This morning over at Puck Daddy, Mr. Wyshynski brought to light something I was unaware of. Apparently, it’s possible to circumvent the cap twice on one deal.

Three years ago, Daniel Alfredsson – an elite NHL player and captain of the Ottawa Senators – signed a three year deal. Actually, check that – it was a three year deal masquerading as four years, so the Sens could drop a year on the end that would pay him $1 million to drastically bring down his cap hit. Presumably, neither Alfie nor the Sens thought he’d be returning to play that final season (that, or they thought ahead about the whole double circumvention move).

That last year (or years, in the case of some recent deals) of the contract is a little shady, and as most hockey people would agree. For example, the other years on that deal he made $7M, $7M, and $4.5M, a total cap hit of $6.166M. With the “circumvention year,” his cap hit is a comfy $4.875M.

So to steal a point from Wysh, if Daniel Alfredsson were to return, he’d train all summer and abuse his body for another NHL season to make slightly less than Bobby Butler?

Presenting loophole #2.

Alfredsson could sign a contract extension, as anyone within a year of the end of their current deal has the right to do. Remember, when you sign a new contract, you can get a signing bonus. THUS: Daniel Alfredsson could sign a contract for a year or two that he doesn’t intend to play a second under, the Sens can chuck him an extra three mill or so, and voila – they’ve enjoyed a low cap hit for a player a few years, and now he’ll still be paid well, and still be a low cap hit.

Here’s the key points from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, likely explaining it better than me:

The 40-year-old Brodeur sniffed around the market, but agreed to sign a two-year, $9-million deal with the Devils Monday morning. Whitney, a UFA who spent last season in Phoenix, got a similar deal with the Stars.

Not only would an extension ensure Alfredsson doesn’t go anywhere as a UFA, the Senators could include a signing bonus so that Alfredsson gets a bump from the $1-million salary he’s supposed to collect 2012-13.

I mean, that’s just good work right there. I’m not even mad, I’m impressed.

Comments (5)

  1. Extra points for a Simpsons clip..

    Noon would be proud…

  2. If he signed an extension it would be a 35+ contract and would count against the cap even if he were to retire, no?

    • Yes, depending on if anything changes in the new CBA. Of course, Ottawa isn’t anywhere near the cap ceiling so it may not matter to them.

  3. Is there any acceleration clause in the NHL cap system like in the NFL? When a player retires, does his team suffer the entire remaining cap hit in the next year or is it still strung out over the remaining years of “dead money”?

    It’s a bizarre loophole to leave in the CBA. But I doubt the NHLPA would challenge it as it only serves to further screw over owners who’re willing to risk over-spending.

  4. Okay, so let’s say he signs a one-year extension. Say, 3mil per year, with a 2mil signing bonus.

    How does the cap work for that? Is it 3mil each year (1mil current + 2mil bonus for this season, 3mil for next)? Or maybe it’s the old 4.1667 for this year, 5mil for next year? Or perhaps the 2mil bonus is added on, making it 6.1667 this year, only 3mil next? Etc, etc.

    As far as I’m aware, signing bonuses count against the cap. If he retires during a new contract, that counts against the cap. So I’m not really sure what is circumvention here? It seems like the money he gets paid will still count against the cap, no matter how it averages out…

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