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Salary Cap Shenanigans

From Jeff Marek’s The Sheet at Sportsnet:

So let me get this straight: Front loading a contract that includes dead years at the end where the player has zero intention of playing (Ilya Kovalchuk) for cap relief was a violation of the “spirit” of the salary cap, yet trading for a player with zero intention of him ever playing (Trent Hunter) with the sole purpose of buying him out for cap relief isn’t?

I know they’re different, but at the end of the day there are still plenty of ways to get around the salary cap in the NHL and New Jersey, it seems, has tried all of them. Interesting too when you consider that Devils GM Lou Lamoriello helped craft the current CBA. New Jersey has four players on the books this season with buyouts: Andrew Peters, Trent Hunter, Colin White and Jay Pandolfo.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: lou+lamoriello

Comments

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I dont have a problem with buying a player out…  As far as I know, it has always happened, regardless of cap or not, have it not?

What I cant understand, no matter what, is why the heck some genius working on the CBA thought wise to use an average for cap hit…
What is the problem with using the annual salary as cap hit space?
I cant imagine a reason for using an averrage for cap hit, even if I try to…

Posted by Zqto from Brazil on 08/03/11 at 03:24 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

Marek’s point isn’t about the buyout itself, but his assertion that the only reason the Devils acquired Hunter at all was never for him to play for them, but only in order to buy him out… just to manipulate cap numbers.

About the averaging of the annual salary for cap consideration, I think that’s a great question and I don’t know the answer. Although I would suspect that it was a deliberate loophole to allow the numbers to get fudged a bit, exactly as it’s being used. smile

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 08/03/11 at 03:38 PM ET

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Humm..  Yeah, I guess you’re right, I didnt think about how the trade was made with the purpose of buyout. It does make it looks so much worse

And yeah, the only reason I can think of for the average cap hit, is what you said, they (GMs) were already making room for loopholes they could use later
Its just sad to think thats the real reason…  Hahahaha

Posted by Zqto from Brazil on 08/03/11 at 04:26 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

I don’t understand how these transactions can be construed as “circumventing” the salary cap. The rules clearly allow for these types of transactions, and they still count as payroll against the team salary cap. They can haunt a team for years. So, maybe Kovulchuk is not going to play the entire term of his contract, but his contract still counts against the cap for its term. This guy Hunter still has his buyout charged against the cap. These transactions use cap space for a non-roster player that cannot be used for paying someone else. Too many of these types of transactions and a team could find itself upwards of $10m of used cap space on players that aren’t playing for the team or even in the league, severely limiting their options in filling out a current playing roster. It is not circumvention.

Posted by SnLO from beyond the M-1 on 08/03/11 at 04:44 PM ET

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So, maybe Kovulchuk is not going to play the entire term of his contract, but his contract still counts against the cap for its term.

False. As long as the player was under 35 years of age when the contract was signed, a retirement wipes out the remaining years and cap hit. That’s why the Red Wings aren’t stuck with Rafalski’s $6 million hit this season.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 08/03/11 at 08:28 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

As long as the player was under 35 years of age when the contract was signed

Right. Thanks, I forgot that.

Posted by SnLO from beyond the M-1 on 08/03/11 at 09:19 PM 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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