Re: Tuukka contract coming ?
posted at 4/11/2013 3:39 PM EDT
The Bruins have the right to sign Rask to an extension this season. If it's a one-year extension, they have a right to extend that deal any time after July 1 when the new season begins (or whatever the day is now when contracts expire and UFAs become free game).
This could happen for reasons other than simply wanting to manage the cap. For example, Rask is an RFA. The Bruins do not want to let Rask get to RFA status, but they are also having trouble agreeing to a long-term deal. Both sides agree to a one year extension of the current terms with the intent to continue negotiation on a long-term deal after July 1st. If no long-term deal is forthcoming, Rask will be a UFA in what should be a much better year for UFAs. The sides then agree to a deal three weeks into the FA period after seeing what the market will bear for goalies. Imagine that Jimmy Howard isn't about to sign a 6 year extension, for example, and he and Ray Emery both sign market-setting deals (what is it about former Seniorita goaltenders these days? Last year, it was Elliott; this year, Emery. What's next? Pascale Leclaire comes out of the woodwork and leads the Oilers to a Cup?).
So that could go down, and there's no reason not to let that go down, so....
I wouldn't be slimy about it, either. I'd call the league office and say hey, look - this looks to be a legit manoeuver to create some flexibility with a declining Cap. Would you consider it "circumvention"? What about if we kept the total length of the deal to 1+5 years, so it doesn't go beyond the limit set by the new CBA? (or whatever tweaks they needed to see). I don't think they'd like it much, but I think they'd let it ride. The only reason the Kovalchuk deal got hammered was because it allowed the Devils to pay Kovalchuk way more money than the cap was supposed to allow - thus circumventing the spending limit. This doesn't do that. The variance language in the new CBA prevents teams from back-diving contracts so guys retire when owed the $500K that brings the contract average down. There's no question of Rask walking away from the one year salary, and I wouldn't think it could be a super steal salary - something similar to what he makes now at least.
The only doubt I have is whether the CBA says you can't talk about an extension until the final year of the deal. If you can't even talk about it, then you can't talk about the second contract, which would make it a violation. But then, there go all of the conversations like the one for Tuukka's last deal - "If you take the one year deal and show you're a top goalie in the league, then we'll have to step up on the next deal...."