1) Yup, that's what capgeek is calling the need for NHL teams to spend enough to comply with the CBA rule that they spend a minimum of combined salaries each season. Now, most have heard of the salary ceiling, or 'cap', but few discuss that there actually is a corresponding 'floor' that requires teams to spend. Its calculated using the median from the allowed max, which is based upon gross revenues. The max this next season will be whopping 64.3
2) Its amazing , but in the 'short' 6 seasons since the last Bettman (owners)-initiated work stoppage/lockout the salary MINIMUM is now almost 10 million ABOVE ( 48.3) what the MAX was (39 mil) then. Low income/small market teams that initially were helped by the salary cap now find themselves having to try to spend money just for the sake of spending money to achieve the floor minimum. Thus the Bettman salary cap which was supposed to help these teams, is now causing needing financial distress. Thanks Gary, but that discussion is for another post. What we are going to ask (rhetorically) is how some of these teams can realistically reach the floor? Some, like the Florida Panthers spent like drunken sailors(with due apologies to sailors) to easily get to the floor. Some, including us, think Dale Tallon spend stupidly. Others think he had little choice, which we can understand, but 16.4 million for 36 yr old Ed Jovanovski and 4 yrs 18 mil for Tomas Fleischmann??? The Jovocop salary by the way can not be bought out/stashed in the AHL, as he is over 35! Dumb! Others, especially the NY Islanders will have real trouble getting there; (More on them later)
3) So the 48.3 million dollar question is, " What IF a team fails to get to the salary cap floor before the season starts, or at any time during the season"?? WE asked just that and we were told that officially if a team either is under OR over the salary cap parameters they are disallowed from participating in playing any games until they do. We inquired further, and surprisingly we were told that the NHL would either 'look the other way', or have lax enforcement of floor dwelling teams. Really?? Amazing if true! In fact its probably happened already. Not before a season started, but after the trade deadline after teams' have dumped salary. We're told a few have gone under the floor for the last couple of weeks and no sanctions were employed. Another reason we have been clamoring for years that the NHL publish each teams' salary cap obligation http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2008/08/salary-cap-transparency.html daily
4) So who is most as 'risk' of not making the floor? Well it appears its going to take a great deal of work by Garth Snow to get his Islanders "Up to the floor". Right now they have 18 players under contract for next season and 10+ million in salary to use. They have 2 RFA's who by all accounts will get, at most, 4 of that mil. That leaves 6 additional million on 2 roster spots. What we have been told is that the Isles may have already penciled in Nino Neiderieiter (last years 1st round pick) to be on the team (ready or not?) to account for almost 3 mil (with bonuses). AS you can see Garth Snow will still have to add another piece to get up to the floor. Likely Snow will pick up a discarded player in September/October unless a team makes him an offer he cant refuse and a big trade for an established player for a prospect/pick is made? Also keep in mind their cap # includes 3 million in payments to Yashin and Witt!
5) Now regardless of how the Isles or any other team gets to the floor, the thing that bothers me is that teams now appear to be spending just for the sake of spending. Seems to defeat the purpose of making the league financially sound. Spending big $$ doesn't equate into success anyway. To force a team into making fool hearty financial decisions is idiotic and a circumstance few discussed at the time the CBA was signed in 2005. We expect the fact that several teams are struggling financially will be used against the players in the next round of CBA talks when in fact its the owners lack of revenue sharing that is the main culprit. If the NHL wants small market(revenue ) teams to exist they better be prepared to share with them and prop them up and not expect the players alone to do the heavy lifting (again) Yes, the subject for another post.
As always keep it here for all the latest