For Pittsburgh, this is possibly a can't lose proposition:
- There's always the chance that the CBA being negotiated this summer will exclude ridiculous, cap-circumventing terms like this, with some kind of retroactive clauses to get owners out of the deep holes they happily dug (see also: Luongo, Kovalchuk, et al);
- If the CBA deals with both the salary cap and floor, there's a good chance that it will include a haircut on existing contracts the way the previous did -- my guess is that the haircut is priced into this contract and the cap hit for Crosby will be less than what's indicated here;
- If Crosby plays well, it keeps the asset safe in Pittsburgh;
- If Crosby doesn't play well, he'll probably be on the injury reserve with another concussion or similar condition -- where the team doesn't have to pay his salary
Personally though if I was a GM, I wouldn't be signing such contracts before I knew what the CBA was going to do them. Similarly, if I was a player, I'd want to know if I needed to price in a haircut into my contract.
Isn't hockey fun!