How Teams Will Meet the Cap Floor

Chemmy
June 22 2011 09:02AM

There are a number of cash-poor NHL teams that are likely scrambling to meet the $48M floor, most notably Florida who have to sign 11 players and spend at least $29.7M dollars to do it. Phoenix, Dallas and the NY Islanders are in similar positions albeit with more players signed.

Just because they're cap rich doesn't make Florida in a rush to acquire garbage like Wade Redden, Chris Drury, or Mike Komisarek, those guys actually need to be paid a lot of money. Instead look for these teams to exploit a CBA loophole for this coming season.


With the CBA set to expire next summer bonuses cannot be rolled over to next year's cap and so they'll count against this year's. Since players very rarely meet these bonuses (especially if they're young or old and crummy) the Panthers won't have to actually pay that money to anyone. In this way they can meet the cap floor without burning cash.

1. Use young players on Entry Level Contracts

It's a pretty safe bet that along with Erik Gudbranson whoever gets drafted in the first and second round by Florida this year will be receiving the maximum possible number of bonuses and will be playing 82 games for the Panthers this season barring injury.

At $3.75M max for ELCs this trio could eat up to $11.25M of cap space for Florida while being very unlikely to actually earn those bonuses. Another option is to sign college UFAs who can also have bonus laden contracts.

2. Use old players on one year deals

Performance bonuses will only be permissible for the following types of players: (1) players on entry-level contracts; (2) players signing one-year contracts after returning from long-term injuries (players with 400 or more games who spent 100 or more days on injured reserve in the last year of their most recent contract); and senior veteran players who sign a one-year contract after the age of 35

The Panthers will look for old players and give them enormous bonuses. Here's a list of players that they're likely interested in (based on being older than 35 and cheap):

Sean O'Donnell, Alexei Kovalev, John Madden, Jassen Cullimore, Andrew Brunette, Cory Stillman, Roman Hamrlik, Steve Staios, Todd Marchant, Jason Arnott, Vinny Prospal, Rob Niedermayer, Mike Grier, Jamal Mayers, Ruslan Salei, Karlis Skrastins, Scott Nichol, Craig Rivet, Todd White, Brendan Morrison, Jamie Langenbrunner, Jeff Halpern, Chris Clark, Jarkko Ruutu, Andreas Lilja, Ethan Moreau, Ryan Johnson, Jason Strudwick, Dave Scatchard and Shane Hnidy.

Look for some of those players to sign deals with teams well below the cap floor that will include bonuses they'll never have a chance at (Conn Smythe, 50 goals, etc.)

Here are the types of schedule "A" bonuses, in case you were wondering:

Forwards

(i) Ice time (aggregate and/or per Game). Player must be among top six (6) forwards on the Club (minimum 42 Regular Season Games played by Player and comparison group). (Note: an Entry Level SPC may contain bonuses for both aggregate and per Game ice time; however, the maximum aggregate amount the Player may receive on account of the ice time category is $212,500.)

(ii) Goals: 20 GoalMinimum

(iii) Assists: 35 Assist Minimum

(iv) Points: 60 Point Minimum

(v) Points Per Game: .73 Points Per Game Minimum (minimum 42
Regular Season Games played)

(vi) Plus-Minus Rating: Among top three (3) forwards on the Club
(minimum 42 Regular Season Games played by Player and
comparison group).

(vii) End-of-Season NHL All-Rookie Team(viii) NHL All-Star Game (selected to play or plays)

(ix) NHL All-Star Game MVP

Defensemen

(i) Ice time (aggregate and/or per Game). Player must be among top four (4)
defensemen on the Club (minimum 42 Regular Season Games played by
Player and comparison group). (Note: an Entry Level SPC may contain
bonuses for both aggregate and per Game ice time; however, the
maximum aggregate amount the Player may receive on account of the ice
time category is $212,500.)

(ii) Goals: 10 GoalMinimum

(iii) Assists: 25 Assist Minimum

(iv) Points: 40 Point Minimum

(v) Points Per Game: .49 Points Per Game Minimum (minimum 42 Regular
Season Games played)

(vi) Plus-Minus Rating: Among top three (3) defensemen on the Club
(minimum 42 Regular Season Games played by Player and comparison
group).

(vii) Blocked Shots: Among top two (2) defensemen on the Club (minimum
42 Regular Season Games played by Player and comparison group).

(viii) End-of-Season NHL All-Rookie Team

(ix) NHL All-Star Game (selected to play or plays)

(x) NHL All-Star Game MVP

Goaltenders

(i) Minutes Played: 1,800 minutes minimum

(ii) GAA: GAA median GAA of all goaltenders who played 25 or more Regular Season Games. (If there is an even number of these goaltenders, the median will be the average of the two middle values.) (25 game minimum, 30 minute minimum*)

(iii) Save %: Save % median save % of all goaltenders who played 25 or more Regular Season Games. (If there is an even number of these goaltenders, the median will be the average of the two middle values.) (25 game minimum, 30 minute minimum*)

(iv) Wins: 20 (Player must be goaltender of record, 30 minute minimum*)

(v) Shutouts: Shutouts median number of shutouts of all goaltenders who played 25 or more Regular Season Games. (If there is an even number of these goaltenders, the median will be the average of the two middle
values.) (30 minute minimum*)

(vi) End-of-Season NHL All-Rookie Team

(vii) NHL All-Star Game (selected to play or plays)

(viii) NHL All-Star Game MVP

And the schedule "B" bonuses:

League-wide Awards/Trophies.

