I love the Trade deadline. It's exciting and reshapes the league in many ways, for both the immediate and future of our game and teams.
Recently Eklund proposed the idea of an exempt contract at the deadline to help move the big expiring UFA deals. While I personally don't like the idea, it did spark an idea that I do like. It's raw and needs work.
For 10 days leading up to the Trade deadline, trades involving players (31 or older) that are UFA at the seasons end, the cap hit for teams recieving UFAs should be based on the base salary, not the AAV. (NOTE that player contracts are not affected, so movement clauses do not change)
It's simple and while it won't affect every contract the same, it should benefit the league, teams chasing cup glory, and the players that achieve that glory.
Lets use Phil Kessel as an example. He wasn't moved this year, mostly because he isn't the player he once was, but also in large part because his AAV is 6.8m and not many teams can take that hit, especially considering the player Kessel is today.
His BASE salary in his final year is 1m. His days of being worthy of his 6.8m AAV are long gone, but he can still be useful for one last cup run to the right team.
Let's say he is aquired by Pittsburg. The return doesn't matter, the important point for this will be that Arizona retains %50 of his contract. With my proposed idea, Arizona would still be accountable for %50 of his 6.8 AAV, but the team recieving his contract would be calculating the cap hit using his BASE salary and have to work in 500k.
I can justify this idea with a few points.
1. His contract is ending. This is the biggest point. Virtually no player is worth the value of their AAV at the end of their deal, as they (supposedly) were at the time it was signed. It seems resonable to factor in that a contract is ending in a few months and has been paid out, almost entirely.
2. It helps balance the cap flaws with older contracts without affecting real dollars. Everyone is paid the same, this is simply math manipulation. Substitute one value for another that exists already.
3. Selfishly, it creates excitement. The Trade deadline is huge for the NHL and anything that improves the exposure the league gets on this day is better for everyone in the NHL.
4. It's becoming a common practice to have a low base salary in the final year to lower the AAV, so moving forward the idea would gain value.
Now as I said, Kessels' contract was the most drastic example. This does not run true for every deal. But it works for enough current deals that the idea should be considered, and most contracts ending after this years UFA crop ( and being signed ) have declining values in the base salary. If the idea actually became a reality, I can quaranty that all deals for players that expire after they are 31 would. It's already a practice to get AAVs down.
We could have seen player such as
PK Subban ( 2m base )
Radulov ( 2.65 base )
Dustin Brown ( 4m base )
all be easier to move because of their base salary.
There are always examples that run counter to the arguement we make, so here are a few
DeHaan ( 5.4 base )
Manson ( 4.45 base )
but %50 retention still allows for cap savings.
Maybe clubs can have the option to chose the base or AAV. When all is said and done, I beleive using the base salary for deadline deals when moving UFAs (31 or older ) is far to positive for the leageue, and all involved, not to be a viable option for consideration.
Here's hoping Ek and the gang hear this idea, because I can just imagine the panel lol Mike will rip it until he comes around, Ek will love it almost immediatley, Russ will ponder, and climb on board and Kevin Allen will like it, most likely for the excitement it could generate.
As for those of you that may read this, I will expand on the idea if there is enough feedback and interest. I've been chewing on this for a week, and the research to post a polished idea is surprisingly time consuming.