Blog Entry

Report: GMs asking for amnesty clause in CBA

Posted on: February 12, 2012 5:23 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2012 5:30 pm
Gomez has a cap hit of $7.3 million per season. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

One of the factors that made Scott Gomez's year-long goal-scoring drought so interesting was his gargantuan contract that carries a cap hit of $7.3 million. Usually a player making that much money scores at least one goal in a span of 365 days (healthy, no less).

That kind of albatross against the Canadiens' cap space has had fans in Montreal dreaming -- or praying? -- for an amnesty clause. Oh if they could just buy out his contract sans a cap hit.

With CBA negotiations on the horizon, though, hope is renewing for Habs fans and others around the league staring at that glaring contract on their roster.

According to Bruce Garrioch, that could be a possibility in the next CBA.

While it’s a long way from being reality because there’s a negotiation for a CBA ahead, sources say several GMs have asked the NHL to consider a one-time amnesty clause in the next agreement to buy out one contract that wouldn’t have a cap hit.

Maybe those prayers are paying off. First Gomez finally scored and now the possibility of an amnesty clause? Things might finally be looking up in Montreal.

More specifically to the Canadiens' situation, Garrioch further explains how big it could be for them.

“The amnesty clause would be a one-time buyout only,” said a league source. “It would allow the team to get rid of one contract without having to take the buyout amount on their cap.”

With $10 million in actual cash left on Gomez’ deal, the Habs would have to buy him out at two-thirds of the contract, which is about $6.67 million. That would be four payments of about $1.67 million per year.

According to, Gomez’ cap hit would be $3.5 million (2012-13), $4.5 million (2013-14), $1.6 million (2014-15) and $1.6 million (2015-16).

Who else would be a candidate to be amnestied? Specifically, if you could have any player from your favorite team amnestied, who would it be?

More from Eye on Hockey

Gomez finally ends his goal drought

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Since: Sep 30, 2011
Posted on: February 13, 2012 11:36 pm

Report: GMs asking for amnesty clause in CBA

Isn't the proposition a one-time exception?  So a team can get a break and not take the cap hit on one contract.  I think both players and GM's would be on the same page, but remember you could have teams with more than one bad contract at a time..........hmm, who do you utilize the exception on?
Also, if you are stuck with a bad contract because the player is not performing, who is going to want to pick up the contract anyway?
It will be a battle for sure.............

Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: February 13, 2012 11:05 pm

Report: GMs asking for amnesty clause in CBA

....and the player's will go for this as easily as the the realignment right? Not so fast says the NHLPA! Player's wont want it and won't go for it. As sure as the GM's were of realignment, this will not go down. You think a player wants to let that happen to himself because some GM wasn't a very good mathmatician?

Since: Aug 2, 2011
Posted on: February 13, 2012 8:31 pm

Report: GMs asking for amnesty clause in CBA

This could work in favour of players as well as franchises protecting assets.

If a player doesn't like the team he signs for after 6 or 7 months, then he has an escape clause, and the franchise can turn round, accept that the trade deal hasn't worked so in such a scenario it is a win-win situation.

Also, if players are injured they should be on reduced salary imo, because they are 'not earning money' by entertaining the fans, helpin gtheir teammates out, or helping the team win hockey matches, division, or conference titles or the Stanley Cup.

It may seem they are being punished but the player being injured is not the franchise's fault, unless their medical staff have been negligent in their treatment of said injury.

The NHLPA and agents should think and tread carefully, especially if wish to avoid a repeat the NFL & NBA fiascos we have witnessed. Luckily with MLB not having these concerns shows that everyone  can deal with such issues in a harmonious way, and in the long term believe that the NHL franchise owners will get their wish.

Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: February 13, 2012 12:34 pm

Report: GMs asking for amnesty clause in CBA

IMO- This is a good Idea. Comparing Hockey to any other sport does not make sense. Hockey has a completely different revenue stream to where a Bad Contract could and do cripple some teams. Mistakes happen, but not to just the big teams. In some cases, Small market teams will not even attempt to sign a player at this point with out some level of protection on quality of play or to say at least an "out" if the player fails to live up to the contract. No one has a crystal ball, these players are human and all have things that could stop them from performing. Gaurenteed Contracts are always a gamble just from a human factor. Teams need a "Gaurentee" as well for the money they are forking out. At the same time, To Single out Big market franchises as NY, Montreal,Bos or Philly is not fair only because those Gm's can take more chances to begin with, thus are more likely to get stuck with a bad deal. Besides the players or their agents are now demanding these huge, extra long deals( to vent the Cap) to Max out on Dollars. A Gm on a big market Franchise has to give out those kind of deals or be left in the dust. It is a roll of the dice. Allowing a buyout or a way for teams to get out from the poor performers would level the playing field because then Small Market teams could take a shot without fear of getting Gomezed.
 Secondly, with Concussions on the rise and missed games growing at an eye popping rate, teams also nead Help with The LTIR. As it Stands now for example, if Pittsburgh wanted to bring in someone to help them compete with Sidney out, would totally mortage their future because using LITR cap space counts towards next year. This is why we are not going to see any Big trades until almost the last possible day. I think teams who go over the cap with injury should not be penalized the next season and instead have to Revenue share with Smaller market teams. That way The league still has accountability money wise but now the "overage" helps out Smaller market teams by giving them more to work with. That way no teams are crippled Cap wise because of injuries which are out of their control. 

The New TV deal puts more on the table to discuss so teams pushed agaisnt the Cap might get some relief anyway. I do not believe that the focus should be to punish teams that spent money but rather create a system that allows ALL teams to participate in larger Contracts and push more money to Smaller markets somehow to keep league wide competitve Balance. The Nashvilles shouldnt have to sell out each time a Player becomes a SuperStar(if so, move the team). At the same time these teams get all these "studs" by sucking and selling off Stars for prospects year after year. Those GMs are not any smarter than the Big market Gms just getting the cream of the crop of the prospects year after year.

I hate this stuff as much as the rest of you Hockey fans out there but the fact is Versus is now NBC and there is a different Financial Package in place. The two sides need to hash this out before next season anyway. It will be a good thing to get this all done in a New CBA. See Below-

" Versus paid $72.5 million for 2007–2008 and paid inflationary increases over the next three years.(That took us through last season)

In April 2011, NBC Sports and Versus announced they had reached a ten year extension to the television contract with the National Hockey League worth nearly 2 billion dollars over the life of the contract. (this is year one of new TV deal)

As an additional consequence of the merger and impending re-launch of Versus as the NBC Sports Network, all NHL coverage on Versus began to use the NHL on NBC branding, and began to be produced almost identically to a usual NBC broadcast."

So if my math is correct the Money Pie basically doubled. If The NHL got let us say 100 Million last year(100 mil X 10= 1Billion) now they will get 2 Billion for 10 years. 



Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: February 13, 2012 11:15 am

Report: GMs asking for amnesty clause in CBA

I think it's a great idea and I'm not so sure the NHLPA should even fight this one bit.
Looking at it objectively in the context of all 850 or so NHL players, and I would agree with you.   We're talking about agents though, they'll never encourage their players to give up gauranteed money even if they have a chance to offset the difference.   

Pronger, Savard, Gomez, Markov, Lombardi, Ohlund, DiPietro, etc. and the rest of the injured players or players with careers in jeopardy will never go for it, and agents will use their examples to deter the NHLPA from supporting a reduced payout.   If it wasn't for injured players, they may be a chance.   You also have the Jovanowski types with some rough miles on them and  a few years remaining that would hate a buyout because there would be little chance of landing another contract. 

