In the salary cap era, there is nothing worse than a bloated contract, especially one susceptible to the cap recapture rules. ESPN’s Craig Custance listed a number of teams who suffer from such a fate, and explains as such:
For some teams, that pain has arrived. And it could be worse than originally projected because of cap recapture rules since put in place in the new CBA to punish teams if the player retires early or the contract is traded.
“Teams that did those contracts essentially embarrassed Gary [Bettman]. We found a way to circumvent the CBA legally,” said one executive. “He was incensed, and said ’I’m going to get you back.’ Which he did.”
Now because of decisions made years ago, in the name of winning it all or rewarding players who helped make it happen, there are a group of teams that have legacy costs built into their current salary cap structure.
Two teams who managed to stay in good shape contract wise–while contending– are the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins, with the Pens not having any legacy costs. But the teams below, according to Custance, are the ones who suffered from the wrath of Bettman.
- Los Angeles Kings
Dustin Brown, Marian Gaborik, and Matt Greene are the contracts that have the Kings on the hook for awhile. Along with Mike Richards’ cap recapture hit of $1.32MM, the Kings have a legacy cost of $8.545MM. Though they won two Stanley Cups since 2012, the cost may have hurt them in terms of losing Milan Lucic and Justin Williams due to a lack of cap room.
- Chicago Blackhawks
Sure, they’ve won three Cups since 2010, but the Marian Hossa deal will eventually be a “real headache” since it still has four years left. Further, Custance writes that the Hawks could be in for real trouble by the 2019-20 season when the core of the Hawks, namely Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook, and Corey Crawford are all into their 30’s and saddling the payroll with a combined $40MM.
- Detroit Red Wings
General manager Ken Holland anchored the team with a number of long term, and expensive contracts. Custance’s list doesn’t include the new deals that include a 32-year-old Frans Nielsen, Justin Abdelkader, and Darren Helm. Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard, and Johan Franzen combine for a legacy cost of $9.34MM. Custance believes the Wings could get out of the Howard contract by trade, but Kronwall and Zetterberg’s deals will cripple the Wings for years to come, especially as their play declines. The legacy cost for Detroit: $9.34MM.
- Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks have a few big contracts, namely the Sedin twins, Alex Burrows, Alexander Edler and Roberto Luongo ($800K retained). Custance notes that while he would take the Sedins on his team any day, their decline is certainly happening.