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Matheson talks long-term deals and the dangers of the high ‘cap floor’

Must be something in the water. The Sunday columns are chock-full of good stuff this morning, and the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson’s Hockey World column is no exception. He manages to explain why the Canadiens traded Ryan McDonaugh for Scott Gomez, dishes Oilers draft talk, discusses the impact instant digital video scouting has had on attempts to score goals with Cam Neely and says that Cristobal Huet might find his way back to the NHL next season, but it’s in adding an agent’s take on what Roberto Luongo might command in terms of compensation—and what long-term deals like Luongo’s really mean from the perspective of the gentlemen who try to negotiate said deals, that he takes the cake in terms of adding insight to the mix this morning:

“I’m sure they’ll have to take back somebody else’s misstep or mistake, but I don’t think he’ll get traded for (Rick) DiPietro,” one longtime agent said jokingly.

The days of giving staggering 10-, 11-, 12-year deals to players, so teams can keep the average annual cap hit down, likely won’t be in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, with the contract running out on Sept. 15.

“I’m pro player and I’m out there to do the best job I can for them, but who can predict the future 10 years down the road? You’re lucky if you can do it next season,” said the agent.

Agents love hitting the home run, but when one guy gets $70 or $80 million over 10 years or so, then maybe another of his clients can’t get a job three or four years down the road because those dollars have been taken out of play.

“The thing that bugs me about the CBA is you can’t game-proof anything. The owners were chirping about how they won the war in the last CBA (2004-05), and two years into it they’re crying the blues because they’re getting killed. If there’s one thing about the CBA, if I tried to look at it from the owners side, where I’d be more sympathetic, it’s with the small-market teams having to spend to the salary-cap floor which has got so high ($44 million). But when the owners say the players are getting too much money, then run it like a fricking business,” said the veteran agent.

Exactly. It’s the floor that’s the problem, but the floor helps Bettman enforce “parity.” If CBA negotiations proceed without the implementation of a lockout, the most fascinating argument surrounds the concept of the high cap floor because big-market owners can’t stand subsidizing that chunk of their weaker sisters’ salaries, players hate paying escrow and small-market teams’ owners aren’t thrilled with knowing that they’re probably going to swallow operating losses because the “payroll range” is so very narrow at $15 million between a cap floor and cap ceiling determined by an average of league-wide revenues, not a median or team-by-team-based range.

Continued, and Matheson’s column is worth your time.

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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.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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