The following are the only awards or trophies for which Clubs and Players may negotiate bonuses: the Hart Memorial Trophy ("Hart"), the "Rocket" Richard Trophy ("Richard"), the Vezina Trophy ("Vezina"),
the William Jennings Trophy ("Jennings"), the Norris Trophy ("Norris"), the Conn Smythe ("Conn Smythe"), and the Frank J. Selke Trophy ("Selke"). In the event that the National Hockey League creates additional award(s) of like stature in the future, Clubs may award bonuses to Players in connection therewith

(i) A Player who finishes among the top five (5) in balloting for the Hart, Norris, Vezina, Selke, Richard or any new award of like stature created in the future shall receive the following bonus
amounts:

Winner $250,000
2nd $200,000
3rd $150,000
4th $100,000
5th $50,000

(ii) A Player who finishes among the top three (3) in balloting for the Lady Byng shall receive the following bonus amounts (no individually negotiated "excess" allowed):

Winner $150,000
2nd $100,000
3rd $50,000

(iii) A Player who wins the Jennings shall receive the following bonus amounts (if there are co-winners, each goaltender shall receive a pro rata share of $50,000):

Winner $50,000

(iv) A Player who finishes among the top three (3) in balloting for the Calder shall receive the following bonus amounts (no individually negotiated "excess" allowed):

Winner $212,500
2nd $150,000
3rd $100,000

(v) A Player who is named to the official NHL All-Star Team at the conclusion of each season shall receive the following bonus amounts:

1st Team All-Star $100,000
2nd Team All-Star $50,000

(vi) A Player who wins the Conn Smythe shall receive $250,000.

League Performance Bonuses:

(i) A forward who finishes among the top ten (10) forwards in the League in goals, assists, points or points per Game (Minimum 42 Regular Season Games played by Player and comparison group) shall receive the following bonus amounts:

Goals, Assists, Points / Points Per Game

Winner $150,000 Winner $100,000
2nd $140,000 2nd $90,000
3rd $130,000 3rd $80,000
4th $120,000 4th $70,000
5th $110,000 5th $60,000
6th $100,000 6th $50,000
7th $90,000 7th $40,000
8th $80,000 8th $30,000
9th $70,000 9th $20,000
10th $60,000 10th $10,000

(ii) A defenseman who finishes among the top ten (10) defensemen in the League in goals, assists, points, points per Game (Minimum 42 Regular Season Games played by Player and comparison group) or
ice time among defensemen (aggregate and/or per Game. Minimum 42 Regular Season Games played by Player and
comparison group) shall receive the following bonus amounts:

Goals, Assists, Points / Ice Time, Points Per Game

Winner $150,000 Winner $100,000
2nd $140,000 2nd $90,000
3rd $130,000 3rd $80,000
4th $120,000 4th $70,000
5th $110,000 5th $60,000
6th $100,000 6th $50,000
7th $90,000 7th $40,000
8th $80,000 8th $30,000
9th $70,000 9th $20,000
10th $60,000 10th $10,000

Note: Although a Player is eligible for both the aggregate and per game ice time bonus, the maximum aggregate amount the Player may receive on account of the ice time category in League paid bonuses is $100,000. (iii) A goaltender who finishes among the top five (5) goaltenders in the League in goals against average (25 game minimum, 30 minute minimum), save % (25 game minimum, 30 minute minimum) or wins (30 minute minimum, goaltender of record) shall receive the following bonus amounts:

Winner $150,000
2nd $140,000
3rd $130,000
4th $120,000
5th $110,000

With respect to Individual "A" and "B" Bonuses payable by a Club, a Player who ties for the Individual "A" or "B" Bonus thresholds set forth above will be deemed to have earned the bonus. A Club and Player may expressly agree on the amount a Player shall be paid in the event of a tie.

So look for Jarkko Ruutu to get a bonus clause for winning the Lady Byng and scoring 50 goals on top of a base $1.5M contract. Should be an interesting end of July as cash strapped teams sign contracts with comical bonuses for players who didn't get snapped up on July 1st.

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Like many people Chemmy was born. He lives with his wife and a dog named Wendel Bark.
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#1 Bradford
June 22 2011, 09:13AM
Trash it!
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trashes
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props

One other good way that teams against the salary floor can save money on the cap: buying out 35+ contracts. For instance, buying out Nikolai Khabibulin's contract would save a team nearly five million dollars over two years (cap hit of 3.75 million - buyout cost of 1.25 million per each year) though it would incur a 1.25 million payment in years three and four. Those payments, however, are deferred into the future, and ideal for a team like the Islanders, who may be struggling at the gate now but might not if they become competitive in a year or two.

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