Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What Impact Will A New NHL CBA Have On Trade Deadline Day?

As we approach the NHL trade deadline day (a new national holiday in Canada), we must ask what impact will a new CBA have on trades.

The CBA puts in place a competitive financial framework which teams must abide by. The conditions of the framework of course include the salary cap and the salary floor. At this point, there is no telling how these two issues, which are joined at the CBA hip, will resolve themselves. The league may look to push the floor down, while the NHLPA will likely resist a decrease in the salary floor. 

As well, the share of revenue allocated to players (presently at 57%) will likely drop, which means the salary cap may stay the same - or worse for the players - drop. Much depends on what projected revenues are for the upcoming season.

There is also talk of a possible amnesty clause allowing teams to get rid of one problem contract. The amnestied player would be waived by the team and the salary would no longer count against the cap. The team, however, would still have to pay that player.

As well, will the new CBA close the loophole that allowed teams to send players to the minors and not have that salary count against the cap? (Cue Wade Redden). Currently, being able to send a player to the minors with a view to burying a contract undermines competitive balance - the whole point of a cap world.

If a team no longer has the option of burying a contract in the minors, would they risk trading for a player who may see a decline in production in a couple of years? Would that make it less likely that a team may take on a big contract?

If the floor drops, would teams be more likely to trade players away?

If the salary cap drops, would teams be as eager to trade for players?

If there is an amnesty clause, would teams consider trading for a quick fix now and look to possibly cut that player come the end of the season? That would be a true rental player. One and done.

There are a number of uncertainties associated with the new CBA such that it could have a real impact on how teams choose to manage trade deadline day - or draft day (another big trade day). 

Will be interesting to watch. I welcome your views in the comments section.

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