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Burke Refuses To Offer Contracts Which Appear To Circumvent The Cap

from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,

“We lost out on the Brad Richards sweepstakes for two reasons. One, we didn’t offer as much money as other teams and more importantly we didn’t structure the contract like other teams did.

“These deals that are front-loaded and have small amounts at the back end in my opinion are designed to circumvent the salary cap. I won’t do them, I never had, I’m not going to. And that’s why we were unable to sign Brad Richards.

“I wish him well. He’s a good guy. But that’s not a contract structure we’re interested in.”

a bit more...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brad+richards, brian+burke

Comments

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Yeah, but more importantly, WHY WERE YOU SUPPORTING THE TROOPS WHEN YOU COULD’VE BEEN IN TORONTO NOT SIGNING BRAD RICHARDS IN PERSON INSTEAD OF NOT SIGNING HIM VIA PHONE CALL????????

Posted by Garth on 07/06/11 at 02:27 PM ET

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Please remember, Burke is a lawyer. “We didn’t offer him enough money, but the main reason was because we wouldn’t structer a deal like that blah blah blah.” He could stopped when he said they didn’t offer as much money. His moral stance on contracts hgas nothing to do with it. But I can see why he wouldn’t want to mess with the league. If I was a GM who was consulted on suspensions of players on the team that fired me, or was allowed to tamper with up comming free agents the way they did with the Sedins, I wouldn’t wanna piss them off either.

Posted by Joe Boss on 07/06/11 at 02:45 PM ET

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Burke, you lost out on Richards because you didn’t offer as much money as other teams.  If front loading the contract is such anathema to you, then offer his more money on average over the term.

Trying to blame it on a front-loaded deal, as though Burke’s too pious to engage in such things, is just about as stupid as it gets.

Maybe you could have afforded Richards now if you didn’t already have Phaneuf signed to his bad deal, or Komizarek signed to his bad deal, or Kessel signed to his bad deal (which you had to give up picks to do, idiot), or Lupul on your books with his bad deal, or Tim Connolly signed to his bad deal…

.. and that’s where we need to hold on here for a second.

Tim Connolly’s got a two year deal.  First year 5.5 mil.  Second year 4 mil.

So, Pope Benedict Burke is against these ‘cap circumventing contracts’ when they step way down in the final years… but not when they step down a little bit, or are shorter, when the intent is the same… to give the guy more of the total value of the contract up front, which also has the side benefit of lowering the overall cap hit?

Way to go, Burke.  Hypocritical jackass.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 07/06/11 at 02:51 PM ET

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In a fairly brief statement, Burke manages to imply that the Rangers are duplicitous, the NHL is corrupt (for allowing the Rangers to be duplicitous), and that Richards is greedy and willing to go along with it all. The man knows how to keep himself in the headlines ... wonder how many “Richards” will want to talk contract with him in the future?

Posted by SDL from Toronto on 07/06/11 at 02:57 PM ET

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I find sending players to the AHL to “hide” their salaries from the salary cap to be duplicitous as well (*cough* Finger *cough*). Now, I’m no lawyer, but what I think has absolutely nothing to do with what is legal by NHL standards.

Structuring contracts well above market value knowing you have the revenue and the ability to pay out the term in the minors seems to be a circumvention of the “spirit” of the cap. You had to know Brian Burke couldn’t let one day go by where he had the support of the public without mouthing off and bringing us back to reality.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 07/06/11 at 03:14 PM ET

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Burke is an idiot!  Everyone knows you can circumvent the cap like crazy unless you are the New Jersey Devils.  He would be perfectly safe.

Posted by Devils In The Details on 07/06/11 at 03:51 PM ET

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If front loading the contract is such anathema to you, then offer his more money on average over the term.

Really?  He should’ve just offered him a deal with a cap hit of $12M per year?

Good one.

Trying to blame it on a front-loaded deal, as though Burke’s too pious to engage in such things, is just about as stupid as it gets.

Really?  Because Richards accepted an offer from the Rangers that was less money than the offer from Calgary but was heavily front-loaded whereas Calgary’s was not.

