Arizona Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata will garner attention come trade deadline time because he is an impending free agent. As TSN’s Bob McKenzie points out, however, Vrbata’s performance-laden contract poses problems for potential trade partners because his bonuses could significantly increase his salary and cap hit.
Vrbata signed a $1MM contract this off-season, but could earn an additional $2.25MM in bonuses. Those bonuses could wreak havoc on a contending team’s cap space next year if a team decides to shift those cap charges to next season as allowed under the cap. Spotrac.com lists Vrbata’s bonuses as:
- 10 GP: $250,000
- 30 GP: $250,000
- 20 Goals/40 PTS: $500,000
- Playoffs: $250,000
- Per Playoff Round: $250,000
Vrbata has already hit his 10 and 30 GP bonuses, and is 10 goals or 11 points away from his other stat-based bonus. The two playoff bonuses listed seem innocuous and unattainable if Vrbata remains with the Coyotes, but if traded those bonuses become very valuable. Vrbata would receive $500K just by making the playoffs, and an additional $250K for each successive round. If Vrbata makes the Stanley Cup Finals he earns $1.25MM in additional bonuses on top of his performance-based bonuses.
Any team vying for Vrbata will be a playoff-bound team, so Vrbata’s potential bonuses become instantly attainable. This may eliminate teams like the Chicago Blackhawks because of the potential cap overages next season. The contract structure will not kibosh trades, but it may lower Arizona’s return as teams are trading for a potentially $3.25MM rental instead of a $1MM rental.