Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The NHL's old-timer clause

Tom Benjamin has some more on Dave Andreychuk being put on waivers, including some analysis of the NHL's over-35 rule that forces teams to pay out the remainder of veteran players' contracts.
There is a specific clause in the CBA that says if a player is 35 or older and signs a multi-year contract, his second year of the contract will count against the cap even if the player retires or is suspended.
What about a player such as Brett Hull, you say, who retired only five games into the season?

Since Hull was only on a one-year contract, the Phoenix Coyotes are off the hook entirely for his salary. With both Vladimir Malakhov and Alex Mogilny signing multi-year deals, however, the New Jersey Devils are in tough, as $7-million from players not even in the league will count against the salary cap next season. I can't imagine Devils' GM Lou Lamoriello knew the ramifications of this over-35 clause when he inked those contracts.

The effect of what's happened with the Devils is going to make signing an oldtimer to a multi-year deal a thing of the past. What that means is that a player of the calibre of Joe Sakic, who is 36, will likely only be on one-year deals for the remainder of his career. As TSN's Bob McKenzie notes, the fear of alien abduction is too great.

In the Malakhov case, he walked away on his own, and I doubt he'll be returning to play for any team. One wonders whether he can simply be assigned to report to the AHL and, when he doesn't report, his salary can be grieved. I'll let you know when I find out.

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