Being told you’re being sent down to the American League is, presumably, not an awesome time for a player. Nobody likes to find out they’re about to make a tenth as much money as they could.
For team owners however, getting to pay someone a tenth the money is kind of appealing.
When I was in Bridgeport I noticed that when the Islanders had 3-4 days between games, they’d send one or three of their guys down to practice with our AHL team, so they could save money by paying them the low end of their two-way deal (how insanely cheap is that? It’s also why it’s advantageous to have your affiliate close).
To minimize the amount of teams taking advantage of the “send a player to A for a few days” loophole, they made it so that the NHL player has to physically report to the AHL team if they get sent down (in a certain number of days), otherwise teams could just claim they’re sending down all their guys on two-way deals every off day, let them physically stay put, and pay them the bottom number. So these guys need to be present with that AHL team.
It’s a smart concept, but man, could teams heading over to Europe (already a sacrifice) get a little flexibility here, please?
Larry Brooks is over in Sweden covering the Rangers for the NY Daily Post and tweets:
“[Stu] Bickel assigned to AHL Whale. Accoring to rules, must return to North America. Will fly tomorrow. Ridiculous teams here dont have leeway.”
To clarify, if a team wants to make pre-season roster moves (as every team does), they aren’t afforded a couple extra days to get back to North America before having to cut loose any unfortunate players.
The Rangers – who just picked up Jeff Woywitka off waivers, meaning they’d have to clear a spot – have to physically put Bickell on a plane (instead of being able to keep him around for a hot sec), with his hockey gear, and ship him off to Connecticut to start his season with the Whale.
I’ve heard of some bad cut scenarios, but that has to be the ultimate dagger.
Trip cut short, dreams cut short, money cut short. Alone from Sweden. Thanks for the effort kid. Here’s your ticket.