FanPost

Cap-Circumventing Contracts and the Inconsistency of the Management of the NHL

I'm just wondering how you feel about the hypocrisy of the NHL in this respect. The Kovalchuk contract was by far the most blatant attempt to 'cheat the system', there is no doubt about that. Seven million dollars in the final seven years of the contract is clear circumvention. However, the league decided to punish the franchise for this, despite it being technically legal. The penalty was harsh: $3 million penalty for a franchise facing financial difficulties, a 3rd round pick, and worst of all, a 1st round pick. The league's message was clear: no more cap circumventing contracts. The second Kovalchuk contract was more or less the same as the first, except two years shorter, a whole $666,000 more expensive in terms of cap hit (Which is chump change in the NHL), and with $7million in the final two years to "Encourage" Kovalchuk to finish the contract. This contract, which it can be argued was cap-circumvention with 90% of the money being earned in the first 66% of the contract, was eventually accepted by the league. Since that day, there have been "No More Cap-Circumventing Contracts."

Any hockey fan who read that last sentence would think I'm crazy. Of course there have been cap-circumventing contracts. Look at Christian Ehrhoff's contract: It has three years of $1million at the end. While it can be argued that he is most likely to play those three years, you can't deny the fact that it circumvents the cap. Look at Brad Richard's contract: It has three years of $1million at the end. "But wait!" someone may say, "there's a NMC in the contract so he can't be dumped in the minors!" That is true, and it is also true he might play through the entire contract, despite his age. However, this is clear circumvention of the cap. Let's look at a more recent example: our former-beloved captain Zach Parise and his good friend Ryan Suter. Now I won't rant against Zach Parise being intrinsically evil for abandoning his former franchise. He was a great player, and gave us all he had. He didn't owe anything to us, and we didn't owe anything to him; the NHL is a business, and I completely respect Zach Parise's freedom to decide his future based on his own desires. But the fact remains that both contracts pay $98million over 13 years, with $94million coming in the first 10 years of the contract. Again, maybe both players finish off the entire contracts; but this is cap circumvention at it's finest.

Now all of these contracts have been accepted by the league. They are all technically legal under the current CBA. But after the NHL would not only reject a cap-circumventing contract out of the blue, but harshly punish the team that attempted the contract for "Violating the spirit of the NHL," one would think they'd begin to crack down on these types of contracts. That has not happened, and it doesn't look like it'll happen any time soon. I really don't understand what the NHL is thinking at times, and not just concerning contracts. They are horribly inconsistent in just about every respect. For example, why can they suspend Raffi Torres for 25 games, with a majority being playoff games, for leaving his feet on a hit to the head, when a player like Alex Ovechkin can do the same thing without even a second look by the league discipline. Really, it's baffling how poorly run the league can be at time.

Really, those are just my own 2-cents. I would like to hear how other people feel about this, because it is really beginning to annoy me. College hockey is forever looking more enticing.....

All FanPosts and FanShots are the respective work of the author and not representative of the writers or other users of In Lou We Trust.

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