Former Leaf Pierre Engvall
Photo credit: Sportsnet

Former Leaf becomes the target of a heated rant over absurd contract

Published January 30, 2024 at 5:19 PM

Daily Faceoff's Johnny Lazarus and Frank Seravalli debated on their morning show about the significance of role players and whether or not they should be signed to long-term deals. Seravalli specified Pierre Engvall as a prime reason why you should never hand out enormous contracts to players of that ilk.

The former Toronto Maple Leafs forward put up 42 goals and 83 points in 226 games across his first 4 seasons with the club. He was dealt to the New York Islanders ahead of the trade deadline in 2022-23 for a third round pick in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft. Engvall ended the season with 9 points in 18 games for his new club before signing a 7-year deal worth $3 million per season on the 1st of July.

Even with the salary cap going up exponentially, you don't want to be tied up for 5-7 years with a role player who's still commanding a sizeable chunk of your cap. This season he has just 5 goals and 14 points through 43 games, averaging 15:06 TOI, and has an egregious 23:12 giveaway to takeaway ratio.

The Islanders still have 6 seasons of Engvall and he carries a modified no-trade clause. The $3 million AAV isn't going to hurt them now but a lot of these role players lose their lustre after 2-3 years before becoming a burden for both head coach and general manager:

"No, the Engvall contract is worse. Why on earth would you give a player of that impact on your team seven years?

What is the best case scenario for Pierre Engvall? Yes I know, he does more than obviously putting up points, and yeah, some may say 'oh this guy is in tremendous shape, he's chiseled like a Greek god' is what I was told."

Lazarus interjected, stating that although contractually it might not look great on the books, Engvall is still beloved within the Islanders community because of his style of player - reminiscent "of that Barry Trotz style that Islanders fans have become obsessed with".

Seravalli came back with another example that might hit close to home with Kyle Clifford when he signed a 5-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings. He was traded to Toronto before the contract expired:

"You know who else did that in other markets? Think of guys that got super long deals, they never really worked out. This is a bad example but the one guy that stood out to was me Kyle Clifford in LA - 5 year deal. Those guys aren't really all that dissimilar. Any time you take super long deals and give them to guys of that ilk, I think by like year four, you're like okay this guy has served his useful purpose, we could have just done with four years."

While Engvall isn't a terrible player and he's not costing the Islanders an arm and a leg - for the time being - these super long-term deals eventually rear their ugly head. If he were signed to a 4-year deal worth $3.5 million to $4 million per season, that would have been far more palatable and easier to deal with than a 7-year contract.

Role players are beloved within the organization because they carry the intangibles that most players don't have - penalty killing, fighting, blocking shots. The first half of the contract generally works out well but then once it drags on any further, it becomes a tough pill to swallow when you need to re-sign your core players and have unnecessary money tied up elsewhere.

January 30   |   556 answers
Former Leaf becomes the target of a heated rant over absurd contract

Is Pierre Engvall's contract as bad as Frank Seravalli is making it out to be? ($3M x7 years)

Yes, it's horrible33159.5 %
No, it's not that bad20737.2 %
It's a good deal183.2 %
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