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  1. #1




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    A Few CBA/Salary Cap Changes I Would Like To See.

    First off, I understand the CBA and the point of the salary cap, but we're starting to see how outrageous and flawed both the CBA and cap have become... And when the cap was implemented I predicted these issues would happen.. I realized that there would be a day when salaries would get to the point where teams collectively couldn't fit these players under the cap, and the teams with cap space on a budget would have no interest due to being on a budget... In short, it's only a matter of time before combined gross player salary will outweigh the collective salary cap, or the players collective salary will outweigh $81.5 per team x 31 teams, and obviously the NHL cant force teams to spend above the cap floor, so there are significant issues there, especially when the salary cap is based on league revenue and NOT player salary and we're starting to see the flaws within the cap being exposed with all these high profile RFA's and serviceable UFA's still unsigned....However there are a few solutions to make the salary cap easier to manage that will benefit all teams, the league, the NHLPA and the players.

    So I think some of these following changes to the Cap and CBA would benefit all and would potentially prevent an impending salary cap bubble:

    1. Give teams a 33% cap relief credit on players they have drafted that sign long-term deals until the age of 28-30 years old, after that agreed upon age that player then carries his full cap hit.. If that player is traded, then that 30% cap credit does not transfer with the the player, the team acquiring that player will be responsible for that players full cap hit and conditions of his contract.

    2. Allow teams to trade unused cap space for draft picks, each round of the draft will carry a standard amount of cap space allotted to the team acquiring the cap space.. For example: $7.5M for one year of cap relief is worth a 1st round pick, $5M a 2nd round pick, $3M a 3rd etc.

    3. Eliminate the 7/8 year contract limit.

    4. Limit NMC - the NHL should set a maximum of 5 years on NMC (if the player demands one), after those 5 years, NMC's should revert to NTC's, unless a player signs a 10 year deal or longer, in those rare situations the NMC stays in place unless otherwise negotiated... However after 4/5th of the contract has been completed the team reserves the right to reassign that player to the AHL or elsewhere and receive full cap relief .

    5. Any player drafted and signed to an ELC contract between the ages of 18-21 can be assigned to any league the drafting team chooses, and that player shall be paid his full NHL salary if he has been assigned to a professional league (AHL, KHL, European Leagues), but will count against the salary cap and will fall under proposed rule #1 (The team gets a 33% cap credit)..

    6. Players whom are legitimately injured and their injuries are verified by a medical doctor, and the league should not count against the cap, and the team should get full retroactive salary cap credit/relief since the injury incurred.

    I have a few other complicated ideas as well, however those 5 ideas will change a lot of things... Teams will be more eager to keep and play their own prospects, not only that but would basically eliminate the concept of the offer-sheet. Rebuilding teams with cap space would rebuild a lot quicker because they could trade their unused cap space for for draft picks - not only that but prospects that have nothing more to learn in juniors can be assigned to the AHL immediately after being drafted and can be used at the NHL level whenever the NHL team sees fit - enough of this 9 game nonsense - and if a team does have enough faith to sign him, he will get his full ELC NHL salary........ And limit these veterans long-term NMC's that handcuff teams ... So if you want to give a guy an 8 year contract with a full NMC, then fine -but the NMC should only last 5 years, and the other 3 should be a NTC, however if a team is really that serious and wants to keep that player for his career, then that team should commit and give that player a 10+ year contract with a 10+ year NMC.... That would prevent a lot of teams from going all in on many players (or prevent them from bidding via term), and would actually limit contract lengths - it would force a team to commit entirely or maybe offer a 5 year deal...Also, teams that sign these players on long-term deals should be allowed to send these players to the AHL after X amount of time (8+ years) and not have them count against the cap - hence burying them...

    Also, teams shouldn't be hit on the cap for players sitting on IR for an extended amount of time if it can be proven they're injured and verified by the league they can't play.... Teams should get full cap relief or a credit to their daily total for the time spent on IR....

    I think if the NHL/NHLPA could agree on those issues that would benefit the players, teams and cap hence the league as a whole...

    I mean there is no reason why there are a handful of players that are done in the NHL, but teams cant do anything with them because they're owed money and are basically only playing in the NHL because there is money on the table, while some kid that is NHL ready is basically waiting for that contract to be up so he can take that position, not only that but that kid is losing money too.... Yea, sure the team still has to pay these contracts out but let a team send that vet to the AHL, get him off the cap so you can bring the kid up -- not only that but if you send that vet to the AHL, maybe he will waive that NMC so he can get back into the league and play for a team that could actually use him, instead of sitting in the press box as it is....

    I mean if you have an NHL contract with a NMC, that roster spot is yours regardless of your play and the most a team can do is scratch you, but you're still hurting the team by not playing and taking up cap space and a roster spot..... I think teams should have some liberty in who they play and not be punished for it via the cap.... Same goes for injured players ... And teams should have every right to assign an 18-year-old to the AHL if they have nothing left to learn in juniors, and they should be paid their NHL salary to boot...

