CBA 102: The Wade Redden rule

Image courtesy of openingfaceoff.netUpon completion of the new CBA I had been planning to progress CBA 101 to CBA 102 (clever…I know) and tackle the differences between the two. However, with many of the specifics of the proposals between the National Hockey League and NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA), I thought that I would go ahead and proceed with it now.

Last week I wrote a piece about the NHL’s latest offer to the NHLPA and how it severely hurts a team like the Flyers. I wanted to expand upon one of the proposed stipulations, specifically what is being called the “Wade Redden rule”.

During the now-expired CBA, teams had the ability to rid themselves of bad contracts by stashing a player in the minors to rot forever and ever. Or, if you’re Paul Holmgren, until you decide to recall them on re-entry waivers and they get claimed by someone else, leaving you with dead cap space (see: Randy Jones). While this doesn’t save the owner any real money — the player still gets paid — it does prevent that player from ever hitting against the salary cap.

Once a player is waived and clears waivers, they can then be assigned to the American Hockey Leage and officially come off of the NHL salary cap. For a full explanation of waivers and re-entry waivers, you can see my very first CBA 101 article.

Prior to the 2008-09 season, the New York Rangers signed Wade Redden to a six-year contract with a cap hit of $6.5 million. However, the 2009-10 season was his last in the NHL as he has since spent his time in the AHL so that the Rangers could save cap space and correct what was an obviously bad contract. That is why we have the aptly named “Wade Redden rule” in the new proposal.

Redden is not the only NHL caliber player with a horrendous contract that is forced to spend his days in the AHL. It’s actually quite common, but Redden is the most high profile because of the dollar amount.

The proposal specifies the rule as follows:

Money paid to Players on NHL SPCs (one-ways and two-ways) in another professional league will not be counted against the Players’ Share, but all dollars paid in excess of $105,000 will be counted against the NHL Club’s Averaged Club Salary for the period during which such Player is being paid under his SPC while playing in another professional league.

The Flyers are culpable in recent years with Matt Walker, Michael Leighton, and “Traffic Cone” Jones.

Jones was eventually recalled on re-entry waivers and claimed by the Kings. Which resulted in the Flyers being responsible for 50 percent of his cap hit while he played for another team. That contract has since expired.

Leighton’s contract has expired but was re-signed to a one year deal to be the NHL backup goaltender. It is unlikely that the Flyers would even attempt to waive him and assign him to the AHL since he has such a small cap hit and is the backup.

Walker, however, still has one more year remaining on his deal at $1.7 million (such a good trade…). If the “Wade Redden rule” ever makes it to implementation, the Flyers will be hit with that cap hit, and will have to plan accordingly.