Trade Kovalchuk? Re-Sign him? Both?

In a season where Montreal Canadiens’ fans don’t have much to celebrate about, the signing of former NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk by team General Manager Marc Bergevin feels like a breath of fresh air. Brought in to help provide a warm body during a plague of injuries hitting the Habs, the Russian right winger has delivered more than anyone could have expected so far.

We know the story. Kovalchuk wanted to come back to the NHL and signed a 3-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings paying him an average of $6.25 million. In his first season back to the NHL, the 6-foot 3-inches 222 lbs winger managed 16 goals and 34 points in 64 games, playing an average of 16:14 minutes per game, with a team worst minus -26 differential amongst Kings’ forwards. This season did not start well between Kovalchuk and the Kings either as he only had three goals in 17 games and was already minus -10, going as far as being a healthy scratch. Los Angeles decided to keep him away from the team until they made the decision to buy him out. He played his last game with the Kings on November 9th and his contract was finally bought out on December 17th.

Continue reading “Trade Kovalchuk? Re-Sign him? Both?”

The Truth About Shea Weber’s Contract

Up with the crows this morning, what better timing than to address a crow to pluck? Without sounding like we crow about the topic, one cannot talk about one without the other as both players traded for each other are starting to show signs of crow’s feet. So let’s get to the topic as the crow flies while attempting not to crow over those who have to eat crow… as there aren’t enough black scavenger birds in the world to serve all of those who deserve it.

We are all forced to admit that at 34, Habs’ captain Shea Weber is having a career season. The biggest “concern” from some were that while Weber was going to decline in the final seasons of his contract, P.K. Subban would still be a very effective player. Many were concerned that Weber’s contract would become a huge liability for the Habs… at least, that’s what they said back then. The reality is that the pressure is NOT on the Canadiens, but rather on the Predators, who are the ones on the hook for the potential of a recapture penalty.

Shea Weber

The Cap Recapture Penalty (CRP) basically tracks the “cap benefit” introduced by a contract’s salary structure. Years where a player’s salary is above the AAV of his contract result in a positive cap benefit for the team. So basically, the Cap Benefit = Salary – Cap Hit for a given year and Net Cap Benefit is a running sum of the Cap Benefits through a given year. The Cap Benefit is what’s taken into consideration, with the number of years remaining on the said contract when the player decides to retire, to calculate the Recapture Penalty to given teams. It’s important to note that the Net Cap Benefit will go to $0 after the contract completes.

Back on June 26th, goaltender Roberto Luongo announced his retirement after 19 seasons in the NHL. Always entertaining, Luongo made the announcement on Twitter.

In Luongo’s case, he had signed a deal with the Vancouver Canucks but retired as a Florida Panthers so both teams are affected.

Roberto Luongo’s contract – Source:

The 2019-20 season is Luongo’s first year of retirement. So that’s where the calculation is based on. Here’s the net result of Recapture Penalty for both the Panthers and the Canucks:

Recapture PenaltyRecapture Penalty

Weber contract

Here are the details of the contract signed by Shea Weber with the Philadelphia Flyers, an offer-sheet that the Nashville Predators matched. A 14 year, $110 million contract which included $68 million in signing bonuses.

Shea Weber’s contract – Source:

Yes, if Weber plays through his entire contract, the Canadiens will be “stuck” with his $7.8 million cap hit all the way through. But if the captain decides to call it quit, it’s the Predators that will be sweating it out.

As you can see, the Preds risk having between 8 to 24 million in cap hit, depending when Weber retires. As mentioned above, Weber did NOT originally agree this contract with the Predators, but rather had signed an offer sheet from the Philadelphia Flyers. So if someone wants to bring up the “doing the right thing” or “owing the Preds“, it’s not the case… as it wasn’t for Roberto Luongo. Go Habs Go!