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Andreas Lilja May Not Have the Number Six Defenseman Slot Locked Up Afterall

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For months, we've been operating under the assumption that Andreas Lilja will be the Flyers' number 6 (or at least number 7) defenseman due to his contract. Turns out, that is almost certainly wrong.

Thanks to Chris Pronger, we're all familiar with the idea that players aged 35 or older have different rules when signing a contract: If they retire, their cap hit stays on the team's salary cap. If they're sent to the minors, the team only gets nominal cap relief. And so on.

Yesterday, I was double-checking to see how much the Flyers would receive in cap relief upon sending a 35-plus contract to the minors. Section 50.2(c)(iv) is the relevant section, discussing what counts against the salary cap:

All Player Salary and Bonuses earned in a League Year by a Player who is in the second or later year of a multi-year SPC which was signed when the Player was age 35 or older (as of June 30 prior to the League Year in which the SPC is to be effective), regardless of whether, or where, the Player is playing, except to the extent the Player is playing under his SPC in the minor leagues, in which case only the Player Salary and Bonuses in excess of $100,000 shall count towards the calculation of Actual Club Salary; plus

That "in the second or later year of a multi-year SPC" is a rather obvious qualifier that I don't know how I missed. Or how nobody corrected me.

In either event, it would appear that Lilja has a guaranteed NHL job next year. He's still highly likely to make the club this week - afterall, they just gave him a two-year deal three months ago - but it won't be due to his cap hit counting no matter where he plays.