    I suppose these ideas just give teams more cap flexibility with their rosters and allow more youth to get involved with not only the NHL roster but the AHL rosters too...

    I mean I think it sucks when a kid that is clearly ready for pro hockey is sent back to juniors for cap/political reasons and nothing to do with his play or what level he is ready to play at.

    I mean as a Hawks fan I'm most familiar with that team (and these ideas don't stem from the Hawks position) so I could use the Hawks as an analogy as far as roster... IMO Dach is too good for Juniors, and I would hate to see a situation where he's sent back to Juniors - not because he belongs there - but because one of the vets was just a better option for right now, so he ends up in Juniors because for right now the experience the vet (say Carpenter) brings is more valuable than the wet behind the ear raw skills Dach brings, but Dach would easily be the 2nd choice if Carpenter goes down, but now you cant bring him up because he's back in juniors.... Under my ideas, Dach would be in the AHL and could be recalled - and waiver exempt - at any time... He could be in Rockford learning to be a #1 center...

    Anyway, I know this is a long post - I just thought I would share some ideas and how to improve the CBA/Cap and my reasoning behind these ideas.... And if you disagree with some of my points feel free to point out the flaws in my logic..

    Thanks for ready my post if you did, and if you would like to expand or add to my ideas - go for it, I would love to hear how these ideas could be improved on.

    - Nick

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  2. #2




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    Scrap the cap and add a luxury tax system.

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  3. #3




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    Scrap the cap and add a luxury tax system.

    I'd agree with that... KInda defeats the point of the cap tho....

    IMO, I personally believe if a team cant survive generating it's own revenue, it shouldn't exist in the first place....Of course these teams just exist to employ players...

    I never liked to the cap to begin with for many reasons ...

    Like I said in a previous post - I understand the point but the cap is profoundly flawed, because eventually there will be a salary cap bubble - meaning the gross amount of collective player salaries will eventually be more than the collective cap between all 31/32 team...$81.5 x 31 is 2.6 billion or whatever..... What happens when the players collective salaries eclipse 2.6 billion?.... It will be a mess, and it's going to get ugly... And that was the argument I made back in 2005.

    The biggest flaw the NHL and NHLPA made was ting the CBA/Cap into league revenue..... Because these players have long-term guaranteed contracts, yea now that 8 year 80 million dollar contract may fit for now, but what if the cap goes down? it's crazy and a profoundly misguided formula - because player salary has no relation to league revenue, so how can the league have a logical salary cap that isn't related to players salary.... I suppose there is escrow, but that is only a minor part of the cap......

    So yea, I mean eventually there will have to be a luxury tax, but in my OP I posted a handful of ideas how that could be avoided...

    I don't know who designed this salary cap but whomever was the actual architect had no ideas what they were doing..

    The salary cap should be tied to players salary and revenue should play a similar role to escrow..

    I don't want to start a political or economic debate here but the NHL for all intents and purposes is being run from a pseudo-socialist perspective and the cap is adjusting dude to revenue - not player salary that actually does have an affect ...

    So yea, this new CBA is going to have some serious economic issues that will need to be discussed , and there are ways to fix this issue, but it's going to be a rough issue getting all sides to agree..

    A luxury tax can help, but I think a luxury tax will just be a short term solution , for a longer term solution my ideas (or at least a couple of them) will certainly be needed to not have to turn the Cap on it's head...

    I really think it would be a good idea to give players drafted by their team a 33-50% tax credit/forgiveness on those players ..... So if you have a RFA that is at 10AAV then that player would be 5AAV when it comes to the salary cap, because it gives teams rooms to sign those 3rd liners and everything should work out, because teams have space to make it work and those bottom 6 guys can still get jobs...Then you want to cut down on these guys that sign 8 year deals with NMC's that become issues 4-5 years down the road but are immovable - be it to other teams of even sending them to the AHL and getting them off the books.

    But yea, a luxury tax essentially solves these issues but there are details involved that will need to be addressed.

    The craziest part is that there is so much great talent and they're all comparing each other, and waiting for that one domino to fall - and that first domino is Marner, and that may create a whole new "trade frenzy"...

    That's just the way I see it from a cap and league/franchise finance perspective.

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  4. #4




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    I think there is a chance we'll see owners push for a 5 year term on entry level contracts which likely means they'll be successful in moving it from 3 to 4 years.

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  5. #5




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    Scrap the cap and add a luxury tax system.

