August 3, 2009

Why the NHL is dumb: Aug. ‘09

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

The National Hockey League have finally pulled themselves away from their quest to keep Jim Balsillie out the league forever — even though he would be a decent owner — to notice that there have been quite a few teams signing guys to long-term deals that are already at an advanced age.

Why is this a problem? It’s because the NHL were idiots when they came up with their salary cap system and now they feel the need to potentially punish teams for being smart enough to work around a loophole.

The loophole that’s being exploited right now is that a player’s cap number is the total amount of his contract divided by years of the deal. Sure, that doesn’t sound too bad, but when you structure a player’s 10-year deal so that he earns about $8.5 million per year the first few seasons, then $3.5 million combined the last four, it greatly decreases the guy’s cap number for the first few seasons.

It actually makes sense, from a logical standpoint that a player would make less in the latest stages of career as opposed to his prime, but of course the NHL wouldn’t recognize that. They’re really just concerned that the players in question would retire before even getting to the last few years of their deals.

So, this sort of thing has happened with Marian Hossa with the Blackhawks and Chris Pronger with Flyers so far this off-season and now the league is looking to punish the teams. The people who should be punished are the lawyers who wrote up the rules of the cap and neglected to do it the simplest and truest way possible: A player’s cap number is how much he made during THAT SEASON.

Again, the NHL has dropped the ball and made themselves look like idiots.

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