Just a quick thought, which I've tossed around before. Just wanted some opinions. First I'll post some facts and then get to the question:
The current CBA allows salary and cap hit to be unequal. That allows (as we see with Shea Weber's offer sheet) bonuses to allow teams to pay more in the first few years of a contract when a player is better, but then reduce the payout as he becomes less effective.
Many teams salaries do not equal the cap hits that they own. Many teams manipulate the cap to either reach the floor or avoid hitting the ceiling. A prime example of this is the Islanders acquisition of Lubomir Visnovsky. His cap hit is 5.6 million, but the Islanders will only pay him 3 million. In essence they circumvent the cap to spend less than the cap floor. Obviously this is seen on the other side too by adding meaningless years at the veterans minimum.(See Pronger, Chris).
The Bruins tossed around the idea of trading the contract of Tim Thomas. Since he's taking the year off and his contract was 35+, his cap hit still exists on the books. If he were traded for a meaningless draft pick, a team could pay out nothing while still using his contract to reach the floor. This becomes a very complicated issue. The previous CBA did not discuss this possibility. No team has attempted this before so there is no precedent. Furthermore, the CBA is set to expire, so who knows what will happen in the future. But we're talking about right now.
Specifically we're talking about between now and next Thursday. It's obvious that the Predators are small market team without large revenue. The Floor is currently set at 54 million (I think, please correct me if I'm wrong) and the Predators have slightly less than 41 million dollars in salary.
So they need to make 13 million dollars up. That's a lot of money and not many players are left around that should be paid that much. Assuming the Predators do not match Shea Weber, they will need to acquire players that have large cap hits. The obvious solutions are either 1. overpay players for one year to reach the floor; 2. acquire players like the Islanders did that have large cap hits with expiring deals but low salary; 3. wait until the new CBA and pray like hell the cap goes down.
Now, I'm just merely suggesting connecting dots. What if the Predators agree not to match Shea Weber's contract in exchange for a trade revolving around the 4 first rounders they acquire from the Flyers. Let's assume a trade is worked out. In addition to whatever we would give up (Voracek, MAB, Brandon Manning, whatever it is), what if Pronger and his meaningless cap hit were tacked on to any trade with the Predators. He reportedly moved back to St. Louis and his career is over (or so we speculate). But his cap hit of almost 5 million dollars would go to the Predators. The Preds could play the same game the Flyers are playing; That is claiming Pronger is 50-50 to come back and is working towards recovery and when he's healthy he's one of the best defensemen in the game.
Now I know many will say Pronger is still getting paid. I'm not sure if he is or he isn't. But his contract was insured (or at least I haven't seen any reports to the contrary). That means some insurance company would pay out any balance. The Flyers already paid the premiums so the Predators would have no costs.
Is this cap circumvention? Certainly. But it's connecting the dots between a few things that are already in practice in the NHL.
So long story short, your thoughts?