It’s Finally Over
Some time around 3AM, the NHL and NHLPA’s legal staffs finally finished getting all their ducks in a row and announced the new revisions to the CBA and that Kovalchuk’s latest contract had been approved. There had been a lot of talk yesterday about what the resolutions would mean, and below the jump is my take.
I’ll approach the release paragraph by paragraph, offering my thoughts on the new rule. All quoted passages, as denoted by italics, are from the body of the NHL/NHLPA announcement posted on Puck Daddy.
As part of the agreement, the NHL will register the contract between the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk that was filed with the League on August 27, 2010. The NHL also will terminate its circumvention investigations into the contracts signed in 2009 by Marian Hossa(notes) of the Chicago Blackhawks, Roberto Luongo(notes) of the Vancouver Canucks, Marc Savard(notes) of the Boston Bruins and Chris Pronger(notes) of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Pretty self-explanatory, this paragraph.
Under the terms of the agreement, the new rules will apply only to long-term contracts, defined as those with terms of five years or longer, and only to contracts executed after September 4, 2010. The new rules apply to contracts signed between now and the end of the CBA, as well as all contracts signed that begin in the 2012-13 season. The parties have agreed that the new rules do not automatically carry over into a new CBA.
It’s good the phrase “long-term contract” has finally been given a concrete figure. Also, I know it says the new rules do not carry over automatically into a new CBA but I fully anticipate it will.
For the purpose of Salary Cap calculations, any long-term contract that extends past a player’s 41st birthday will be valued and accounted for in two ways: The compensation for all seasons that do not include or succeed the player’s 41st birthday will be totaled and divided by the number of those seasons to determine the annual average value (AAV) charged against the team’s Cap for those seasons. In all subsequent seasons, the team’s Cap charge will be the actual compensation paid to the player in that season (or seasons, as appropriate).
Works for me. If a deal extends past a player’s 41st birthday, only those years prior to it will count toward the cap hit. For any years after it, the cap hit will purely be the player’s actual salary compensation.
Additionally, in any long-term contract that averages more than $5.75 million for the three highest-compensation seasons, the following rule shall apply: Solely to determine its value for purposes of the Salary Cap, a player’s compensation for any season in which he is age 36, 37, 38, 39 and/or 40 shall be valued at a minimum of $1 million.
Now this addendum is my favorite. Somehow it manages to play into the hands of both parties while looking like a compromise. The league gets its new rules in place, while the union can still submit deals constructed to use the last handful of years as cap reducers. A win for both sides, really.
A lot of people are chirping about how all this calamity was useless because it only applies to five contracts, but isn’t that the point? This resolution is designed to address long-term contracts and prevent future deals from engaging in thinly-veiled circumvention. Sure, the deals are going to look similar but the clear language in place now prevents any smoke and mirrors from obfuscating things like the Kovalchuk chaos did.
Now we can all just sit back and watch the bone-headed Devils trade proposals and rumors come rolling in…