I read a little bit more about the bonus issues and according to this news article the total bonus hit added to next year's salary is roughly $5,000,000. The Hawks may be much, much worse off than was even thought.
Link to the Article
The NHL’s cap this season was $56.8-million, and it’s expected to rise for next year close to $58.5-million. According to capgeek.com’s archives, Chicago finished 2009-10 with less than $300,000 in available space under the cap – before bonuses are added in.
And that’s where things get really grim.
The only two Blackhawks regulars with bonuses on their contracts this season were Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who had a combined $5-million of them available. We heard yesterday from TSN’s James Duthie that Toews earned a $1.3-million bonus for winning the Conn Smythe Trophy, which puts Chicago over the cap at least $1-million.
What wasn’t revealed was the fact that both players hit all of their entry-level bonuses this season, meaning an extra $5-million in addition to their base salaries against the cap. It’s exceptionally complicated to calculate exactly how far over the Blackhawks now are, but in looking at the numbers and talking to a few people today, I believe it to be about $4-million.
Teams are only allowed to exceed the salary cap due to bonuses and long-term injury exemptions and only then by a maximum of 7.5 per cent. Chicago came very, very close to that mark this season.
Here’s the relevant portion of the CBA on how that “excess” is dealt with:
“To the extent a Club’s Averaged Club Salary exceeds its Upper Limit as a result of: (i) Exhibit 5 Individual ‘A’ Performance Bonuses and ‘B’ Performance Bonuses paid by the Club that may be earned by Players in the Entry Level System and (ii) Performance Bonuses that may be earned by Players pursuant to Section 50.2(b)(i)© above, then the Club's Upper Limit for the next League Year shall be reduced by an amount equal to such excess.”
That $4-million, in other words, is coming off next year's cap.
Both Kane and Toews were still on entry-level deals this year, and a Conn Smythe bonus fits under the ‘B’ Performance Bonus category as a major league award (a bonus category that maxes out at $2-million in a given season). Toews received $1.3-million from the Blackhawks and another $250,000 from the league for being named MVP.
‘A’ Performance Bonuses, meanwhile, are things like number of goals, assists and points, targets that are set by teams, players and their agents when the contract is signed and that max out at $850,000 a season.
Both players maxed out all of their ‘A’ and ‘B’ bonuses this year to push their team over the cap, meaning that while every other team will be working with about a $58.5-million cap next season, Chicago’s cap "penalty" will mean a ceiling of closer to $54.5-million.
And the Blackhawks already have $57.6-million in salary commitments with only 14 players signed for next season
Edited by Frozen-Man, 11 June 2010 - 06:00 PM.