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Um... What? NHL - NHLPA Reach an Agreement

Earlier today, we presented five questions with the pending NHL / NHLPA agreement that would allow the New Jersey Devils to be the last team to cheat and circumvent the CBA. After waiting along with the rest of the hockey world, we have some answers, and most likely, more questions.

Let's just say, it didn't get any easier. After the jump, TSN's Darren Dreger presents the answers.

If you do not know who Darren Dreger is, I pity you. Dreger is one of the most knowledgeable hockey minds out there. While I do not always agree with his opinion, he, and TSN, usually have NHL news before anyone else. So, it is not surprising that he has the new rules before anyone else. You can check it out on TSN's website.

We'll go question by question from earlier today.

1. Are only these four deals covered under the grandfather clause?

These new rules will only apply to contracts negotiated and filed after Sept. 3. They do not apply retroactively to existing contracts, therefore long-term deals signed by the likes of Henrik Zetterberg and Rick DiPietro would remain unaffected by Friday's decision.

So, all contracts are grandfathered in, meaning the cap hit of no player currently under contract is going to change. This is good news, and bad news. Good because nothing changes immediately, bad because it creates a challenge to know when each contract was signed.

2. If all contracts previously signed are grandfathered in, how will this effect cap calculations? Will there need to be a pre-Kovalchuk contract and post-Kovalchuk contract line?

This was more of a follow-up to question one, and is answered above. We will all need to live with a pre- and post-Kovalchuk contract era. Sigh.

3. If previous contracts are not grandfathered in, how does that effect cap hit calculations? Does Mikko Koivu's cap hit change? Does any player's deal with years higher than others have a cap hit change coming?

Not applicable. Moving on.

4. Why 40 years old?

Not answered, yet. My bet is that it has to do with the statistics of the number of players who play past 40.

5. Would Chris Chelios' cap hit have been zero for this past season? Is that cap hit for any player over 40 (such as Mike Modano) zero dollars?

First: For long-term contracts extending beyond the age of 40, the contract's average annual value for the years up to and including 40, are calculated by dividing total value in those years by the number of years up to and including 40. Then for the years covering ages 41 and beyond, the cap charge in each year is equal to the value of the contract in that year.

For example, when a 35-year old player agrees to a seven-year deal that expires when he's 42, the NHL would now take the first five years of the contract to age 40 and average them out. The total becomes the dollars divided by five years. That player's average annual salary would then become the cap hit.

His cap hit in the final two years of his deal would be the actual value of the contract in those seasons, therefore a cap hit of $525,000 for years six and seven of the deal.

Take a minute and re-read this. To be sure, it sounds right away like a boon to teams that sign a player past 40. When they hit that magic number, the cap hit drops dramatically, giving the team instant cap relief. However, keep in mind that only the number of years in the contract up to, and including, 40 count in the averaging effect, making the cap hit in those years go up. I like that part, even if it does add complication. The truly brillaint part of this portion is the last part of the first paragraph.

The players salary in that season becomes his cap hit. Amazing. Simplicity at its finest. This is how it should work. No averaging, no circumvention needed.

With my five questions answered, let's look at the rest of what Dreger has to say.

Secondly, for long-term contracts that include years in which the player is 36, 37, 38, 39 and 40; the amount used for purposes of calculating his average annual value is a minimum of $1 million in each of those years (even if his actual compensation is less during those seasons).

As an example, a player signs the exact same seven-year deal discussed above, however the deal is signed at the age of 32 and is set to expire when the player reaches 39 years old. For that contract, the two seasons at $525,000 would remain, however they would be treated as years at $1 million for the purpose of calculating the appropriate cap charge.

This is a bit of brutally confusing math that is going to make the job of CapGeek loads of fun in the coming years. Why, you ask? This is all well and good, with $1 million becoming the basic number for 36-40 year olds signed before they are 36. However, what happens if the player is signed at 36? Does the cap hit become $1 million? Is it the value of the salary in the current season? Or does it go back to the old basic averaging style contract? As of right now, there are no answers to that.

Of course, Dan Rosen, and staff writer just tweeted this:

Don't kill the messenger, but I have been told the deadline has been extended until 1 am.

In other words... nothing is final. Stay tuned.