do you think the blackhawks will try to trade hossa's contract just to get rid of it, maybe to a team that needs to reach the cap floor?
Maybe. I wouldn’t, unless I was 100% certain he wasn’t going to officially retire at any point in the next three years. His contract is subject to cap recapture penalties, so if he retires at any point, that comes back on Chicago’s cap, and they can’t bury the penalty on LTIR. And once he’s traded, Chicago would no longer be paying down the penalty, which is what would be happening if he just stayed in their system.
To this point, Chicago has paid him $60.3 million while only having had $47.475 million of that count against their cap. They’ve saved $12.825 million on their cap over the 9 years of his deal so far. So if he officially retired tomorrow, that amount would be divided by the remaining years on his deal (3), and they’d have $4.275 million in dead space on their cap for the next 3 years. And the same if he retired next summer, or the summer after that. Basically, as long as his contract remains Chicago property, if he decides to officially retire at any point before his contract ends, they’ll have a $4.275 million cap hit for the next few seasons.
But if they were to trade him, it gets more complicated. By staying on Chicago’s payroll, the amount of money they saved on the cap will, by the end of the contract, be zero. Dollars paid will match dollars on the cap. Now that he’s in the years of the contract where he’s actually making less in real dollars than his cap hit, the amount they saved is shrinking. But it only continues to shrink if he continues to be paid by Chicago. If they trade him, they’re no longer paying into that difference. If they traded him tomorrow, they’ll have saved that $12.825 million on their cap, and that number will remain steady.
Let’s say tomorrow they trade him to Arizona. Then something crazy happens and for some reason, the Coyotes decide they really need to clear a contract off their books in August, and convince Hossa to officially retire. That immediately brings the cap recapture penalty into effect and Chicago suddenly takes a $4.275 million hit to their cap for the next three seasons. Now let’s say the same scenario happens, but instead of this summer, he spends a season with the Coyotes and it’s only next summer where they convince him to retire. Since that $12.825 is holding steady, but he’s only got two years left on his deal at that point, the penalty Chicago takes in that case would be $6.4125 million for the following two seasons. Now, worst case scenario, push the official retirement back one more summer, to before the final year of his deal. In that case, Chicago would have that full $12.825 million on their cap the following year. That’s a lot of dead cap space.
Nashville could have this same problem with Shea Weber down the line. They saved about $21 million on their cap over the four years they had him. Now that he’s in Montreal, if he decides to retire before the last year of his deal, the Predators will get nailed with that on their cap. Brutal.
Sorry, that was long. Short answer: only trade him if you are absolutely sure he’s not going to retire. If it’s me, I keep him on LTIR for the next three seasons and just let the contract run out. It’s way less risky, and he’s only owed $3 million in actual dollars over the rest of the deal, so it’s not like it’s a big financial strain.