Great article on Hockeybuzz by Daniel Tolensky that shows exactly why the cap is broken and how the new NHL favours the big markets teams even more now than before.
Over the last three years of the Briere deal, his actual salary will be $12M while his cap number will be $19.5M. Over the last two it is $5M versus $13M.
So move along to the 5th or 6th year of that deal when Briere is not producing at a prime level anymore. A lot of people will say that Philly is stuck with a bad contract. Buying him out will create almost as much of a cap hit as keeping him.
Enter a team like Florida is now. Very young team, lots of potential but has trouble meeting the floor. Or maybe it is a team with a penny pinching owner. Either way, Philly will have no trouble unloading Briere to one of the these teams.
If you are having trouble meeting the floor why wouldn't you take on $13M of cap hit for $5M? It totally makes sense.
Therefore, the big teams can sign these guys for crazy front loaded contracts and teams that can't get free agents to sign will have to take on the contracts later when the player is past it.
Throw in players being able to move at 27 and really the small teams have zero leverage. The Oilers are willing to spend at the cap this year but couldn't get anyone to sign here (sorry, besides Richard Tarnstrom) because they don't have Saks 5th Avenue or Laguna Beach.
And don't say it is about winning. Buffalo got spanked this year and they won the President's trophy last year.
Roll back the clock to 2002 and the only teams signing guys were Toronto, Rangers, Detroit, Philly, Colorado, LA, Dallas, St. Louis. Flip to 2007 and just about anyone of any value signed with one of those teams.
Before the lockout the Oilers couldn't get a premier player and lost our stars at age 31. Post lockout, the Oilers can't get a premier player and lose our stars at age 27. Totally raw deal.
Sure Philly fans are jazzed because they can reload from a last placed finish in one season but 75% of the NHL is screwed.