    So we can turn into the NBA ... no thanks

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  6. #6
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    1. Give teams a 33% cap relief credit on players they have drafted that sign long-term deals until the age of 28-30 years old, after that agreed upon age that player then carries his full cap hit.. If that player is traded, then that 30% cap credit does not transfer with the the player, the team acquiring that player will be responsible for that players full cap hit and conditions of his contract.

    2. Allow teams to trade unused cap space for draft picks, each round of the draft will carry a standard amount of cap space allotted to the team acquiring the cap space.. For example: $7.5M for one year of cap relief is worth a 1st round pick, $5M a 2nd round pick, $3M a 3rd etc.

    3. Eliminate the 7/8 year contract limit.

    4. Limit NMC - the NHL should set a maximum of 5 years on NMC (if the player demands one), after those 5 years, NMC's should revert to NTC's, unless a player signs a 10 year deal or longer, in those rare situations the NMC stays in place unless otherwise negotiated... However after 4/5th of the contract has been completed the team reserves the right to reassign that player to the AHL or elsewhere and receive full cap relief .

    5. Any player drafted and signed to an ELC contract between the ages of 18-21 can be assigned to any league the drafting team chooses, and that player shall be paid his full NHL salary if he has been assigned to a professional league (AHL, KHL, European Leagues), but will count against the salary cap and will fall under proposed rule #1 (The team gets a 33% cap credit)..

    6. Players whom are legitimately injured and their injuries are verified by a medical doctor, and the league should not count against the cap, and the team should get full retroactive salary cap credit/relief since the injury incurred.

    I'll bite.....


    1. This can not, and will not happen. There are two high level reasons why the NHL wanted a cap: Cost certainty, and parity. This would be kicking both of those concepts in the gut:

    If you give teams a 33% credit against the salary cap for home grown talent.... you're messing with the 50-50 ratio, where money is split between players & owners. I supposed if you added a sharp increase to Escrow, you could get around that.... but the players would never agree to it. It would mean that John Tavares is subsidizing Auston Matthew's salary.

    Teams do a great job drafting, build a good team, and then have to move pieces away because they can't afford to keep everyone under the cap. THAT is EXACTLY what the league wants to have happen. It spreads out the talent, and 25(ish) teams out of 31 are still in the playoff race at the beginning of March.

    2. I actually like this, if you get rid of the standard rate. The 28th pick & the 18th pick are NOT worth the same, and if you were selling them - you should expect to pay a big premium for the higher one.

    Teams are already effectively doing this though, trading draft picks to dump unwanted contracts. I suppose "trade for cap space" means the washed up player you need to move out for cap reasons.... you could keep him still.

    Personally, I think allowing the front-loading of contracts would (and could) offer a better solution. Rich team gives a player a 4 year deal. Pays him 11m, 11m, 1m, 1m. Cap hit is 6m. Trade him after 2 years to a team that wants to spend only to the floor, and then do it again....

    3. Why? If you sign a 23 year old to an 8 year extension, it's fine. If you give a 29 year old a 7 year contract, you're dumb. If you don't want aging players on big contracts, don't give them out.

    4. Again, why? If you don't want to give out a NMC, don't do it. Nobody is forcing teams to give them out.

    5. NHL teams cut a cheque to European teams when they poach their players. They don't do this for CHL clubs.... but they agree to leave junior age players there. If they wanted to get into a different (financial) agreement with those leagues.... I'm guessing they could do it, but it would be expensive. Considering that they CAN take the cream of the crop right away, I don't see any reason why the league would want to come up with a system where a player like Dach costs them an extra $500k to draft, and his development will not be hurt one iota from remaining in junior.

    6. That's already the case. They go on Long-Term-Injured-Reseve (LTIR) and the teams get cap relief from that.

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  7. #7
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    I'd agree with that... KInda defeats the point of the cap tho....

    IMO, I personally believe if a team cant survive generating it's own revenue, it shouldn't exist in the first place....Of course these teams just exist to employ players...

    I never liked to the cap to begin with for many reasons ...

    Like I said in a previous post - I understand the point but the cap is profoundly flawed, because eventually there will be a salary cap bubble - meaning the gross amount of collective player salaries will eventually be more than the collective cap between all 31/32 team...$81.5 x 31 is 2.6 billion or whatever..... What happens when the players collective salaries eclipse 2.6 billion?.... It will be a mess, and it's going to get ugly... And that was the argument I made back in 2005.

    The biggest flaw the NHL and NHLPA made was ting the CBA/Cap into league revenue..... Because these players have long-term guaranteed contracts, yea now that 8 year 80 million dollar contract may fit for now, but what if the cap goes down? it's crazy and a profoundly misguided formula - because player salary has no relation to league revenue, so how can the league have a logical salary cap that isn't related to players salary.... I suppose there is escrow, but that is only a minor part of the cap......

    So yea, I mean eventually there will have to be a luxury tax, but in my OP I posted a handful of ideas how that could be avoided...

