Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Monday, July 09, 2007

PAYCUT IN THE NAME OF VICTORY

From Seth...

According to Hasek's agent, Dom, who signed for $2 million (but could get up to $4 in bonuses) knew he was worth $5 million but wanted to sign for less to help the team. I'll buy it.

He had every right to ask for more than this, given his performance the last two seasons.

He's a weird dude, but halving your pay check so your team can sign other great players is a sacrifice that most athletes would never dream of making, especially because their agents consider it tantamount to murder.

Hasek deserves a lot of thanks from Detroit for taking this deal. I really hope the town notices.

But Seth, would it be possible for him to sign for $2 million from the Wings and then $3 million as a Little Caesars spokesman. Thus he gets his money, but it doesnt have to count against the cap?

Did they put any riders in the contract about that mysterious groin injury he gets or a flake out clause?

He gets another $2 million in incentives, but they didn't say yet what they are, so I'm guessing the groin is in there as a games played thing.

Part of the salary cap rules prevent teams from paying players through the back door. Ilitch can't pay them any more for other services than those in his contract (which includes spokesmanship of certain things and attendance at his charity events and such). But Ilitch can hook him up with paid extras. That's what they did with Yzerman, when he signed for less and Hockeytown Authentics, which isn't affiliated with the Wings except for their purchasing agreement, kind of underpaid for their authentic gear from the Wings and overpaid Yzerman for doing those "ooh, curling" commercials. Draper too. But those commercials got investigated by the league.

Some teams are starting to use my loophole, though, where you have a team/player option at the league minimum at the end of the contract. It would be an easy fix for the NHL to stop it, but they haven't yet.

Another loophole I foresee is the re-signing clause. You can negotiate a contract extention with a player and then have the new contract apply for the remaining years. So let's say you wanted to pay Nick Lidstrom $7 million per year for 2005-06 through 2009-10. In 2005, you sign him for $9 million per season on a two-year contract. Then at the end of the season (when you know you're not going to sign any more guys), you renegotiate his contract to take whatever was left of the cap, say an extra $3 million, so he counts $12 million against your 2005-06 cap (under NHL rules, you can do this so long as he's not an upcoming free agent). Then, you renegotiate the deal after the season, but before July 1, signing a contract extention for the remaining $23 million over 4 years. Lidstrom will now count just $5.75 million against your cap in 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10.

That extra $1.25 million per year under the cap is the difference between a checking forward and a 2nd-line scorer.

And so long as nobody finds out you were in collusion, it looks totally normal to the NHL: Detroit signed the NHL's best defenseman for a huge contract, maxed what they could pay him under the cap, then discussed a long-term deal to carry him to his retirement in Detroit at a fair price. Only Kenny and Nick and Lidstrom's agent will ever know the actual deal was simply a front-loaded $35 million over 5 years.

By spending up to the cap level and renegotiating the contracts afterwards, you can actually get your marquee player's contract to count significantly less against the cap for the bulk of his contract.

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