that would carry an AAV of $4.5 million until the 2020-21 season, when Rick would be 39-years-old.
For two seasons after signing Rick DiPietro made good on the faith shown to him by the Islanders. He’d play in 125 for the Islanders and average a 2.7 GAA and 0.911 SV%. He even finished eighth in Vezina voting in 2006-07.
And then the injuries started.
The concussions he picked up in 2007 was the start of it all. He’d only miss a few games at the end of the 2006-07 season, but after that came hip surgery, followed by a string of surgeries in both knees, more concussions and a surgery on his groin.
Between 2008-09 and 2012-13 Rick DiPietro would play in 50 games for the Islanders. DiPietro was featuring in 60+ games per season before injuries sidelined him.
Before he missed an unprecedented amount of games through injury DiPietro looked like he could be exactly what the New York Islanders saw in him. He could have been that staple in net for the team. Again, if not for injury.
With the limited playing time and his ridiculous contract, the Islanders used a compliance buyout on June 3rd, 2013, a provision of the new CBA, to wipe DiPietro’s cap from the books.
At the time of the buyout in 2013, the New York Islanders were still committed to paying Rick DiPietro for another eight years. The remainder of DiPietro’s deal would be paid to him over double the length of the remaining duration, 16 years, but, thankfully, wouldn’t count against the cap.
That means the New York Islanders are still committed to paying Rick DiPietro $1.5 million for the next eleven years. So we’ll still be talking about Rick DiPietro until 2028-29.
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The deal was absolutely horrendous then as it is now. Fifteen years on a player is always going to be a mistake. I don’t blame DiPietro, any of us would sign that contract. But the Islanders had no reason to give him that type of deal. Their irresponsibility cost them.