FanPost

A proposal to prevent Kovalchuk-type contracts.

I had this idea while reading Phigment’s fan post titled “Salary Cap Stupidity by All”. He proposed an idea of how to calculate the cap hit and I commented an idea to prevent front loaded contracts like the one Kovalchuk signed Monday which the league rejected. I decided to make my comment into a FanPost because I think this is a good idea for everybody to ponder.

My idea can hopefully cut down down on the front loaded contracts and not have one like Kovalchuk’s. They keep the same rule about the most amount the salary can drop from year to year as is in the current CBA. In addition, I think they should add a rule make the lowest salary in the contract no lower than a certain percentage of the cap hit for that contract. I am proposing a percentage of 33%, meaning that the player’s salary can’t be less than 1/3 of the total cap hit at any point during the contract. I think that this can cut down on league minimums being tacked on the end of the contract for a multiple years when it’s obvious the player will retire.

For a great example of what a contract can look like with my idea, we have to look no farther than Mike Richards’ contract.

A lot of us know the terms, but here they are:

Cap Hit: $5,750,000

Salaries:
2008-2009 $5,400,000
2009-2010 $5,600,000
2010-2011 $6,400,000
2011-2012 $6,600,000
2012-2013 $8,400,000
2013-2014 $7,600,000
2014-2015 $7,000,000
2015-2016 $6,000,000
2016-2017 $5,500,000
2017-2018 $4,500,000
2018-2019 $3,000,000
2019-2020 $3,000,000

So Richards’ lowest salary during the entire contract is in the last 2 years at $3M. HIs cap hit is $5.75M. The lowest salary is 52% of the cap hit, so it’s pretty good and would work. Even if the league has a 50% rule his would be a great example.

Now for an example of a bad contract that this idea will prevent, I will pick Ilya Kovalchuk’s.

Cap Hit: $6,000,000

Salaries:
2010-2011 $6,000,000
2011-2012 $6,000,000
2012-2013 $11,500,000
2013-2014 $11,500,000
2014-2015 $11,500,000
2015-2016 $11,500,000
2016-2017 $11,500,000
2017-2018 $10,500,000
2018-2019 $8,500,000
2019-2020 $6,500,000
2020-2021 $3,500,000
2021-2022 $750,000
2022-2023 $550,000
2023-2024 $550,000
2024-2025 $550,000
2025-2026 $550,000
2026-2027 $550,000

He has a cap hit of $6M and his lowest salary is only 550K (for the last 5 years nonetheless). If we apply the same math to this contract as I did to Richards’, Kovalchuk’s lowest salary is 9.17% of the cap hit, about 1/10 of the cap hit. This is much lower than Richards’, which only goes to about 1/2 of the cap hit, and is lower than my proposed percentage.

If we do this math to a few other contracts we get the following (I just divide the lowest salary year by the cap hit to get the percentage). I went through the teams in Capgeek to find good examples:

Marian Hossa – Cap Hit: $5.275M, Lowest Salary: $1M (last 4 years), percentage 18.9%

Duncan Keith – Cap Hit: $5,538,462, Lowest Salary: $1.5M (last year), percentage: 27.1%

Marc Savard – Cap Hit: $4,007,143, Lowest Salary: $525K (last 2 years), percentage 13.1%

Henrik Zetterberg – Cap Hit: $6,083,333, Lowest Salary $1M (last 2 years), percentage 16.4%

Johan Franzen – Cap Hit: $3,954,545, Lowest Salary $1M (last 2 years), percentage 25.3%

Vincent Lecavalier – Cap Hit: $$7,727,273, Lowest Salary $1M (last year), percentage 12.9%

Roberto Luongo – Cap HIt: $5,333,333, Lowest Salary $1M (last 2 years), percentage 18.75%

Danny Briere – Cap HIt: $6.5M, Lowest Salary $2M (last year), percentage 31.0%

Chris Pronger – Cap Hit: $4,921,429, Lowest Salary $525K (last 2 years), percentage 10.7%

So we can see that a lot of these have pretty low percentages. Briere’s and Keith’s are close to my proposed percentage, and Franzen is the only other one above 25%. But with others you can see some are clear circumventions and wouldn’t work with my idea. Pronger’s shouldn’t count since it’s a 35+ contract and we will be responsible for the cap hit, but then again they can get around that somehow (LTIR like Rathje?).

I think that my idea may cut down on it but hopefully keep everybody happy, both big market teams and small market teams. I do agree that players can be paid less as they get older since their production is expected to drop, but contracts that are like Kovalchuk’s, Hossa’s, Savard's, or Lecavalier’s scream to me that they are going to retire before they get to those low salary years.

 If anybody needs me to explain my logic or if I need to clarify anything let me know. If anybody else proposed this idea, sorry if I repeated it. I hope this was a good first FanPost!

This item was written by a member of this community and is not necessarily endorsed by <em>Broad Street Hockey</em>.

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