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LeBrun: NHL will consider option to eat salary in trades

Feb 29, 2012, 3:36 PM EDT

Brian Burke Getty Images

Interesting tidbit in Pierre LeBrun’s reader “rants” post. When asked why there were so few trades at the deadline, here was his answer:

The No. 1 reason for it is parity. The standings are so close that not enough teams would all-out declare themselves sellers. That created a market where the rentals cost too much (see first-round pick for Paul Gaustad). Leafs GM Brian Burke for a years now has pushed the idea of bringing back the ability to retain salary in trades. Right now, that’s against the rules in the CBA. But Burke believes if teams could eat some of the salary of a player it is trading (as was the case pre-2004 in the NHL), that it would loosen up the trade market. More and more GMs are agreeing with Burke on this and I can tell you the NHL will give it some thought in the next round of CBA talks. Not only would you get more trades on deadline day, but you’d get more trades year-round.

As a blogger, all I can say is please let this be true. Just imagine all the ridiculous trade rumors we could spread if teams could eat salary.

Take Rick Nash. One of the biggest issues for clubs considering an acquisition of the Blue Jackets’ captain was his $7.8 million cap hit. So let’s suppose Columbus could eat, say, $1.8 million of it – do you think Glen Sather would be willing to sweeten the pot for a perennial 30-goal scorer with a $6 million cap hit instead of 7.8? Of course he would.

Obviously there’s the risk GMs would spend even more wildly than they already do if they thought they could mitigate mistakes down the line, but in the meantime it’d be a lot of fun for fans of (and traffickers in) rampant trade speculation.

Related: Applying the NBA’s “amnesty” clause to the NHL

  1. govtminion - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Interesting idea, actually. I thought this was already allowed, actually- kind of surprised to hear it isn’t. Isn’t that how the Capitals ended up paying part of Jagr’s salary a few years back when he went to New York?

    • tmoore4075 - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:43 PM

      Jagr went to the Rangers pre-lockout so it was allowed then.

      • govtminion - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:44 PM

        Ahhh, good point. So I’m half-right- it WAS allowed at one point anyway. Interesting. Thanks!

  2. jramler - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    It’s a minor point, but going by the way things work in other leagues the above example is wrong. Rick Nash would still have a $7.8 million cap hit no matter where he was traded, Columbus would just be allowed to pay $1.8 million of his salary. I’m pretty sure any proposal wouldn’t reduce a players cap hit.

    • Jason Brough - Feb 29, 2012 at 5:23 PM

      Maybe, maybe not. Just because other leagues do it one way doesn’t mean the NHL has to.

  3. odj810 - Feb 29, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    If this goes through i think if they eat part of the salary they should eat part of the cap hit. so if you take on 1.8 m ofnashes deal you should pay 1.8 of the cap hit and the team who gets him pays 6m of cap hit.

    • govtminion - Feb 29, 2012 at 4:32 PM

      That seems fair to me.

      • sknut - Feb 29, 2012 at 5:19 PM

        I like this, it would drum up more interest and possibly help teams leverage agaisnt those long term deals. Between this and an amnesty clause it would make the league much more interesting and more discussion which is always a good thing.

      • odj810 - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:51 AM

        the amnesty clause is a joke. that i completely disagree with you on.

  4. cmv08 - Feb 29, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Wow Bettman! You’ll do ANYTHING to get the large market teams the best players. Rigging drafts (a la Pittsburgh Penguins), enormous raise in the salary cap, Shanahan the Idiot and now this. You don’t like that Nashville got Gaustad? Well too f’n bad because they, unlike other NHL teams, were willing to pay the asking price. Let’s just get rid of fair trade in hockey. Actually, let’s get rid of Bettman! He gets booed everywhere he goes and with good reason.

    • miketoasty - Feb 29, 2012 at 4:56 PM

      Where in this post did it say anything about Bettman?

      Also, us Penguins fans had to suffer for a while before we finally got some decent talent. If you suck it up for long enough you get good players (Ala Edmonton Oilers and Los Angelas Kings), you also need to know how to draft so you don’t get busts (Ala Columbus Blue Jackets)

    • scottybcboy - Feb 29, 2012 at 6:49 PM

      Pittsburgh is not a ‘large market team’. Just sayin’.

  5. phillyphever - Feb 29, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    I agree with jr, it’s not the salary that’s the issue. It’s the cap hit. Doesn’t matter if the team is sending salary for the player, it’s doesn’t affect the player’s cap hit (and there’s no way in hell any team is gonna agree to take some of that cap hit in a trade. Most of the team they just want to get rid of that contract entirely).

  6. jaybaileys - Feb 29, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Yea cause the league rigs everything for the Pens. Like when they suspended the guys who hit Crosby and knocked him loopy for a year and a half. Oh yea nobody was suspended for those hits. And how they rigged the playoff matchups so the Pens always had home ice in every round of the playoffs. Not so much they won game 7 in Washington and Detroit in 09. And yea it’s so tiring seeing them hoist the Cup 10 years in a row! They’ve won 3 titles in 40 something years, where do you rigging stuff. They sucked for years, when you suck you draft early. Is it their fault they evaluate talent and can draft solid players? They traded up to the number 1 pick to get Fleury was that rigged too? I think Nashville did well at the deadline, but aren’t they way under the cap? What is Shea Weber’s asking price? How about Dan Hamhuis? How about Ryan Suter?

  7. greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 29, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Chicago and Pittsburgh (soon to be Minnesota) is who Columbus should be following. You suck for a handful of year and reap the benfits of drafting good (ah hem Columbus) and you win Cups. Fluery, Crosby, and Malkin for the Pens. Kane, Towes, and Seabrook for Chicago. Minnesota will have Granlund, Zucker, and Brodin soon.

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