I still think they have no merit to stop this one. They let all those other I'm gonna play till 40+ year old deals be signed then there is nothing they can do. Some had injury history (Franzen) some play a hard game that will take its toll on the players body (Pronger). If they wanted to stop this they should of stepped up when DiPietro's deal was signed. It does not matter what happens to the last years in any of those contracts they are made to take advantage of the loophole in the CBA plain and simple. They failed to act and stop these contracts in the past so they cannot and should not be able to do it now.
Not really. The league can reject (or nullify at a later time, even if the deal is initially approved) any contract deemed to be a circumvention of the cap. But there isn't any specific definition of what constitutes circumvention. There is this, Section 26.13 (b) from the CBA:
That would seem to provide all the latitude necessary for the league to decide that a 17-year deal for a player who would be 44 at its conclusion can not be explained reasonably without considering it an attempt to avoid the Upper Limit, and/or an unwritten agreement (both of which are specifically prohibited). A line has to be drawn somewhere. Exactly where is somewhat arbitrary. Could be length of the deal, degree of front-loading, age of the player, etc.
There's nothing that specifically prevents 50 or 60 year deals either, but I think we'd all agree that offering a player a contract until they're 84 would be a clear case of circumvention. 84 is just an arbitrary number, there isn't any absolute guarantee that Kovy couldn't play that long. In all the history of the NHL there have been only 7 fewer 84 year-olds as there have been 44 year-olds. Pretty small difference, relatively speaking. No matter where the arbitrary number is (if age was the factor) there would be a line where age X is ok, but age X+1 isn't. They could easily, just for the sake of simplicity, say 43 is far enough.
It's a matter of degrees. See my 50-60 year example above. Also look at the effect of the 'garbage' years. All three deal are structured similar. Front loaded to pay out over 95% of the salary in the first 11, 10, and 9 years respectively for Kovy, Hank, and Mule. Coincidentally, that is when all three players turn 38. After that, all three see their salary drop to $1 million or less.
For Franzen and Zetterberg, each has two years at $1M, reducing their cap hits by around $650k for Frazen, and slightly over $1M for Hank. Kovy has 6 years paying a total of $3.5M, reducing his cap hit by nearly $3 million!
That said, I wouldn't really care if they did nullify our deal, provided we get a period of exclusivity in which to renegotiate. If it meant stopping the nonsense I'd be ok with it. If they let this one go, what are they going to do next year when Parise gets the 22 year deal NJ would need in order to afford him.
There's really not that much risk. If he starts to suck, NJ could just send him to the minors. He'd already have 95% of the salary, so he probably wouldn't care and would just go to Russia anyway, but even if he didn't NJ is still off the hook for the cap hit.
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