by PuckStopsHere on 07/05/15 at 06:05 PM ET
Among the recent NHL trades are two that highlight the problem of LTIR fraud. Chris Pronger and Marc Savard signed longterm contracts that their teams regretted. When they suffered injuries their teams found an out. These players were placed on the longterm injured reserve. Neither has played an NHL game since 2011 and under any normal circumstances would have retired. The problem is their retiring would have cost their respective teams' salary cap space. So Pronger and Savard have remained active on paper even though both have taken other jobs and have no interest in returning to NHL careers. We have found a new level of silly to add to the story. Both of these players have been traded. A different team wants them even though they will never play another NHL game.
Chris Pronger was traded to the Arizona Coyotes along with Nicklas Grossman for Sam Gagner and a conditional draft pick. Arizona wants Chris Pronger because their finances are troubled, Pronger allows them to pay their team less. His salary cap hit is his average salary over his contract of $4.935 million but he is only paid $525,000 per year over the next two years. This allows Arizona to make the salary floor without actually paying players that amount of money. It signifies that Arizona is in financial distress and will bend rules to pay their team less than they are formally allowed to. It shows that Arizona is going to be a bottom feeding team this year.
Florida is also financially distressed. They jumped into the action to acquire Marc Savard despite the fact he will never play for them. Reilly Smith and Marc Savard were traded from Boston to Florida for Jimmy Hayes. Savard has a $4.027 million salary cap hit and a $575,000 salary in each of his two remaining years. Florida came relatively close to making playoffs last year but that is unlikely to happen this year since they cannot afford to reach the salary floor without making deals like this.
These LTIR fraud players make a mockery of the intent of the salary cap and floor. It is just silly. The question is how the NHL will handle these situations in the future. Will there be new LTIR frauds or is this group of players something that won't happen again. I do not have faith in the NHL doing the right thing given their past record.
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