Need to shed some money to free up cap space? Have a big contract you regret? Why spend the time looking for a trade partner when you can just do what all the cool kids are doing and bury your managerial mistakes in the minors. It gives you the freedom to make bad deals, then have absolutely no repercussions if it doesn't work out.
Find out how after the jump
Of course this is a win-win situation for everybody, isn't it? I'm sure that the 34-year-old 2-time all-star defenseman Wade Redden wanted to finish his career playing for the Connecticut Whale. Yes, Redden still gets paid, but for most players pride is just as important. Years of hard work and dedication are thrown in the garbage because some poorly run team can get their mistake off the NHL books.
This is quickly becoming a problem, and if it doesn't stop, quality players will have their career end prematurely due to the mistakes of team management. It wasn't Reddens fault that the Rangers offered him $39M over 6 years, or that Jeff Finger took the $14M deal the Maple leafs offered after playing in only 93 games. Who will be next?
Armchair GM's used to discuss ways of trading their problem contracts, now in every discussion you can bet there will be a few "just dump him in the AHL" comments thrown in there.
An increasing amount of NHL caliber talent is sitting in the AHL right now, simply because teams don't want the above average cap hits on their roster. What happens when Ville Leino (currently 324th in the league) doesn't live up to the hype of his $27M deal? Or if Brad Richards can't handle the pressure of playing on Broadway while being the highest paid player in the NHL? (He currently sits in 65th place in scoring with 16 points)
The newest addition to this growing problem is everyone’s favorite rent-a-cup Hawks, who recently sent Rostislav Olesz down to the AHL. Olesz was due to make $3.4 million this season. He joins Cristobal Huet who was dumped last season somewhere in the Swiss Alps. Together the two make up a little over $9 million dollars worth of bad decisions that the hawks can now use to upgrade their team free and clear.
Teams need to be held accountable, they should honor the deals they offer even if it doesn't exactly work out how they planned. Would you as a player on the open market trust a team like that? I know it would cross my mind. What if the Wings to sent Zetterberg to Grand Rapids for going on a 15-16 game slump, or since he hasn't matched his 43 goal, 92 point season after signing a new deal?
There should also be a clause in a player's contract that if they don't live up to their big salary that either their team is allowed to fine them big time or be able to annul their contract. Their are players that were stars and deserved a big contract but once they got it, started playing like duds. You can't just blame the teams for cheating as the players cheat as well.
I would like to think this problem will solve itself, especially in the case of the Hawks. This has become a recent phenomenon, so I don't think the players have adjusted to it yet. What I would hope will happen is that players will just stop signing with teams like this or that they will refuse to waive no trade clauses to go there. When the CBA comes up though, I wouldn't be surprised to see this as a grievance of the NHLPA.
My proposed rule change to prevent this from happening would be to only allow double the league-minimum salary (just about $1M right now) to come off a team's cap hit while the player is in the minors. That way, Fabian Brunnstrom's $600K cap hit would come completely off the salary hit when he goes down (because that's what the minors are for), but if the Wings wanted to say... send Jiri Hudler down just to make room, they'd still have a $1.8M cap hit counting against them to have an established NHL-caliber talent playing in a developmental league.
Exactly, this is how poser teams are able to be successful. With decisions the Blackhawks made they should be nowhere near the top. What's to stop a team dump a player who is near the end of his front loaded contract. They only pay him 1 mil but the 7 mil cap hit is gone.
I hadn't even thought about the long term deals since they are such a new thing, but that's a great point. It's always been thought that these players would retire before the end of these deals, but whats to stop the team from ending them earlier than the player wanted. @DRWfan