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Report: Next CBA could punish teams for exploiting loopholes

Aug 20, 2012, 9:15 PM EDT

Minnesota Wild Introduce Zach Parise and Ryan Suter - Press Conference Getty Images

If the next CBA shakes out a certain way, “lifetime” contracts could hurt big-spending teams in ways that extend beyond injury risks.

Craig Custance goes in-depth (subscription required) to discuss how an altered salary cap might penalize clubs that made substantial, uneven offers to players.

Teams that handed out big signing bonuses and stashed expensive, unproductive players in the minors are among the clubs who might sweat things out in such a hypothetical system.

It’s still fairly early in CBA negotiations, but some teams are pushing for a restructuring of the way salary-cap totals are calculated. Part of the motivation is to limit future Kovalchuk-like contracts. However, a desire to punish the teams that pushed the limits with past massive long-term contracts must also be fueling the drive.

One suggested solution is that annual salary-cap hits become the actual salary in that season rather than the average salary over the life of the contract. Another solution would be to average the first five seasons or five highest-salaried seasons of these long-term deals to come up with their salary-cap number.

Later on in the story, Custance points out that it would affect so many teams – including some of the most influential ones – that it “doesn’t seem realistic.”

Still, considering another summer full of “lifetime” deals that tend to feature “creative financing,” it’s interesting to see that NHL teams are looking to close those big loopholes.

(H/T to George Malik.)

  1. flyersgoalscoredby88 - Aug 20, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    Almost incomprehensibly, this would be great for th flyers. No weber, no carter, no Richards, Briere coming off…they somehow have none of these contracts.

  2. 950003cups - Aug 20, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    Devils have one guy. AND HE’S BEEN WORTH IT. Rangers will undoubtedly be hurt. But the Wild would get crushed if they include signing bonuses. Likely won’t happen. But I agree with stopping teams from burying big cap hits in the AHL. The max cap should be $1,500,000 allowed to be buried in the AHL. So of a player has a $1,200,000 cap, and is sent down, the team clears all of it. But if a player has a $4,000,000 cap and is sent down, then the team clears the max of $1,500,000 of cap space.

    • phillyphever - Aug 21, 2012 at 12:28 AM

      Worth it? They lost Parise because they gave Kovy that contract. Hell, that contract is basically gonna help bankrupt the franchise.

      • elemeno89 - Aug 21, 2012 at 9:06 AM

        i would love to hear the explanation for this one…

  3. jrzdiablo - Aug 20, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    “Part of the motivation is to limit future Kovalchuk-like contracts.”

    That’s BS!

    The Devils played by the same rules that every other team played and got screwed; losing a draft pick and paying an insane fine.

    After the ‘Kovy clause’, teams still flouted the “spirit of the CBA”.

    Bettman & his masters are a bunch of shysters.

  4. blomfeld - Aug 21, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    DON’T …

    I for one hope that they don’t go down this road, though maybe it’s inevitable in the end ? Though I do have to admit that even I “frowned upon” many of my beloved LA King’s recent contract signings, such was the flippancy and arrogance of their length. Nonetheless, I suspect that a lot of the financial “smoke and mirrors” which have been going on for some time, will now finally be brought to the forefront for a full scrutiny. This situation is starting to become quite dangerous … and if there’s one thing which rats have in common, then that’s a keen sense for survival …

  5. hockeyflow33 - Aug 21, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    The whole idea of a loophole is ridiculous. Everyone is playing by the same rules and if someone is able to find a way to get around a specific provision, so is everyone else. If you don’t want it to be in the document, amend it or add it next time around but to have unspecified penalties for phantom rules is idiotic.

    • eugenesaxe - Aug 21, 2012 at 3:17 AM

      Dammit man, common sense has no place here!

    • paperlions - Aug 21, 2012 at 8:38 AM

      Yes, but that is what a loophole is, a technicality that circumvents the spirit and intention of a rule/law. Words, they mean things.

      • paperlions - Aug 21, 2012 at 9:25 AM

        *isn’t what a loophole is…

      • hockeyflow33 - Aug 21, 2012 at 11:04 AM

        Sorry but the intricacies and specificities included in these documents is so exhausted, and rightly so, that you’re left to the terms of the agreement. By including conditions and terms that not everyone is aware of, you set yourself up for a dangerous precedent.

        If they don’t want lifetime contracts, include those restrictions.

  6. hockeyflow33 - Aug 21, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    ***exhaustive

    damn you auto-correct

  7. atwatercrushesokoye - Aug 21, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    How many teams does this actually affect and which “influential” ones? Maybe the Rangers and Canucks? I can’t see the Wild, Islanders, and Predators having much sway in league circles.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:00 PM

      You’d be surprised. Bettman and Leipold are good friends. How do you think Leipold got word that Minnesota was going up for sale when he owned Nashville? Not to mention Leipold is part of the owners board who is working on the CBA. Not to mention Leipold has tons of cash. Well not him, but his wife, is the heir of the Johnson & Johnson Company who basically makes everything you use every day.

  8. atwatercrushesokoye - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    All of that is true, but this idea has Bettman written all over it, he hates these contracts so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get back at the teams that gave them out, especially after he let his feeling be known with the Kovalchuk contract.

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