Bonuses Drive Leafs Over 13/14 Cap

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A little late to the punch on this one, but it appears that the Toronto Maple Leafs have gotten themselves in a little bit of Salary Cap trouble. According to James Mirtle via Capgeek, entry-level performance bonuses to Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly have the Leafs $475,000 above league max, which will be slashed from next year’s available space.

Is This Bad?

Yes and no. It’s bad in the sense that you would think that Leafs management would know better than to get themselves in this mess. After all, the team was already looking pretty close to the edge before signing David Clarkson to what might be the worst contract of the Salary Cap era in July. The team consistently rode the financial waves from July to April, and didn’t get a heck of a lot out of it from a performance perspective. To have a bonus overage year in a season where you missed the playoffs isn’t the best of looks.

On the other hand, its $475,000. That’s less than league minimum, and less than 1% of next year’s cap. Consider that the cap itself is supposed to go up a couple of million dollars next season, along with the fact that the Leafs have four dead salary retentions (for a total of $2.5 million) coming off the books in Ben Scrivens, Matt Frattin, Colby Armstrong (!), and Darcy Tucker (!!!), and it doesn’t work out so bad. Besides, they didn’t end up like the Bruins, who are almost $5 million over.

This shouldn’t be a repeated mistake, though. Room should be left for Rielly to hit some of his bonuses again (he’ll only get better), along with any other potential entry-level deals that could end up on the roster full time. 

    • acg5151

      No, that is not exactly how it works and the Leafs weren’t over the salary cap.

      The bonuses are money that isn’t guaranteed. They are like ‘milestones’ or incentives written it the contract that you get paid for reaching – like scoring X amount of points or playing X amount of games.

      Since this money isn’t guaranteed it doesn’t count against the cap. Since the milestones were achieved and Rielly and Gardiner received that money, it counts against the following years salary cap.

    • acg5151

      I read somewhere at some point that if you go over the cap, the NHL can intervene and fine the team, and can force the team to become cap compliant. I don’t remember specifics but going over the cap and staying there is a definite no no.