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Trade Motivated By LTIR Fraud

Yesterday I wrote about the David Clarkson/ Nathan Horton trade which is an LTIR fraud.  Toronto is interested in Nathan Horton for no reason other than the fact they can keep him on the longterm injured reserve indefinitely as he never makes an attempt to return to the NHL.  This is something that should not be allowed in the rules.  A player developing an injury (or more often than not a longterm problem that can be exploited as such) should not allow a team to get out of the salary cap implications of a bad contract.

Neffernin does a good example of explaining why this is a fraud on the team's side with his hypothetical example:

Last year, Alfredsson signs a 5 year contract with Detroit at 2m/year instead of a 1 year @ 4m.  He knows he doesn’t have 5 years left, potentially 2 left in him.  He’s had recurring back issues, something easily leaned upon when going on LTIR.  So instead of a year or two of a 4m cap hit, Detroit gets a cap hit of 2m instead.  After Alfredsson retires…. erm goes LTIR, Detroit gets the 2m credited back to them (added on top of the cap amount) instead.  During the time Alfredsson is playing, Detroit is getting a discount on the cap due to abusing LTIR.

This time the trade is not directly an LTIR fraud, but it was motivated by a failed attempt at it.  This trade is Philadelphia's trading Kimmo Timonen to Chicago for a 2nd round draft pick.

Philadelphia has a history of placing players on LTIR (often for several years) to get out of contracts.  Chris Pronger, Mike Rathje, Derian Hatcher and Ian Laperriere all spent at least the final season of their final contracts on the longterm injured reserve.  Every one of these moves was required to get them below the salary cap.

This year they did the same with Kimmo Timonen.  Timonen signed a one year contract extension with a $2 million base salary and several potential bonuses.  Timonen was kept from playing due to blood clots.  Given the facts that he is 39 years old and cannot fit into any longterm plans and that the Flyers are not in the playoff race, the Flyers were happy if he settled onto the LTIR this season and never returned.  When it became clear that he was returning, they had no desire to give him a roster spot.  They didn't want him to return.  Their attempt to bury his contract on the LTIR wasn't going to work.  As a result they traded him.

Chicago is a team that has a shot at winning the Stanley Cup.  Chicago wants a player like Timonen and was willing to give up a second rounder.  Philadelphia trades him because they get an asset in return.  They didn't want him.  They wanted him to go on the LTIR and never return.  The fact he returned created the problem and forced his trade.

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Comments

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Not sure why you’re so hung up on this. Both teams got creative to make past mistakes go away. It’s perfectly legal per the NHL’s 700 page CBA. Toronto buries Horton’s salary and CBJ gets a player who actually has a pulse. You make it sound like Toronto cheated on its taxes.

Posted by Eric H. on 02/28/15 at 06:18 PM ET

StayClassy's avatar

Right. I’m sure Toronto would LOVE a healthy Horton in their line up. This isn’t possible because he is injured. The duration of the injury is long term. Therefore he will be placed on the reserve for players with a long term injury.

Posted by StayClassy from Wings fan in Columbus on 02/28/15 at 06:41 PM ET

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What I don’t get is why anyone gives a damn.  Philly didn’t force Chicago to make the trade and Chicafo willingly gave up a pick for Timmonen.  Nobody is negatively impacted by this trade.

Same thing with the Clarkson/horton trade.  Why does it matter to anyone that Toronto is willing to pay Horton’s uninsured salary?  Columbus entered into a contract in good faith and were suffering financially because of Horton’s injuries and now they’re paying money to someone for actually playing.  Toronto were willing to spend a lot of money to get rid of Clarkson’s contract.  And on top of that, I read that Horton has a NMC, so he had to approve the trade.  Again,nobody is negatively impacted by this move, so why does anyone care?

It’s completely legal according to the CBA, so stop whining and watch some hockey.

Posted by Garth on 02/28/15 at 07:03 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

The fact that something is legal according to the current CBA does not mean that it should be legal.  It does not mean that it should be allowed.  It does not mean that it is morally right.  The next CBA might make it illegal.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 02/28/15 at 07:12 PM ET

StayClassy's avatar

I’m with you. They should completely ban traded. It is morally wrong to uproot players and their families.

Posted by StayClassy from Wings fan in Columbus on 02/28/15 at 07:15 PM ET

tkfergy's avatar

Yup Kimmo LTIR fraud,  signed a contract in June. Diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs in August. Sure seems like they did that on purpose.

Posted by tkfergy on 02/28/15 at 07:46 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Philadelphia wanted Timonen to stay on the LTIR all season.  Since he came back they had to trade him since they had no desire to put him on their roster.  They wanted him to be an LTIR fraud this season.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 02/28/15 at 07:51 PM ET

Canucklehead's avatar

I’m wondering why you think these players who had legitimate injuries should retire and forfeit millions of dollars.  I’d be shocked that if even one of these players wouldn’t have wanted to continue to play and retire on their terms.

As for Timonen, I remember reading articles where he planned to play if he could get clearance from the doctors.  I’m sure Philly would have loved to have him playing considering how bad their D was all year.

