Expansion Kraken revise Grubauer’s deal after CBA violation

Philipp Grubauer
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The expansion Seattle Kraken have revised their contract with goaltender Philipp Grubauer after the initial deal was rejected by the NHL for violating the collective bargaining agreement, according to a person with knowledge of the move.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because the team did not announce the change that involves $250,000 being moved from 2023-24 to 2022-23 to satisfy CBA requirements.

Grubauer will still count $5.9 million against the salary cap throughout the $35.4 million, six-year deal. Some money needed to be moved after rules were changed years ago to prevent teams from frontloading contracts. The NHL has a cap recapture formula to retroactively punish teams for those contracts, which could come into play for Nashville if Montreal defenseman Shea Weber — who’s expected to miss all next season with injury and may never play again, according to Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin — retires early.

Grubauer’s deal appears to be a minor miscalculation, unlike New Jersey’s initial contract with Ilya Kovalchuk 11 years ago that was rejected for attempted cap circumvention.

Grubauer’s signing was the biggest splash made by the NHL’s newest franchise when he agreed to the contract last Wednesday as free agency opened. Landing Grubauer seemed unlikely given the success he had last season in Colorado, but the Kraken jumped at the opportunity to add one of the top goaltenders in the league.

Grubauer was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy for the first time last season, when the 29-year-old goalie went 30-9-1 with the Avalanche with a 1.95 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. He also led the league in shutouts with seven and didn’t lose consecutive games all season.

Grubauer and Chris Driedger make up Seattle’s primary goaltending duo, but between the pair the Kraken have committed 11.5% ($9.4 million) of this year’s salary cap to the goalie position. Seattle still has $16 million of cap space available.

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