Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Buy Now, Pay Later

Tarik of the (Com)Post today points out today an article from Eric Duhatschek who claims teams can circumvent the salary cap by following the lead of the Flyers.

I don't buy either argument made by Duhatschek that this circumvents the cap and allows teams to "rebuild quicker."

First of all, by "front loading the salary" any "cap savings" you earn on a contract like Timmonen's you'll have to "payback" later on in the deal as the cap number becomes larger than the actual salary. This stunt also makes it harder for you unload a player in the out years of his contract because while the actual salary figure is easy to sallow, the cap number could cause problems by creating "dead space" where a team is spending say an actual $50 million on salaries but being counted as spending $55 million as far as the salary cap is concerned.

Secondly, teams that undergo a major roster overhaul in the offseason tend to seriously disappoint once the real season begins. Ask Redskins fans just what the numerous "Champion of the Offseason" Titles the "unbiased" media has bestowed upon them have brought? Teams on the far outside looking in have never been able to buy their way into contention in the NHL.

A team with too many of the these front loaded contracts could end up finding themselves in a serious bind when they really do need just one more piece to complete the puzzle. And should the NHL's revenues drop, (and cause a lowering of the salary cap) teams with these gimmick contracts are going to find themselves in a world of hurt as a player is being charged $3.3 million more against the cap than they are actually paying him.

The only way this works out as a plus for a team is if the salary cap get scrapped when the CBA expires in 2011. (Should the NHLPA listen to the idiots who are calling for them to scrap the CBA in 2009 the whole discussion becomes a moot point) However, I don't see the NHL owners agreeing to let go of this system without a long, protracted, and bloody fight.

This "loophole" is more like a trap.



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