Salary Cap Follies
Larry Brooks doesn’t think the Flyers are going to have to pay for their “We didn’t understand the CBA” Chris Pronger blunder:
The Flyers will not take the hit because the CBA will be long extinct by that time, with another round of rollbacks and amnesty buyouts expected to bridge the gap between the current labor agreement and whatever comes next.
There are no guarantees, of course, but no one knows the fate of contracts that run beyond 2011-12, which is when the CBA will expire once the NHLPA exercises its pro-forma option to extend the deal through that season.
I don’t know whether Brooks is right about CBA relief or not, and I’m not sure that I care. What I care about is the way these lengthy contracts – all of them – obviously circumvent the salary cap. I don’t think the Flyers should be able to get a $7 MM a year defenseman for five years with a $5 MM cap hit. I don’t think the Hawks should get an $8 MM dollar a year winger for a $5 MM cap hit over the next seven years. Will the Flyers pay a price for their Pronger blunder? Will the Hawks come to regret the Hossa signing?
Who cares? If the Flyers pay it is six years from now. If the Hawks pay it is seven years from now. That’s too far away for a price to have any meaning. Nobody has a time horizon that long. This CBA tilts heavily in favour of the big markets without letting them cheat this way. At best, they are stealing cap space from the next decade and spending it now. At the worst, the CBA will change and they will never have to pay it back.
All that aside, Brooks drops this tidbit:
It would, however, be a shock if the league doesn’t recalibrate as part of a battle that’s certain to include a laundry list of givebacks from the union intended to shrink the cap. Indeed, several general managers have told Slap Shots they believe a rollback of up to 15 percent plus a round of amnesty buyouts will be necessary at the end of next season in order to accommodate a decrease in the 2010-11 cap that is expected to be meaningful.
This is the first I’ve seen this reported in the mainstream. It depends on where revenues next year, but if Brooks is getting good information several general managers are worried about the scenario I painted in this post. If revenues do crash, the CBA isn’t going to work very well.
A 15% salary rollback and amnesty buyouts? Paul Kelly might have something to say about that.