Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 05/26/13 at 06:01 AM ET
The New York Post's Larry Brooks penned a superb recap of the Rangers' 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday night, wondering what the future holds for Henrik Lundqvist and Rick Nash's team, but his main Sunday column includes ponderings about the Flyers tossing an offer sheet at Ryan McDonaugh, others tossing money at RFA's-to-be Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo, whether Pascal Dupuis will cash in as an UFA, and, well...
Why the NHLPA didn't resist the NHL's insistence upon "cap recapture" mechanisms in the new CBA, which are designed to screw the teams that signed players to "lifetime contracts," the Rangers and Brad Richards included:
All these months later, it still is baffling that the NHLPA did not take a stand against the NHL’s insistence on applying the punitive cap-recapture provision of the collective bargaining agreement to contracts that already had been registered. Because if Brad Richards is bought out next month and Marian Hossa is bought out following either this year or next, the cap-recapture will be among the primary reasons management would have felt compelled to act.
The final three seasons of Richards’ nine-year, $60 million front-loaded deal are worth $1 million per. Under the cap-recapture formula that was among Brian Burke’s pet projects, if Richards were to retire with three seasons remaining on his deal, the Rangers would be hit with a dead-space charge of $5.667 million per. If he were retire with two seasons remaining on the contract, the charge would be $8.5 million per. And, counterintuitively, if he were to play all but the final season of his deal, the Rangers would be hit with an untenable charge of $17 million for 2019-20.
Remember this: If the Rangers defer the buyout decision until next summer off the belief No. 19 will re-establish himself after a normalized 2013-14 season that includes training camp and the pre-camp conditioning regimen and Richards is injured next year, the amnesty option disappears. And the Rangers then become at risk for either a cap-recapture or a difficult normal course buyout with which dead space would be applied for years.
Hossa has continued to play at an extremely high level for the Blackhawks. But the winger’s 12-year, $63 million deal that runs through 2020-21 features the final four seasons at $1 million per. If he were to retire with two years remaining, the charge would be $9.187.5 million per. If he were to play all but the final season of his deal, Chicago’s dead cap charge would be a crippling $18.375 million for 2020-21.
Now you might believe this is what these teams deserve after signing players to deals they might never have contemplated completing. Let’s not even revisit the Ilya Kovalchuk matter. But the fact is the league approved and registered every one of these contracts, the players who signed them are in relative jeopardy and the teams that signed them could face significant hardship.
The league identified this issue as an avenue through which to punish its big market teams for being creative in trying to win. The NHLPA always found something fishy with this provision — as well as the retroactively applied AHL provision — but would not identify it as a hill to die on.
Brooks continues at length...
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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