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Here’s the deal with retaining salary in trades

Jan 8, 2013, 11:02 AM EDT

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More details of the NHL’s new CBA were unearthed on Monday, with a big one — teams gaining the right to retain salary in trades — getting plenty of reaction across the league.

The rule, as according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:

A club cannot absorb more than 50 percent of the players’ annual cap hit/salary in any trade. Any NHL club can only have up to three contracts on their payroll in which the contract was traded away under the retaining salary proviso.

Also, only up to 15 percent of your upper limit cap amount can be used up by the money you have retained in trades.

Take, for example, San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau, who has two years remaining on his four-year, $27.6 million deal — he’s owed $6.9 million in salary annually and carries a $6.9 million cap hit.

Now, say the Sharks want to trade him to Montreal. (NOTE: Marleau has a no movement clause. ANOTHER NOTE: Montreal is mentioned solely for example purposes.)

The new rule would allow San Jose to absorb $3.45 million in both salary and cap hit to facilitate the deal, leaving Montreal to pay the remaining $3.45 million.

Pretty interesting, huh?

The key part is it’ll allow much more flexibility when it comes to flipping players, especially guys with big price tags.

In the case of Marleau (who’s been the subject of trade rumors for a while), one sticking point has always been his contract — he has the NHL’s 23rd-highest cap hit for 2013-14, a hefty chunk of change that potential suitors would have a tough time swallowing.

Chop the incoming cap hit in half, though, and the deal suddenly becomes much easier to stomach.

  1. valoisvipers - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    I would rather pay Marleau 6.9 million than pay Gomez 7,357,143. million

  2. lordfletcher - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    this makes the trade deadline much more interesting. Will be a fun year to watch, no matter what the (lockout, never coming back crybaby ) hatters say.

    • davebabychreturns - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      Yep. A team could make pretty significant additions at the deadline if they can get a player at 1/8 of his original cap hit (1/4 of the season left with his former team retaining half the cap+salary).

      Of course, that could also drive up the price of rentals – but a GM desperate to keep his job might well be willing to mortgage his future to add some high priced talent for a playoff drive.

    • steelpenbucs87 - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:46 AM

      This combined with the buy-outs next year could mean a Fleury (see what I did there? puns are fun!) of action at the deadline.

      The only thing that may stop things is that with a shortened season there could very well be 20+ teams still in contention at the deadline and you might see less true “sellers”.

      Either way let’s get ready for hockey!

  3. dolanster - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    It’s good this is back, it makes moving over-priced vets (like Marleau) a lot easier and a lot more attractive to teams in the hunt at the deadline. I call it the Robitaille rule — the Kings saved $3M of his $6M salary by trading him to Detroit. Sure, they were paying $3M for an empty stall, but that’s better than $6M. Luc goes on and gets his Cup with the Wings. Win-win.

    • itwasafumble - Jan 8, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      Win-win except for Kings fans. The Kings didn’t trade Luc to the Wings, he was a free agent that season. Luc was the 12th highest scoring player in the league, playing for an incredibly reasonable $3.5 million/year. He was willing to re-sign for that or a little bit less, but management insulted him with a lowball $2.5 million/year offer. He then signed with the Wings and got his Cup. I’m happy for him that he got it, but it sucks that it had to go down like that.

      Robitaille was traded to the Penguins in 1995 before the lockout shortened season for Rick Tocchet.

  4. ballistictrajectory - Jan 8, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    How about the Darius Kasperitus method? Bury the player in the AHL and pay for a second bus to carry his paycheck around with the team.

  5. swedeg - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    So Marleau to the Habs, huh? Who we giving up?

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