As I was driving home tonight I was listening to the Team 1200 sports radio station here in Ottawa and apparently there is some outrage and misunderstanding about the Mogilny decision today. The announcers were talking about how there are probably 29 other teams who are upset at this decision. Let me say that this is probably not the case and the reason is simple.
The over age 35 and in the second or later year of a multi-year contract rule where the players salary will count against the cap regardless of where or even if he is playing was put in place to stop teams from circumventing the salary cap. Here is how a team might be able to do that.
They could sign 38 year old player X to a 5 year contract that pays him $3 million in year 1 and $500,000 in years 2,3,4 and 5. The average salary will then be just $1 million and the salary cap hit would be just $1 million in year 1 of that contract. There could also be a wink-wink-nudge-nudge agreement between the player and the team that after year 1 the player will retire. If the over 35, multi-year contract rule was not in place the player just made $3 million and the team only counted $1 million against the cap effectively allowing the team to sign another $2 million player. The rule was not in place to shaft a team if one of their older players got seriously injured and could not play.
As for other teams GMs being upset. Do you think the Carolina Hurricanes would be upset at this decision if Rod Brind’amour gets seriously injured this year and can’t play again? Brind’amour just signed a 5 year contract. Do you think the Los Angeles Kings would be upset with this decision if Rob Blake, the guy who signed a 2 year $12 million contract, got injured next month and couldn’t play again? Do you think the St. Louis Blues will be upset considering they have signed Weight for 2 years and $7 million? There are a number of other teams in similar situations. Do you think any of them will be upset at the decision?
On a side note, I wonder which will be the first team to offer a 34 year old a 10 year contract at $5 million per year for the first 5 years and$500,000 for the last 5 years. Makes you think that maybe the biggest mistake the Islanders made in the DiPietro deal is not making it a 20 or 25 year deal with a bunch of $500,000 years at the end of the contract to drop the average salary even more. I mean, they have already committed the real dollars, why not reduce the salary cap dollars in the process.