Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Another Example Of The NHL's Disorganization

I have documented a few examples of odd situations that exist in the NHL that highlight some of its snafus. For example the $75,000 re-entry waivers have kept some of the better minor leaguers in the minors while worse players are called up and are often sent down one day and called up the next to save a few thousand dollars.

There is another example that limits teams abilities to plan for the future. The NHL salary cap is going to go up. This is because the initial revenue estimates were a lowball figure that has been easily surpassed and because the CBA is written to assume an annual increase in revenue each year. This makes Ted Saskin and the impotent NHLPA unhappy. They want salary cap reduced. This is because it is highly unlikely that the NHL will exceed its revenue estimates next season and as a result the players will have large escrow payments to make that will likely sour them toward NHLPA head Ted Saskin.

Next season, the salary cap is expected to be $46 million with a salary floor of $29 million. In an effort to try to keep his job Ted Saskin is asking to have the cap reduced to $43 million or so. Crazy as it sounds, the players union wants the salary cap lowered.

This leads to serious problems planning as a GM. A good GM knows approximately what his team can afford to pay in salaries next season. However, this GM has a reasonably large range of figures for the potential salary cap. It makes longterm planning hard. One place where this is a signficant issue is Colorado. They will likely spend near the salary cap figure. They have added another salary in Jose Theodore. Many other teams are in similar situations where they want to resign current players, but have no idea how much money the NHL and NHLPA will allow them to spend on salaries next season, so their hands are partially tied.

This new CBA is needlessly difficult. It removes the ability of fans to understand the situation their current team is in (salary expenditures and the CBA itself are unavailable). It even removes the ability of GMs to fully plan for the future because CBA details are still being hammered out.

NOTE: This TSN article came out this evening where Ted Saskin reports that the final decisions about the salary cap figure for 2006 will not be made until the NHLPA meeting in the first week of July. In order to facillitate this the free agency period will be delayed. And GMs will have very little notice of the final salary cap number before they have to start singing free agents. They have essentially no time to plan (or more likely will be forced to make plans for the contingency of more than one different salary cap figure).

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