Report: Next CBA could punish teams for exploiting loopholes

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If the next CBA shakes out a certain way, “lifetime” contracts could hurt big-spending teams in ways that extend beyond injury risks.

Craig Custance goes in-depth (subscription required) to discuss how an altered salary cap might penalize clubs that made substantial, uneven offers to players.

Teams that handed out big signing bonuses and stashed expensive, unproductive players in the minors are among the clubs who might sweat things out in such a hypothetical system.

It’s still fairly early in CBA negotiations, but some teams are pushing for a restructuring of the way salary-cap totals are calculated. Part of the motivation is to limit future Kovalchuk-like contracts. However, a desire to punish the teams that pushed the limits with past massive long-term contracts must also be fueling the drive.

One suggested solution is that annual salary-cap hits become the actual salary in that season rather than the average salary over the life of the contract. Another solution would be to average the first five seasons or five highest-salaried seasons of these long-term deals to come up with their salary-cap number.

Later on in the story, Custance points out that it would affect so many teams – including some of the most influential ones – that it “doesn’t seem realistic.”

Still, considering another summer full of “lifetime” deals that tend to feature “creative financing,” it’s interesting to see that NHL teams are looking to close those big loopholes.

(H/T to George Malik.)