The NHL is looking to punish teams that signed players to backloaded deals in their new CBA. In the NHL’s latest attempt to screw over their own ownership, they want teams to have their players even if they aren’t playing. So for instance because Brad Richards signed a contract over five years, he can retire tomorrow and still have to be on the team’s payroll. He wouldn’t get paid, but his cap hit would still be there.
My question is why would the owners do this to themselves? I can’t answer that question because most of them are delusional hypocrites but that’s for another time.
There’s of course an easy way around this which I’m sure every GM in the league will exploit in this loophole. Based on the last CBA a players salary doesn’t count against the cap if they are injured. Five years from now I’m sure Brad Richards can pull up lame with some fake injury and “retire”. Richards could probably sit on the injured reserve for the rest of his career with the team citing an injury.
In fact there’s a team pulling this stunt right now, though it isn’t really a stunt. The Flyers Chris Pronger will probably never play another NHL game because of his concussion issues. Pronger’s 38 years old and is due some serious cash until 2017. Chris Pronger will not retire a day before his contract expires because then his team will be on the hook for his $4.9 million cap hit due to him retiring and having an over 35 contract.
When Brad Richards signed his contract he signed it with the intention of retiring around 37 or 38 years old. That’s why his deal is very front loaded and there’s much less money to collect. If the NHL implements this Brad Richards isn’t retiring before his contract’s up. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hossa, Lecavalier, Kovalchuk, Parise and everyone else with a front loaded deal is placed on IR with 3 or 4 seasons to go on their contracts.
Looks like another loophole in a CBA that hasn’t even been signed yet.
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