January 05, 2006

Tip of the cap: Alexander Mogilny becomes the latest victim of the salary cap, waived by the Devils to clear room for Patrick Elias. Will any team take on him and his $3.5m yearly, or will he join Patrick Lalime as another multimillionaire minor leaguer?

posted by DrJohnEvans to hockey at 11:02 AM - 16 comments

The NHL is really in a unique position, featuring a hard salary cap AND guaranteed contracts AND a comprehensive minor league affiliation system. We're going to be seeing more and more underperforming players sent down to the minors for cap reasons more so than performance reasons. And strange things are ahead once teams declare themselves out of the playoff hunt and begin shedding salary for next year...

posted by DrJohnEvans at 11:03 AM on January 05, 2006

It just wasn't happening for Mogilny in New Jersey. He's older, he's making big coin, he's underperforming... He'd be great for Philly/the Rangers/the Leafs/Ottawa/Florida/[your favorite disappointment]! But now, he can take a month or so off, working out and staying healthy, and then someone will probably give him a shot for a playoff run closer to the deadline when he won't hurt the cap as much. (Would the Russian Olympic team want him?) But yeah, this is going to happen again and again.

posted by chicobangs at 11:13 AM on January 05, 2006

Are you saying this wasn't a performance based decision? Because I think Almo's hip has something to say about that. Lou already had cleared cap space for Elias' return, otherwise both couldn't have been on the roster at the same time. I agree cap considerations were part of the equation, but performance had alot to do with it. As did public perception influence Lou keep Almo around this long into the season.

posted by garfield at 11:14 AM on January 05, 2006

Well, I think they'd have given him more of a chance to fully heal and get his groove back if he wasn't turning 37 next month and making 3.5 mill a year.

posted by chicobangs at 11:17 AM on January 05, 2006

As a Devlis fan I was very distraught by this. I thought Malakov retiring made the room for Elias. Perhaps Lou is making room for another defenseman. It is true that Mogilny was not performing up to expectations but he also was the 3rd highest scorer on the Devils.

posted by njsk8r20 at 11:18 AM on January 05, 2006

garfield, certainly performance was a factor, but the cap issue had at least as much to do with it. Or you could combine the two and say he wasn't performing at a $3.5m annual rate. chico, The Star has a quick rundown of his options should he clear waivers:

  • minor-league assignment
  • contract buy-out
  • retirement
  • refusal to report to minors and consequent suspension
Any of these options remove his salary from the cap-restricted payroll, but I'm more interested in what they mean for his playing future should another team want him closer to playoffs:
  • If he goes down to the minors, would he have to clear re-entry waivers if he was called up again? If he was claimed, the Devils would be on the hook for half his salary, right?
  • Could he retire and unretire later this season?
  • Could he refuse to report, be suspended, take a couple of months off, and then be unsuspended when another team proposes a trade?
It's a weird new world, and I'm still trying to figure out how it'll work.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 11:32 AM on January 05, 2006

Could this be the last stand of the AlaMo? Maybe Fedorov could/should join him as Davey Crockett!

posted by RedStrike at 11:33 AM on January 05, 2006

Could he retire and unretire later this season? I'm pretty sure that when you (officially) retire, you have to be out of the league for one full calendar year before you can come back. They make you sign a document to this effect. I remember when Patrick Roy signed it and made it official.

posted by grum@work at 12:16 PM on January 05, 2006

If he goes down to the minors, would he have to clear re-entry waivers if he was called up again? If he was claimed, the Devils would be on the hook for half his salary, right? right, but I'd know for sure if the new CBA were published. TrapperJohn, of course I agree with you. A little of column A, a little of colum B. I just wanted to inject his performance into the discussion.

posted by garfield at 12:21 PM on January 05, 2006

Yes, it was a good injection. In fact, one interesting aspect of the salary cap is how it changes performance evaluation: it seems that teams now look for immediate results rather than being willing to pay for potential. Mogilny could very well warm up next month and go on a tear, but the Devils don't have the cap room or cap patience to wait for that. I wonder how that will affect the careers of ageing veterans... what IS Owen Nolan up to nowadays, anyway?

posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:27 PM on January 05, 2006

Maybe he needs to inject something else to keep his performance up?

posted by steelcityguy at 12:38 PM on January 05, 2006

what IS Owen Nolan up to nowadays, anyway? From what I last heard, sitting in the stands and waiting for his court/arbitration case to start. He says he was hurt before the lockout and still injured when the the CBA was signed and deserves all the money from his contract this year. The Leafs say "Uh uh!" and tried to buy out his contract (for 75% the remaining value to clear cap space) back in August (something they couldn't do if he was injured). The world awaits with great expectations! (zzzzzz)

posted by grum@work at 03:34 PM on January 05, 2006

Greedy athletes just tick me off. These guys already have millions but they are so damn greedy they always need more. Latrell Spreewell anyone?

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 08:18 PM on January 05, 2006

The NHL is like the bloated real estate market. Properties that were "contracted" during the end of the boom are the most worthless and will drop the furthest. However a quality player will always bring value. So old guys(with declining skills), who signed bloated short term deals have to be the first ones waived to make room for the new price structures. It is just good buisness.

posted by gronir_ hitrops at 03:37 PM on January 06, 2006

He'll get picked up, maybe by a team with scoring woes trying to get over a hump. Minnesota Wild? Mighty Ducks of Anahiem?

posted by HATER 187 at 03:45 PM on January 06, 2006

Boston Globe article yesterday suggested the Bruins are just waiting for his status to change so they get him at 50% of his contract's face value. I imagine there are a dozen teams doing the same.

posted by yerfatma at 09:12 AM on January 07, 2006

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.