Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lou Lamoriello Saves the Oilers?

So apparently Lou Lamoriello may have just helped the Oilers find a loop-hole in case Nikolai Khabibulin is more Maginot Line (origin: Quain and Benjamin Massey) than Bulin Wall in two or three years time. The contract of Brendan Shanahan has now been terminated. When asked for his opinion, this is what old Lou had to say:

"It's within the rules. That's all I'll say."

Transparent as usual! I'm going to guess that Shanahan's 1 million dollar salary is not going to count against the cap although the article does not explicitly state this. So what does it mean to terminate a player? Here are the relevant sections of the CBA:

Article 13.21a: "When a Club desires to terminate a Player's SPC for any reason, such action may not be taken until Unconditional Waivers have been requested and cleared in conformity with this Article."

Article 1 - Definitions: "'Unconditional Waivers' means the process by which the rights to a Player are offered to all other Clubs, without a right of recall at a Waiver price of onehundred and twenty-five dollars ($125) prior to a Club exercising its right to terminate a Player's SPC pursuant to Article 13 of this Agreement and Paragraph 13(a) of the SPC."

Now, normally the CBA talks about a player being terminated and bought out but this isn't the case here. Right now is listing Shanahan as a non-roster player and not as a player who was bought out which means his salary does not count against the cap. It's as though he were on long-term injured reserve. This is what the CBA has to say about non-roster players:

Article 16.12: "Upon approval of the Commissioner, a Player who is unavailable to play due to reasons other than injury, illness or disability (e.g., birth of a child, attending a funeral) will be designated a Non-Roster Player, and during such period of his designation as such he will not count against the Club's Active Roster limit and his Club may replace such Player, provided, however, that the Non-Roster Player's Player Salary and Bonuses and his replacement's Player Salary and Bonuses are each included in calculating a Club's Actual Club Salary and Averaged Club Salary, and the Players' Share, for purposes of Article 50"

So why on earth would Shanahan be considered a non-roster player? I have no idea. My guess is that he was terminated under section 14 of Exhibit 1 and that this somehow qualifies him as non-roster. I'll quote that section of the CBA here:

"The Club may also terminate this SPC upon written notice to the Player (but only after obtaining Waivers from all other Clubs) if the Player shall at anytime:
(a) fail, refuse, or neglect to obey the Club's rules governing training and conduct of Players, if such failure, refusal or neglect should constitute a material breach of this SPC.
(b) fail, refuse or neglect to render his services hereunder or in any other manner materially breach this SPC.
In the event of termination under subsection (a) or (b) the Player shall only be entitled to compensation due to him to the earlier of the date such notice is delivered to him or the date of the mailing of such notice to his address as set out below his signature hereto."

I'm not sure if this is the real reason or not but I do think it is going to be very necessary for teams like the Oilers who have significant money tied into players who are over 35 to find out. How has Lamoriello made this deal?


Black Dog said...

Always loopholes, eh? Lawyers.

So essentially Shanahan doesn't make the team and then refuses to play out the string in the minors.

They terminate the contract, no more cap hit.

Is that right? Man you could drive a truck through that hole.

Schitzo said...

Well, it's only a loophole if Shanny is happy to walk away. What if Khabbi decides he loves the game so much he'll ride the buses in Springfield?

Or worse, decides he loves the money enough to ride the buses in Springfield.

If he does what the oilers ask him to, you have no grounds for termination.

Scott Reynolds said...

It seems that that's correct Black Dog. The contract counted for nine days against the cap as per capgeek and then after the contract was terminated we was moved to non-roster status which doesn't count against the cap. This isn't just another buy-out.

As for Khabibulin needing to be complicit, it would obviously help but I'm not sure it's necessary. First, it depends whether I've identified the correct work-around which I'm not at all sure of. I'm interested to hear what others come up with over the next few days since I'm sure it will be discussed elsewhere. Assuming I do, it will be interesting to see how far teams push it. If you were looking for a reason to terminate a player, how hard would you need to try? Now, you'd best be careful of course since if you start trying to terminate the contracts of fellows you don't want, well, free agents are suddenly looking at their "guaranteed contracts" with your club as a lot less guaranteed than what they're offered elsewhere.

The biggest problem with this kind of deal is for the players as a whole. This deal leaves the door wide open for the non-guaranteed contract. Shanahan signs the deal for a million bucks with the understanding that if he doesn't make the club out of camp he gets waived and if no one picks him up he gets terminated. Not a good precedent to be setting for the players going into the next CBA negotiation IMO. Lou is a smart cookie.

Coach pb9617 said...

He's wicked. I think he's a sorcerer.

DuLock said...

It's not much different than loaning a player to a European team. As long as everyone agrees, nobody cares. It's not the same as a non-guaranteed contract because there has to be agreement from the player or an incredibly justifiable reason, most of which wouldn't count against the cap in the first place. Refusing to play, report to the minors, etc.

Scott Reynolds said...

The main thing that makes it different is that I'd assume this was set up ahead of time. There could start to be more pressure put on players to sign contracts with the understanding that if they don't get claimed on unconditional waivers that the contract will be terminated. It seems like a step toward non-guaranteed contracts which, if I were the owners, would be the next place to look for concessions from the players in the next round of collective bargaining.