You’re Richer Than You Think…?

Or so claims a popular bank.

Unfortunately, when I went in to confirm the claim, it turned out I was as poor as I thought…go figure.

But I digress.

But, in the case of the NHL, according to Bettman at least, it appears to be true.

“If the players’ association determines to take the five-per-cent escalator, that means the cap will go up a little over $2 million,” Bettman said.

So, with 2M USD added to the cap ceiling, the new (preliminary) estimate salary cap for the 2010/11 season sits at 58.8M.

So where does this leave the Sens?

Well, it depends.  Will Big Mel give the go ahead to spend to the cap?  If recent history is any indication, yes.  Most importantly, will Big Mel give the green light to eating Cheechoo’s contract, thus freeing up and additional 3M in potential salary.

To do this, the Sens organization will have to absorb 3.5M in non performing salary, and send Cheechoo to the AHL for an entire season.  And it’s not just the money, there’s politics involved as well.  Make no mistake, the NHLPA, and its individual members, will not take kindly to the notion of sending a player to the AHL in an effort to avoid actualizing said players NHL cap commitment.  Doing so could cost the organization more than money, it could cost them the ability to attract free agents.  In a word, the Sens could become a pariah organization in the eyes of the NHLPA and it’s voting members.

All things considered, it’s more likely Cheechoo will be bought out, than demoted.  This course of action will save the Sens a little over 1.16M, and save face with the NHLPA, but cost them the same in cap space over in each of the next 2 seasons.

A 3rd, more interesting possibility exists.  Retirement.

Oh sure, only a fool would walk away from 2.34M, but, what if he didn’t have to?  What if, should Cheech agree to retire, hence making his salary obligation disappear from the books, he then be hired by the Senators in a non playing capacity, for a salary at or near his buy-out cost?

There’s no doubt Cheechoo represents a solid character guy, who could no doubt contribute in some capacity in hockey operations, within the Sens family.  The question is, does Cheech think he’s done.  If he does, then a post hockey job offer, is a bonus.  Taking the buy-out, without any playing prospects, is worse than retiring, and getting an opportunity to develop an off ice career.

Not saying this is on the table…but, IMO, it should be.  It’s win/win.  The Sens get their cap space back, save some money, and get something for the money they pay.  Cheech gets to avoid forced retirement by being sent to the AHL (thus being paid nothing), and has an opportunity to prepare for life after hockey.

I say think outside the rink boys…

At the end of the day, with the cap increase, the Sens have @ 9M available to spend on re-signing FA’s Regin, Foligno, Winchester and Campoli, as well as sign a 4-6 forward, and top 2 D-man.

A tall order for sure



5 Responses to “You’re Richer Than You Think…?”

  1. GN:

    As usual your logic is impeckable but…Cheech still thinks he can play…and in the NHL. I have heard on the QT that Cheechoo starts with the big club again coming out of camp as he will be physically better??? and deserves another chance…and they cannot “afford” to have him anywhere else at this point…(Murray to Murray)

    Note: Remember Eugene’s “There shall be no more burnt contracts!” …and 3 mill is about all we grossed last year (Team and Rink).

  2. Nick ..
    Did you see how many events are held at SBP and the ticket prices ? In Montreal every homegame for the playoffs is 3 million. In Ottawa the number may be close to 2 or slightly under. Unless the books are open I wonder how this enterprise is a losing proposition. Remember the arena is amortized most likley, so Eugene after some time owns the thing outright and hence the big prize.
    I just don’t like rich people complaining. But I do sympathize with respect to the bad contracts. The heatley trade was horrible in everyway. Sugarcoating not allowed.

  3. Sam:

    Note. I’m just going on hearsay. But you could be so right.

    The hockey lost 3 but the rink made 6…nice and tidy eh!

    I agree, you and I could look at the books and we still wouldn’t know what we’re looking at! Neither does the NHLPA!

    Jon Cheechoo, left wing, Ottawa Senators, 41 games, win or lose, then the rubber meets the road!

  4. I was under the impression that in order for a retired contract to come off the books the initial contract has to be signed when the player is over 35

    • Actually MO, it’s the opposite. If you’re over 35 when the contract takes effect, it cannot be retired off of the books, for any cause, outside of the provisions of the CBA’s buy-out clause and its included penalties.

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