The Bruins will once again ice one of the best goalie tandems in the league next season. Halak was thought by many to be looking for that final payday and that was not going to come in Boston. With the season paused and everyone guessing where next season’s salary cap will be, big paydays are likely to be few and far between this offseason.
Let’s take a quick look at the numbers. The new deal is a one year deal with a cap hit of $2.25 Million. This season Halak has a cap hit of $2.75 Million, so this looks like a pay cut never mind a final payday. A closer look actually reveals that instead of a half a million pay cut, Halak is actually getting over a million-dollar raise from this season to next with his new deal.
Now you might be asking how did he get a raise if his cap hit went down? The answer simply is cap shenanigans. For example, Halak had a cap hit of $2.75 Million, but last season he only made $2.25 Million while making $3.25 Million in the first year of the deal. So by moving money around teams are able to pay players more while also playing them less.
So now that we know Halak only made $2.25 Million last year that is still the same as his cap hit next season. The question now is where is that raise I mentioned earlier? Well Halak has a performance bonus in the deal that pays him $1.25 Million if he plays in 10 games. Performance bonuses count against the following season’s cap. So when Halak plays over 10 games that money will come out of the following season’s cap.
This deal provides a great blue print for teams looking to lock up players on the other side of thirty. These are players who might have been leaving for a big final contract, but now are left wondering what the future holds. One example is Kevin Shattenkirk, who had a great rebound season after being bought out by the Rangers. Anton Khudobin is another example, who at 34 continues to look like a starting caliber goalie while backing up Bishop in Dallas. Another player who could sign a deal like this is Derek Brassard. Brassard was traded three times in a season before signing with the Islanders and scoring 32 points in just 66 games this season.
Are those star players? No, but they could be key contributors on a contending team for a season. Think of it as a bet on their improved play continuing in the hope of the cap returning to normal after next season. Like the Halak deal, a small raise now rewards them for how they played but also means they push that final contract back a year. I would not be surprised to see several players bet on themselves in the hopes of cashing in a year or two down the line.
This deal is the definition of a win-win. Halak gets a raise for his play and the Bruins actually have Halak for less of a cap hit than he’s currently at. What do you think of the signing? Do you think these short term bonus heavy deals will spread across the league? Feel free to comment on both of those questions below. Don’t forget to check out our other team pages as well as some more content covering the Halak deal.
Featured image courtesy of Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports.