One day after news broke that the NHL was looking into the 12-year deal that brought Marian Hossa to Chicago, a league insider told The Sporting News that the NHL has turned its omnipotent head toward Chris Pronger’s seven-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers.
As the hard salary cap continues to cripple team’s effort to improve, many organizations around the league took the stringent rules and bent them. What was originally thought of as creative thinking, is now looked at by the league as potentially against the CBA, and is being investigated accordingly.
“I’m sure that will get addressed at the proper time,” Pronger told The Sporting News regarding the dance around the salary cap. “As of right now, that’s the system.”
The cap hit on any given player is the average yearly salary. Knowing this, teams began to front-load the contracts, where the player receives a good chunk of money up front and very little toward the back end, causing the cap hit to average lower.
The league is arguing that both the Flyers and the Blackhawks knew that the players would not fulfill the entire contract because of their age. And they are right. Pronger would be 41 when his contract ended and Hossa would be 42.
“We want to know if the possibility of player retirement was ever discussed or even contemplated,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told the Ottawa Sun.