Posted by Canucklehead from Ottawa, Ontario on 02/28/15 at 08:19 PM ET

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Fraud is a criminal act.  The only thing criminal in the NHL is the referees masquerading around like competent officials.  If the LTIR wasn’t in the CBA you would have some teams playing with 15 guys.

Posted by jhpcarrier97 on 02/28/15 at 08:20 PM ET

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Who’s it hurting?

Posted by captaineclectic on 02/28/15 at 08:25 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I’m wondering why you think these players who had legitimate injuries should retire and forfeit millions of dollars

I am wondering where you got the idea I want players to forfeit millions of dollars.  I have explicitly written that I don’t want that.

I’m sure Philly would have loved to have him playing considering how bad their D was all year.

The facts show otherwise.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 02/28/15 at 08:40 PM ET

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Posted by PuckStopsHere on 02/28/15 at 07:40 PM ET

What facts—that they traded him?  You think a non-playoff team trading a 39-year old who hasn’t played hockey in 10 months for a second rounder is some kind of smoking gun on that?

Posted by captaineclectic on 02/28/15 at 08:45 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Captain Eclectic did a good job of explaining some of the reasons the Flyers didn’t want Timonen back on their roster.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 02/28/15 at 09:18 PM ET

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Posted by PuckStopsHere on 02/28/15 at 08:18 PM ET

You misunderstood me.  They certainly wanted him “playing” as Canucklehead posted.  His blot clot prevented that. 

The high price the Blackhawks payed is proof that the Flyers did not consider Timmonen a “dump.”

Posted by captaineclectic on 02/28/15 at 09:21 PM ET

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The fact that something is legal according to the current CBA does not mean that it should be legal.  It does not mean that it should be allowed.  It does not mean that it is morally right.

No, but it does mean that they aren’t defrauding anyone.

And also, the fact that you don’t like it doesn’t make it fraud or morally wrong.

Philadelphia wanted Timonen to stay on the LTIR all season.  Since he came back they had to trade him since they had no desire to put him on their roster.  They wanted him to be an LTIR fraud this season.

No, they wanted him to the entire season.  When he was diagnosed with blood clots they were not happy.  BUT they still had to play the season and thus replaced him.  He may come back now, which means they would have to shed salary.

And guess what?  A team trading away a player they don’t want anymore isn’t fraud.  It’s the basis of most trades.

News flash: they are not the first team that had to make a trade to become salary cap compliant and they won’t be the last.  Is any team that needs to shed salary to become cap compliant somehow defrauding the system?

Posted by Garth on 02/28/15 at 09:23 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Is any team that needs to shed salary to become cap compliant somehow defrauding the system?

No Garth.  You knew that answer didn’t you?  That question clearly misrepresents what I am saying and you should be smart enough to recognize that.

Quit whining and watch some hockey.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 02/28/15 at 09:31 PM ET

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Fun fact: “Fraud” is one of those legal buzzwords that has great meaning and significance.  For instance, in some jurisdictions, if you add a fraud claim to a statement of claim and wind up losing, it can result in an award of double costs against you.  Furthermore, while defamation lawsuits are notoriously hard to prove and win in both Canada and the US, unproven and unfounded allegations of fraud are one of the more common keys to victory in those matters.

Another fun fact: Not knowing what “fraud” actually means is no defense. 

And not a legal matter, but a logical one:  A hypothetical example with fundamental differences of fact is not proof of the existence of another allegation.  That’s just silly. 

It’s nice to see you responding to the largely negative (and sane) response to your last post on this matter by doubling down on the inanity.  Keep up the good trolling.

Posted by jonquixote on 02/28/15 at 10:14 PM ET

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You knew that answer didn’t you?

Of course I did, and it misrepresents nothing.  In fact it is you who are misrepresenting what happened.

The Flyers had a player come off IR and had to shed salary to become compliant so they made a trade.

End of story.

There is nothing wrong as far as the CBA goes and they did nothing morally wrong.

Stop whining just because you don’t like it.

Posted by Garth on 02/28/15 at 10:28 PM ET

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Who is the victim of this purported fraud?  Who is harmed by it?

Posted by captaineclectic on 02/28/15 at 10:55 PM ET

tkfergy's avatar

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 02/28/15 at 06:51 PM ET

I fail to see how a team being told that a player they signed who was diagnosed with a life threatening illness. That if everything worked in their favor that he might be able to comeback in 6 months, but there was a strong possibility that he would never play again, let alone this season. They then did what EVERY team in the league would do, signed a replacement. Now that he is healthy enough to play he was traded because they had to get below the cap.

Philly never WANTED him on LTIR all year long,  they wanted him to play. They were told to EXPECT him to have to remain on LTIR. I believe if they were actually in the playoff picture someone else would have been traded and not him.

Posted by tkfergy on 02/28/15 at 11:08 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Neffernin does a good example of explaining why this is a fraud on the team’s side with his hypothetical example:

Zero of the contracts you’ve complained about here, including Nathan Horton’s and Kimmo Timonen’s come particularly close to matching the example given.

If a team actually gives out a contract like that, then we should talk.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/01/15 at 12:39 AM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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