Bad news. According to the fine folks over at CapGeek, the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t the only team facing cap penalties next season. Here are the basics: a team is allowed to surpass the official salary cap by a “bonus cushion” maxmium of 7.5% for performance bonuses, such as those written into virtually every rookie contract. However, this number is then deducted from your maximum salary cap allowance for the following season.
For example, since winning the Cup, the Blackhawks received plenty of media attention when it was pointed out that Toews’ bonus for the Conn Smythe, among others, would push them well over the cap limit. As a result, the Blackhawks will face a $4.157 million penalty for this upcoming season. The Maple Leafs meanwhile will also have $1.4 million deducted from their limit this coming season, thus setting an internal budget at $58 million rather than the league wide $59.4 million.
This certainly sheds some light on Dave Nonis’ curious “$4 – 5 million” estimation of the Leafs’ remaining funds on the AM640 the other day, as opposed to the previously assumed $6 – 7 million range. Suddenly, the reasons for the Leafs’ lack of major movement during the first couple days of unrestricted free agency makes a little more sense. The Maple Leafs were the league’s youngest team after the trade deadline last season, icing a total of 9 players on bonus-laden entry level contracts (Bozak, Kulemin, Irwin, Kadri, Hanson, Stalberg, Caputi, Gunnarsson, Schenn). Of these players, Bozak was the only one with a maximum value entry level contract valued at $3.725 million.