Sunday, December 21, 2014

Examining Flyers' contract variance

In Friday’s Daily News, we tackled the sticky issue of contract salary variance in the NHL’s ongoing collective bargaining negotiations.

Examining Flyers' contract variance

In Friday’s Daily News, we tackled the sticky issue of contract salary variance in the NHL’s ongoing collective bargaining negotiations.

It’s an extremely important issue for the Flyers, since they were probably the NHL’s biggest culprit in signing players to long-term contracts in order to soften the salary cap hit.

The proposal on the table that both sides would likely be agreeable upon includes a 20-percent limit on dollar variance from year-to-year. Simply: a salary, under this proposal, could only increase or decrease 20-percent from year-to-year over the length of the deal.

It’s a significantly less stringent stance than the 5-percent number the NHL proposed as recently as Dec. 6. Still, the league has made it clear that it would like to cut back on circumventing contracts, which the Flyers more or less pioneered.

As James Mirtle of Canada’s Globe and Mail points out, a 20-percent variance limit still presents a tremendous amount of wiggle room. A player earning near maximum money $12 million in Year 1 could drop down to $600,000 by Year 6. 

The Flyers signed 22 major, multi-year contracts in the 7 salary cap era seasons. Exactly 14 of those 22 deals, including many of the current roster’s contracts, would not meet the new 20-percent rule.

That won’t matter moving forward. All current deals are likely to be grandfathered in without penalty. 

Still, it’s interesting to look at deals which the Flyers have signed and see why they would not fit the 20-percent limit that is currently on the table. Please keep in mind that there may be nuances to the variance limits and how they are applied, we are simply presenting what’s been gathered from reporting.

DEALS THAT DON’T MEET 20% CRITERIA (14):
in order of highest variance percentage
Contract data according to CapGeek.com

JAMES VAN RIEMSDYK
6 years, $25.5 milion
1st year salary: $2.5 million
Maximum variance allowed: $500,000/yr
Year 2: Increases from $2.5 million to $3.75 million (50 percent)
Year 3: Increases from $3.75 million to $4.5 mllion (30 percent)
* Traded to Toronto on June 23, 2012

CHRIS PRONGER
7 years, $34.45 million
1st year salary: $7.6 million
Maximum variance allowed: $1.52 million/yr
Year 5: Decreases from $7 million to $4 million (39.4 percent)
Year 6: Decreases from $4 million to $525,000 (45.4 percent)

DANNY BRIERE
8 years, $52 million
1st year salary: $10 million
Maximum variance allowed: $2 million/yr
Year 7: Decreases from $7 million to $3 million (40 percent)

BRAYDON COBURN
4 years, $18 million
1st year salary: $4 million
Maximum variance allowed: $800,000/yr
Year 2: Increases from $4 million to $5.5 million (37.5 percent)
Year 3: Decreases from $5.5 million to $4.5 million (25 percent)

ILYA BRYZGALOV
9 years, $51 million
1st year salary: $10 million
Maximum variance allowed: $2 million/yr
Year 2: Decreases from $10 million to $6.5 million (35 percent)

JEFF CARTER
11 years, $58 million
1st year salary: $6 million
Maximum variance allowed: $1.2 million/yr
Year 8: Decreases from $6.5 million to $5 million (25 percent)
Year 9: Decreases from $5 million to $3 million (33 percent)
*Traded to Columbus on June 23, 2011

MIKE RICHARDS
12 years, $69 million
1st year salary: $5.4 million
Maximum variance allowed: $1.08 million/yr
Year 5: Increases from $6.6 million to $8.4 million (33 percent)
Year 11: Decreases from $4.5 million to $3 million (28 percent)

KIMMO TIMONEN
6 years, $38 million
1st year salary: $8 million
Maximum variance allowed: $1.6 million
Year 5: Decreases from $7 million to $5 million (33 percent)
Year 6: Decreases from $5 million to $3 million (33 percent)

MAX TALBOT
5 years, $8.75 million
1st year salary: $2.25 million
Maximum variance allowed: $450,000/yr
Year 4: Decrease from $2 million to $1.25 million (33 percent)

WAYNE SIMMONDS
1st deal: 2 years, $3.5 million
Maximum variance allowed: $300,000
Year 2: Increase from $1.5 million to $2 million (33 percent)
2nd deal: 6 years, $23.85 million
1st year salary: $2.8 million
Maximum variance allowed: $560,000/yr
Year 3: Increases from $3.2 million to $3.8 million (21.4 percent)

JAKE VORACEK
4 years, $17 million
1st year salary: $3.5 million
Maximum variance allowed: $700,000/yr
Year 2: Increases from $3.5 million to $4.5 million (28.5 percent)

JODY SHELLEY
3 years, $3.3 million
1st year salary: $1.2 million
Maximum variance allowed: $240,000/yr
Year 3: Decreases from $1.2 million to $900,000 (25 percent)

SCOTT HARTNELL
6 years, $28.5 million - extension begins for 2013-14
1st year salary: $6 million
Maximum variance allowed: $1.2 million/yr
Year 6: Decreases from $4.5 million to $3 million (25 percent)

It’s all food for thought... As you can see, the 20 percent variance limit is meant to crack down on high-end, top-paid players as opposed to the league’s “middle class” players. As CBC’s Elliotte Friedman points out, that’s where the “60 percent of the highest year” issue would seem to make sense. Otherwise, the “middle class” players are unfairly penalized.

DEALS WHICH MEET 20% CRITERIA (8):
> NICKLAS GROSSMAN
> MATT READ
> BRUNO GERVAIS
> ANDREAS LILJA
> SIMON GAGNE - Traded to Tampa Bay on July 19, 2010
> DENIS GAUTHIER - Traded to Los Angeles on July 1, 2008
> SCOTTIE UPSHALL - Traded to Phoenix on March 4, 2009
> PETER FORSBERG - Traded to Nashville on Feb. 15, 2007

OTHER DEALS INHERITED BY FLYERS
> LUKE SCHENN - Acquired from Toronto on June 23, 2012
> ANDREJ MESZAROS - Acquired from Tampa Bay on July 1, 2011
> JOFFREY LUPUL - Acquired from Edmonton on July 1, 2007, traded to Anaheim on June 26, 2009.

SLAP SHOTS
Flyers prospect Shayne Gostisbehere (3rd round pick, 2012) returned from suspension and South Jersey native John Gaudreau helped lead Team USA to a stirring, 5-1 victory over Canada in the semifinal of the World Junior Championship on Thursday. The U.S. is gunning for just their third gold medal in the 38-year history of the tournament on Saturday against Sweden ... Flyers prospect Marcel Noebels, a 4th rounder in 2011, was promoted to AHL Adirondack on Thursday after garnering Rookie of the Month honors in the ECHL. Noebels posted 30 points in 31 games with Trenton to lead the league’s rookie scorers.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

About this blog
Frequent Flyers is your home for news and analysis of all things orange and black. Reach Frank at seravaf@phillynews.com.

Frank Seravalli Daily News Staff Writer
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