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Thursday, October 18, 2012

NHL proposal has favorable clauses for Islander fans

At least 3 of the clauses proposed by the NHL could have significant ramifications for the Isles.

1. Isles would be eligible for revenue sharing.  (Under the expired CBA, teams in larger television markets were not eligible)
2. Teams would not be eligible to stash players in minors and avoid salary cap hit.  Call this the Wade Redden rule, but the Isles would not be at a disadvantage that they have been in the past when compared to teams that are more easily able to bury their mistakes.

However, it's the third point that is the most important:

"We are proposing that a Club's Lower Limit obligation be satisfied without reference to (or inclusion of) performance bonuses. This will effectively increase the minimum commitment of actual compensation paid by the "Lower Limit Clubs" to Players. The proposal acknowledges the League's agreement to a request made by the NHLPA earlier in our negotiations."

In English, it means that teams must pay the bottom of the salary cap range and not use bonuses, which were often not attained, to reach that point.  This has several different effects:
1. Teams no longer have an incentive to keep underachieving young players with large bonuses on the NHL roster.  It will be more practical to send players either to the AHL or (if age-appropriate) back to juniors.
2. Other than entry-level contracts, only "over 35" players were eligible for bonuses.   Again, this change will make adding a player on the back end of his career with a difficult to achieve bonus less practical.

Several teams have used players in these situations in recent years.  From an Islander perspective, it would actually have less effect this season than in the past because the core players have now entered their second contracts.  Among the players it could effect are the following, all of whom would have have a bonus of at least $600,000 contributing to the cap hit if they were on the NHL roster:

(thanks, capgeek.com)

NHL Salary Cap Hit Bonus
Niederreiter, Nino »  $900,000 $2,795,000 $1,925,000
Reinhart, Griffin »  $925,000 $3,275,000 $2,350,000
Nelson, Brock »  $900,000 $2,825,000 $1,925,000
Halmo, Mike »  $742,500 $1,775,000 $1,032,500
Nilsson, Anders »  $900,000 $1,750,000 $850,000
Strome, Ryan »  $925,000 $1,744,167 $850,000
de Haan, Calvin »  $900,000 $1,470,000 $600,000

(cap hit does not equal salary + bonus because cap hit is averaged over the entire contract)

From a practical standpoint, some of the revenue share money could go to pay the additional salary that the team will have to pay to satisfy the cap floor.
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

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