Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/30/14 at 05:30 PM ET
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Free agency ain’t what it used to be. There was a time when it was known for big teams and big dollars and big names – like that summer when the Detroit Red Wings traded for Dominik Hasek, signed Luc Robitaille and later signed Brett Hull, too, bloating their payroll to around $65 million.
That was 13 years ago.
Today there is a new system and another dynamic. Teams tend to lock up their best players, so stars rarely make it to the open market. No one can spend more than $69 million because of the salary cap, but everyone must spend at least $51 million because of the salary floor. A few teams are strapped because the cap figure came in a little lower than expected for 2014-15, but many have millions to throw at a few free agents when the market opens at noon Tuesday.
The NHL is more competitive than ever before. Free agency is more competitive than ever before. On a league-wide financial level, the owners are protected because they can’t spend more than 50 percent of revenues. If they overspend, they get back money held out of the players’ checks in escrow. But within the planned economy, more teams are involved in the bidding wars. The free agents have more options.
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