The Philadelphia Flyers can be cap compliant before the season even with Dan Cleary and not trading a soul. When the Flyers invited Dan Cleary to camp and reportedly already agreed upon terms of a contract, many speculated how they could make it all fit under the cap. Afterall, the Flyers are already over $2 million over the upper-limit according to capgeek.
Hell, I’ve even been speaking as if trading a defenseman was a foregone conclusion; but honestly…it’s not. They don’t have to.
Tim Panaccio of CSN had an article today indicating how the Flyers can fit in Cleary, and it indicated they have to wait until Day 1 of the season to utilize Long-Term Injured Reserve (LTIR) with Chris Pronger. Surprisngly, they actually don’t and that is key in how the Flyers can be compliant before the season even starts; as is. No discredit to Tim, as it’s a pretty obscure rule and is actually kind of hard to find in the CBA. In fact, I was only able to locate it in an Illustration and not in any actual verbiage.
Before I even get started, I need to credit Tyler Altemose from The Hockey Guys for his piece back in July. It’s exceptional and really details how the Flyers can be cap compliant. As Tyler says, “timing is everything”. I can’t stress enough that you should go read his piece. Seriously, do it.
Using LTIR is tricky and when you decide to use it is critical in how much benefit you see (seriously…read Tyler’s article).
In the simplest of terms…if you use LTIR before the season, you are already determined to have “replaced” your injured player, and therefore your “new” upper-limit is set.
The Flyers’ payroll is currently about $66.353 million. With Cleary that would balloon to $69.103 million on a $64.3 million cap; an excess of $4.803 million. By deciding to use LTIR on the last day of camp they are saying they already “replaced” Pronger, and their “new” upper-limit is $69.103. So they are seeing an LTIR benefit of $4.803 rather than Pronger’s full $4.941.
The other alternative is to actually get cap compliant (AKA under $64.3) by Day 1 of the season (as Tim Panaccio indicates). If you then use LTIR, you can effectively “replace” Pronger up to his full $4.941. As Tyler indicates, the timing in which you do it affects how much of the LTIR benefit you will actually see.
As I mentioned above, it’s kind of difficult to find this nugget in the CBA. I certainly didn’t see it in the regular verbiage in section 50.9(d). However if you look on Page 292 at Illustration #4, we can see that you can indeed use LTIR before the season begins.
Illustration #4: The Upper Limit in a League Year is $70.0 million. A Player who has an SPC with an Averaged Amount of $2.0 million becomes unfit to play on the last day of Training Camp, and on the same day, his Club exercises the Bona-Fide Long-Term Injury/Illness Exception on such Player. On Opening Day, the Club has an Averaged Club Salary of $71.5 million (excluding Earnable Performance Bonuses up to the full amount of the Performance Bonus Cushion). The Club is deemed to have already fully replaced the unfit-to-play Player with any Player or Players on the Opening Day Roster. If these replacements are maintained through the conclusion of the season, the Club’s Averaged Club Salary is $71.5 million, as the Club is permitted to exceed the Upper Limit by $1.5 million because of the Bona-Fide Long-Term Injury/Illness Exception.
So believe it or not, the Flyers don’t need to trade a d-man. They don’t need to move anyone to fit in Cleary. They could enter the season in cap compliance by simply deciding to use LTIR before the end of camp. However, they don’t want to use LTIR before camp starts until Cleary is signed (because they are using LTIR before the season). But…they don’t have space to sign Cleary yet. Dilemma.
The question to me is really, when will/can Cleary sign? With the allowed 10% overage in the summer, a team can spend up to $70.73 million. If bonuses are currently being included in that figure, the Flyers are actually only $1.577 below that limit, which is not enough to cover Cleary’s $2.75 million. It seems to me like the Flyers need to make a mere $1.173 in cap space available (presumably by sending down someone Gervais and Bourdon) so that they can then sign Cleary, and use their LTIR on the last day of training camp.
There are so many different ways the Flyers can go about become cap compliant; I can’t wait to see what actually happens.