NHL owners want to limit contracts to just five years in length. It's part of a series of rollbacks the owners asked of the players in their initial CBA proposal last month, and it makes the two six-year deals handed out by Paul Holmgren in the last week all the more interesting. Is he trying to get around the rules that will govern contracts after Sept. 15?
It's a good theory. Who knows if that five year limit will actually be a piece of the next CBA, but the owners want it and it could very well happen. It's sort of the only way to explain two six-year deals to guys who may not have been given six year deals under other circumstances.
But with Scott Hartnell and Wayne Simmonds signing long-term deals and Jakub Voracek signing for four years this summer, the elephant in the room looms large: What's the deal with Claude Giroux?
If the Flyers are locking all of these other guys up long term, and if they're trying to get around potential new CBA rules in the process, doesn't it seem like Giroux should be part of that group as well? This next month or so might be the Flyers' last chance to sign Giroux to a contract more than five years in length. We all want Giroux to be in Philadelphia for more than five years, SO WHAT'S THE HOLD UP YOU GUYS?!
Well ... this would be the hold up. Section 50.5 (f) of the current CBA.
We've bolded the important part here. Really, it's just the second point.
(i) An "extension" of an [Standard Player's Contract or SPC], as such term is used in this Agreement, shall mean a new SPC entered into between a Club and a Player, which SPC is to be effective immediately upon the expiration of the Club and Player's existing SPC. To the extent a Club and Player enter into a valid contract extension during the final year of the Player's SPC, the contract extension will be fully enforceable pursuant to its terms even in the event the Player is injured prior to the commencement date of the contract extension.
(ii) A Club that wishes to sign a Player to an "extension" of an existing SPC, may do so only in the final year of such SPC.
(iii) A Club shall only be permitted to sign a Player to an "extension" of the existing SPC in the amount of: (A) the SPC of the Player to be extended (then included in the Club's Averaged Club Salary); plus (B) the Club's Payroll Room in the current year; plus (C) the aggregate Averaged Amounts of any other SPC or SPCs that expire at the end of such League Year (to extent the Club has other such SPCs which are currently counting in the Club's Averaged Club Salary); minus any previously Tagged Payroll Room. The Tagging Rule referred to in paragraph (e)(iv)(C) above will thereafter apply.
Long story short: The Flyers can only sign Giroux (or any other player) to a contract extension in the final year of his current deal. Giroux's current three-year, $11.25 million contract expires after the 2013-14 season, so the Flyers can't extend him until July 1, 2013 at 12 p.m. ET or later. He won't be signing a contract extension this offseason.