But yeah, that’s stupid to blame it on the front-loaded deal…

Tim Connolly’s got a two year deal.  First year 5.5 mil.  Second year 4 mil.

You’re right.  That’s comparable to $12.8M for each of the first two years and $1M for each of the last three.  Thats one of “these deals that are front-loaded and have small amounts at the back end” isn’t it.  Because that second year is such a tiny, tiny number.  It’s a whole 15% lower than his cap hit!!

FYI, Toronto is $7M under the cap hit.  Tim Connolly’s deal is an attempt to circumvent exactly NOTHING.

Posted by Garth on 07/06/11 at 03:52 PM ET

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Burke’s stance is going to look smart after the next CBA.

Regardless of what happens with how revenue-sharing is split up, who gets what % or how much salaries are rolled back (all this is anybody’s guess), it’s a sure bet that per-player cap-hit gets calculated by something more similar to yearly salary than the exploitable AAV.

Guys like Burke (George McPhee and Ray Shero are two others) will have a lot less correcting to do next CBA vs. someone like Holmgren, Bowman or the guy in Vancouver (Gillis?).

Posted by steviesteve on 07/06/11 at 04:09 PM ET

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Gack. Nevermind about Gillis. Vancouver doesn’t have any AAV-exploiting artificial cap hits. Couldn’t sworn both Sedins had circumventing deals.

Posted by steviesteve on 07/06/11 at 04:13 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Wahhhhh wahhhhhh wahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 07/06/11 at 04:21 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

it’s a sure bet that per-player cap-hit gets calculated by something more similar to yearly salary than the exploitable AAV.

It’s not a sure bet that the rules they put in place will have a new effect on the old contracts.

While still the minority in each of the groups on opposite sides of the CBA, the men who not only gave out, but also took those contracts are fairly powerful within their own groups.  Burke is undoubtedly one of the league’s most powerful GMs and has the full support of the biggest chunk of the BoG pie, but Holmgren, Bowman, Gillis, Lamoriello, Sather, and Holland are all guys with plenty of sway who would probably love to say “ok, let’s make a rule that keeps us from doing it anymore, but we’re going to have problems if you mess with what we’ve already done.

Alternately, for every Luongo, Richards, Hossa, Zetterberg, Kovalchuk, Pronger, Ehrhoff, and many more, there are a dozen low-paid grinders who would love to have a front-loaded deal, but is it worth it to the NHLPA to throw so many of their stars under the bus and have their cap hits recalculated?  The easy answer is “yes”, but when those cap hits get re-figured, it doesn’t cost those stars a dime of their guaranteed money. Instead, what it does is makes less room in the payroll for all of those grinders.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/06/11 at 04:23 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Gack. Nevermind about Gillis. Vancouver doesn’t have any AAV-exploiting artificial cap hits. Couldn’t sworn both Sedins had circumventing deals.

Posted by steviesteve on 07/06/11 at 02:13 PM ET

Luongo.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/06/11 at 04:24 PM ET

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What about back loaded deals that allows teams to meet the cap and still have a payroll below the floor? The Islanders did this with Grabner and Okposo. Is that not worthy of Burke’s rage? Or is it only when he is outbid?

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 07/06/11 at 04:32 PM ET

clownfat's avatar

Oh please…. the reason the leafs didn’t land Richards is because it was all a big farce. Richards was planning on going to the Rangers all along. Kind of gross really, that they put on the whole dog and pony show while the Rangers didn’t even have to show up or offer the most money.

Posted by clownfat on 07/06/11 at 04:47 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Burke is such a Blowhard.

Yes you went to Cornell, Yes you have a Law a Degree, Yes you are the smartest guy in the NHL ( Just don’t tell bettman that , his head might explode)


I do however wholeheartedly Commend you on visiting the troops, and anyone who knocks you on that front is an idiot.

Posted by Down River Dan on 07/06/11 at 05:15 PM ET

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While still the minority in each of the groups on opposite sides of the CBA, the men who not only gave out, but also took those contracts are fairly powerful within their own groups.  Burke is undoubtedly one of the league’s most powerful GMs and has the full support of the biggest chunk of the BoG pie, but Holmgren, Bowman, Gillis, Lamoriello, Sather, and Holland are all guys with plenty of sway who would probably love to say “ok, let’s make a rule that keeps us from doing it anymore, but we’re going to have problems if you mess with what we’ve already done.

