In September of 2006 Rick DiPietro signed a record 15 year deal with the New York Islanders. Many experts thought this was ridiculous for many reasons. The most obvious reason being in 2006 he was 25 years old, did they really believe he would play until he was 40? Like it or not the Islanders married DiPietro for the rest of his career. The first step was dealing Roberto Luongo to make room for DiPietro, the next step was going against the wishes of the NHL and giving a player a 15 year contract. You think they would have learned when they gave Alexi Yashin a 10 year deal (which, 2 years after his last NHL game they are still paying on).
DiPietro over the past year has had both hips worked on and also both knees. While I can’t sit here and tell you there’s no way he is coming back to the level he played at previously, I will say this, it’s awfully hard to be a butterfly goalie with two surgically repaired hips and two surgically repaired knees. I have serious doubts as to whether or not he is going to make it to year 15 (in 2021). The worst case scenario for the Islanders is that he doesn’t make it until 37 when contract insurance kicks in (in 2018). At a little over $4 million a year (on average), it’s not a bad deal except if he isn’t playing, paying him that 4 million is going to sting year after year.
Given the teams that Rick has played on, his stats are very good. He has a career record of 117-112, a GAA of 2.79 and a save percentage of 90.5%. He was a first overall pick so the expectations were going to be high. He has met the expectations, minus the injuries. My wife is a huge fan of his and she and I both have our fingers crossed that he is able to regain his past form. Last night was his first NHL start in over a year and a half. Let’s see how well he can hold up for the rest of the season.
As far as the hobby is concerned, Rick’s autographed cards are very inexpensive. Most of his better signed cards can be had for between $3 – $7. The card below which is one of my favorites went for $4. He was one of the most anticipated players ever drafted in the draft. I feel that he has done well given what he has had to work with. If he can come back to his old form, this would be a steal, I guess we’ll see.