If an amnesty buyout is at 100% of contract value, it may have a chance.    However, I think plenty of owners also have insurance out on their players contracts for health reasons.   I'm not sure they would want to give up more money than they actually paid on their contracts to begin with.    I have a feeling the only gms asking for amnesty would be the Gauthier and Holmgren types.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:27 am

Report: GMs asking for amnesty clause in CBA

What's so wrong with gm's asking for an amnesty clause in the new CBA?  I think it's a great idea and I'm not so sure the NHLPA should even fight this one bit.  GM's are occasionally stuck with a bad contract, and sometimes it's not anything they did wrong.  For example at times players get hurt and when they come back from injury struggle to stay healthy.  And even if they do stay healthy they don't always get back to being the player they used to be, the player the gm signed in the first place.  Player supporters can argue that a player occasionally over performs and that cancels out what I just mentioned, but the reality is in a hard cap league like the NHL a bad contract can be crippling to a team.

The player gets paid 2/3's of his contract over a maximum of twice the remaining length of their contract.  BUT, that player now becomes an UFA and is able to sign with another team, thus giving the player a chance to earn an even better living.  If that player isn't good enough or worth a lucrative new deal, then why should anybody be upset that player was bought out?  If that player is still good at what they do then somebody will use their cap space to sign them, end of story. 

In my opinion an amnesty clause in the NHL makes a lot of sense.  It didn't make any sense to me in the NBA's new CBA because they don't operate under a hard cap.  There are so many ways to screw around with the team cap in the NBA it's stupid, but in the NHL it's a lot harder to get around some of these bad contracts.  

Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: February 12, 2012 10:48 pm

Report: GMs asking for amnesty clause in CBA

I would guess it's an easy volley to fire for the owners, NHLPA won't agree to it but it will cause more infighting with them as they don't seem to be able to process anything about the CBA (as a group).    No matter what happens, it's a good point of leverage with the owners.    Vocal fanbases, and more importantly the big sponsors of teams in PHI, MON, BOS, TOR, etc will want to see some of the bad contracts off the books.    The players will be foolish to accept it as it shouldn't even be an issue.    The players will have to fight against it and will end up looking greedy or have to give ground someplace else to eliminate this proposal if this rumor is legitimate. 

Even if the buyout was at 100% salary, there are enough owners that don't have bad contracts on the books that would likely shoot it down.   Smaller markets and smart or lucky gms, wouldn't want to give up an advantage to the teams that can spend more without something big in return.

I'm guessing it's just the owners giving the NHLPA a no-win point of contention for them if it's an amnesty buyout at 2/3rds salary.

Since: Mar 2, 2008
Posted on: February 12, 2012 8:16 pm

Report: GMs asking for amnesty clause in CBA

NHL GMs are truly idiots for even trying to get this.  It is not Gary or the owners responsibility to fix these crappy GM decisions which cause cap space problems.  Learn how to be one of these smart GMs before you take the job, instead of basically being a douche about this non-issue.  Crappy NHL GMs deserve no out at this point, trying to cost the crappily placed teams even more money for some dumb reason.

Try moving poor attendance teams first, instead of trying to weasle ones way out of their bad GM decisions.

Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: February 12, 2012 7:39 pm

Report: GMs asking for amnesty clause in CBA

Screw this. Why help those stupid enough to sign these player's to long-term deals that don't pan out. If you want to sign someone for what they did after 1 good year, then that's your STUPID mistake! Suffer the consequences and hope that player can turn it around. It's not even that Montreal signed him to this deal. Montreal traded for him and his contract. EXTRA DUMB!!! So why bail out those teams and GM's for being goof's? Easy. Don't. Maybe, just maybe GM's should reconsider their position when offering those huge deals. Different sport aside, but this is the exact reason GM's like Alex Anthopoulos of the Toronto Blue Jays refuses to sign anyone to anything longer than 5 years. He doesn't want to cripple his team's cap space with an albatross of a contract. So they were stupid in Montreal by TRADING for Gomez. Pay the Price of doing bad business. It was the Rangers who were in the same position for a couple of years when they signed Gomez, Drury, Phillips, Holik and all those idiots to huge long-term deals after they had 1 or 2 good years on other teams. It took them years to recover from that and so should be the same with the Habs. BOO freakin' HOO!

Since: Apr 11, 2008
Posted on: February 12, 2012 6:59 pm

Report: GMs asking for amnesty clause in CBA

Paul Martin would become an even richer man!

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