With all the excitement of a new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and NHLPA, many fans cared not for the legal details, they were just glad that hockey's back. In lieu of reading the entire CBA page by page, we thought we'd put together some of the highlights, and talk about how those changes will affect the Buffalo Sabres.
One of the biggest changes in the new CBA is that the salary cap will be going down to $64.3 million, but not until next season. All teams will play this year under the $70.2 million cap, and the Sabres are currently almost $6 million under that cap. Next season, the team will have some work to do, as they only have 14 players currently under contract for next season.
New rules in this CBA limit cnotract lengths to 7 years, or 8 if you're resigning your own player, and the variance in the contract cannot exceed 35% from year to year, nor 50% between any two years. This means no more deals like the one Buffalo gave Christian Ehrhoff, a massively front-loaded 10 year deal. It does not, however, affect any contracts already signed, so all previous contracts will be grandfathered in to this new agreement.
Each team has been awarded two contract buyouts to use at ay time before the 2013-14 season or the 2014-15 season. The Sabres have a few candidates for buyout, most notably Ville Leino, but nothing can happen on that front until the end of the season.
After this season, teams can no longer walk away from a salary arbitration ruling unless it is over $3.5 million. Yeah, it's not the most exciting topic, but it will be an important one for the Sabres next year as Cody Hodgson, Mike Weber, TJ Brennan, and Jhonas Enroth are all RFAs and eligible for arbitration.
Minor League Salary aka "The Wade Redden Rule"
All players on a one way contract playing in the AHL will have their salary count against the NHL cap. The Sabres have buried guys in the minors in recent history, such as Shaone Morrisonn and Ales Kotalik, and many thought they would do so with Adam Pardy, but that might not be so easy now.
Other Quick Hits
- The "tryout" period for major junior hockey players will be six games this year, meaning Mikhail Grigorenko will have less time to make an impression if the team keeps him around after camp.
- The trade deadline will be April 5. Get your #dosomethingdarcy Tweets ready now.
- The new CBA will allow teams to help pay the salary or take on some of the cap hit from players they've traded, making it much like how the NBA works. This could lead to some more creative trades or lend increased value to expiring contracts.
There you go Sabres fans. What do think will impact the Sabres the most? Did we forget anything?