    I don't know who designed this salary cap but whomever was the actual architect had no ideas what they were doing..

    The salary cap should be tied to players salary and revenue should play a similar role to escrow..

    I don't want to start a political or economic debate here but the NHL for all intents and purposes is being run from a pseudo-socialist perspective and the cap is adjusting dude to revenue - not player salary that actually does have an affect ...

    So yea, this new CBA is going to have some serious economic issues that will need to be discussed , and there are ways to fix this issue, but it's going to be a rough issue getting all sides to agree..

    A luxury tax can help, but I think a luxury tax will just be a short term solution , for a longer term solution my ideas (or at least a couple of them) will certainly be needed to not have to turn the Cap on it's head...

    I really think it would be a good idea to give players drafted by their team a 33-50% tax credit/forgiveness on those players ..... So if you have a RFA that is at 10AAV then that player would be 5AAV when it comes to the salary cap, because it gives teams rooms to sign those 3rd liners and everything should work out, because teams have space to make it work and those bottom 6 guys can still get jobs...Then you want to cut down on these guys that sign 8 year deals with NMC's that become issues 4-5 years down the road but are immovable - be it to other teams of even sending them to the AHL and getting them off the books.

    But yea, a luxury tax essentially solves these issues but there are details involved that will need to be addressed.

    The craziest part is that there is so much great talent and they're all comparing each other, and waiting for that one domino to fall - and that first domino is Marner, and that may create a whole new "trade frenzy"...

    That's just the way I see it from a cap and league/franchise finance perspective.

    I didn't see this follow up post earlier, but I think you're either missing some of the basic concepts of a hard cap, or ignoring them.

    I will appologize for some of the numbers being off....

    If the cap remains at 81.5 million, salaries will NEVER eclipse 2.6 billion. That's the whole point. They can't. Teams can't spend above 81.5m

    Tieing the cap to league revenues, again, is the whole point. (which isn't exactly correct. It's ties to hockey related revenues.... so if the Blackhawks own a parking lot, and the team rolls in money from that each home game, players get nothing from it. Expansion fees are not HRR either, so the 30 teams split the fees Vegas paid, and Seattle, players get nothing except more jobs).

    The league projects it's revenues for the upcoming season, and adjust the cap accordingly. I'm pretty sure that max cap * 31 teams would eclipse 50% salary... but the fact that nobody is going to spend right to the ceiling is also projected, some will be close to the floor, etc.... it's done with all of those things in mind, so the number is really close to 50%.

    That's why the escrow is there though. Pretty sure since the cap went in, players have almost never got back 100% of their escrow payments. Total salaries do eclipse 50% of HRR, so the league keeps a chunk. It's not a minor part, It's a HUGE part. It gaurentees margins for the owners, and infuriates players. Getting rid of it will be the single biggest demand from the PA next time.

    If revenues fall so far that the escrow doesnt cover the difference, yes there will a problem... but with new TV deals coming, that's virtually impossible to happen. A hard recession could kill the gates, merch, things like that.... but the one in 2008 didn't.

    Is the problem that there is mediocre vet talent on the market, and they can't get anything more than a PTO??? Honestly, who cares ???? (as fans, I mean).

    If you're a 4th liner, 27 years old, that scores 9 goals a year - why would a team want to pay 1.4 million for that??? Get a rookie to do the same thing for half the cost, and use the money to pay top talent.

    You're a Hawks fan. You should see the magic formula. You need a core of 3-5 really good players, a goalie that doesnt suck, and the rest is interchangible. If you've got Toews, Kane, Hossa, Keith, Seabrook in their primes... you pay them crazy money, and round out the roster with the best players you can get. Losing guys like Buff or Ladd don't matter, so long as the pipeline of youth... and your ability to attracts vets on the cheap... is good.

    Of course where the Hawks have taken longer to catch up with the rest of the league, is now they're paying sone players far beyond what they're worth. They were worth it when they signed the deals, but not so much now.

    That's why you're seeing guys get monster deals after their ELC is up. McDavid will earn every penny of that deal... as will Matthews, Marner (when he signs), Eichel, etc, etc.

    Crosby is a bargin today, at 8.7m, but the cap was under 70 when he signed that extension. The percentage of the cap he got isnt much different from Toews, Kane, or McDavid - it was just signed earlier.

    Matthews is probably the smartest dude in the league. He suckered the Leafs into a 5 year deal - he'll be a UFA when that up... Only 26 years old... and will likely be able to get 7x15. McDavid will be 29 when his deal is up, and there's a great chance that a max term / max money deal will eventually blow up in his team's face. If you're paying a guy (near) max money when he's 34, you're probably going to regret it.

    Is the league like a mini socialist empire? YES. That's what all sports league are. Think about the draft. It's designed to share the talent... and players have zero say where they work for 7 years.

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