Lamoriello may have signed one of those AAV-exploit deals, but he’s also on record wanting the loophole closed (and this is AFTER signing the Kovalchuk deal), putting him squarely in the Burke camp. Likewise, Chiarelli and, more importantly, Jacobs, signed one of these with Savard that they’re likely to get a mulligan on, putting notorious hardliners on player compensation—the Bruins—with Burke as well.

How this will likely line up among the powerbrokers is: MLSE/Burke, Jacobs, Lamoriello, the Moulsons, Leonsis, cliques of teams who just don’t like the idea but aren’t powerbrokers (Pittsburgh, SJ) and cliques of ‘floor’ teams (cap circumventing deals ultimately mean more out of pocket cash for the same cap hit) vs. MSG, Comcast, the Ilitches, and some newcomers who haven’t been around enough to have a loud voice on the board (Pegula, for instance, maybe Jeff Vinik).

It is unclear where Gillis fits. Luongo has one of these contracts, but no one else, before or after was offered one. Future fit with cap=salary requires a single move by Gillis—one he might be inclined to make anyway, for other reasons.

Wherever Gillis goes, ‘Status quo with AAV’ is badly outpowered on the BOG by those with a vested interest in its change.

The X factor is the union. Would they allow a change in how cap hit is calculated if the owners threw escrow out the door? I honestly don’t have any idea.

Posted by steviesteve on 07/06/11 at 05:42 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The X factor is the union. Would they allow a change in how cap hit is calculated if the owners threw escrow out the door? I honestly don’t have any idea.

Posted by steviesteve on 07/06/11 at 03:42 PM ET

I think that, regardless, both sides will agree to change cap hits on contracts signed going forward, I’m just not sure that they’re going to change things for contracts already signed. Seems a bit… punitive.

I know lots of people wouldn’t mind that route, but you’re punishing a LOT of people by changing the existing cap hits (along with the future ones).  You’re also catching a lot of innocent people in the process.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/06/11 at 05:57 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Yes you went to Cornell, Yes you have a Law a Degree, Yes you are the smartest guy in the NHL ( Just don’t tell bettman that , his head might explode)

objection your honor, hear-say.  If the Jury will entertain the FACTS, you’ll CLEARLY see that George Paros is the smartest guy in the NHL.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/06/11 at 06:33 PM ET

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What about back loaded deals that allows teams to meet the cap and still have a payroll below the floor? The Islanders did this with Grabner and Okposo. Is that not worthy of Burke’s rage?

Why would he be angry about contracts that don’t affect his ability to sign free agents?

If Burke offers someone a 5 year, $25M contract that pays $5M each year and Garth Snow offers a 5 year, $25M contract that pays $1M in the first year, $2M in years two and three, $5M in year four and $15M in the year five, who on earth would choose Snow’s offer (nevermind that even the Leafs have to rate above the Isles as far as organizations you want to play for)?

Posted by Garth on 07/06/11 at 06:40 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Well that didn’t take Burke long to say something stupid.

Posted by Primis on 07/06/11 at 07:01 PM ET

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Guys, by criticizing Burke you are also not supporting our troops.

Posted by Jerry on 07/06/11 at 11:03 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Guys, by criticizing Burke you are also not supporting our troops.

Posted by Jerry on 07/06/11 at 09:03 PM ET

Nah, I’m just not supporting Canada’s troops.

It’s not like they’ve ever done anything for us anyway.

*checks history of U.S./Canadian joint military ventures*

Oh… well… nevermind.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/06/11 at 11:10 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Has Burke turned over a new leaf? This is two good decisions in a row.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 07/07/11 at 02:09 AM ET

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Why would he be angry about contracts that don’t affect his ability to sign free agents?

It’s all about his rage at cap circumvention, see he really isn’t outraged about cap circumvention at all he is outraged that he got outbid.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 07/07/11 at 11:58 AM ET

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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.

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