LeBrun: NHL will consider option to eat salary in trades

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Interesting tidbit in Pierre LeBrun’s reader “rants” post. When asked why there were so few trades at the deadline, here was his answer:

The No. 1 reason for it is parity. The standings are so close that not enough teams would all-out declare themselves sellers. That created a market where the rentals cost too much (see first-round pick for Paul Gaustad). Leafs GM Brian Burke for a years now has pushed the idea of bringing back the ability to retain salary in trades. Right now, that’s against the rules in the CBA. But Burke believes if teams could eat some of the salary of a player it is trading (as was the case pre-2004 in the NHL), that it would loosen up the trade market. More and more GMs are agreeing with Burke on this and I can tell you the NHL will give it some thought in the next round of CBA talks. Not only would you get more trades on deadline day, but you’d get more trades year-round.

As a blogger, all I can say is please let this be true. Just imagine all the ridiculous trade rumors we could spread if teams could eat salary.

Take Rick Nash. One of the biggest issues for clubs considering an acquisition of the Blue Jackets’ captain was his $7.8 million cap hit. So let’s suppose Columbus could eat, say, $1.8 million of it – do you think Glen Sather would be willing to sweeten the pot for a perennial 30-goal scorer with a $6 million cap hit instead of 7.8? Of course he would.

Obviously there’s the risk GMs would spend even more wildly than they already do if they thought they could mitigate mistakes down the line, but in the meantime it’d be a lot of fun for fans of (and traffickers in) rampant trade speculation.

Related: Applying the NBA’s “amnesty” clause to the NHL