Question: What happens when a player on a one-way NHL contract is demoted to the minor leagues?

Under the 2013 CBA, teams no longer receive full cap relief when demoting a player on a one-way NHL contract to the American Hockey League (or loaning him to a team in another professional league).  The AAV (Average Annual Value, aka cap hit) less the sum of the minimum NHL salary for that season plus $375,000 still counts against the Club’s cap total.

Summary Table for Calculation Purposes:

  • [Season]: [Minimum Salary] + $375,000 = Total that can be buried
  • 2012-13: $525,000 + $375,000 = $900,000
  • 2013-14: $550,000 + $375,000 = $925,000
  • 2014-15: $550,000 + $375,000 = $925,000
  • 2015-16: $575,000 + $375,000 = $950,000
  • 2016-17: $575,000 + $375,000 = $950,000
  • 2017-18: $650,000 + $375,000 = $1,025,000
  • 2018-19: $650,000 + $375,000 = $1,025,000
  • 2019-20: $700,000 + $375,000 = $1,075,000
  • 2020-21: $700,000 + $375,000 = $1,075,000
  • 2021-22: $750,000 + $375,000 = $1,125,000

Illustration:

The Chicago Blackhawks demote Bryan Bickell to the AHL during the 2015-16 season.  Bickell carries a $4.0 million AAV.  The Blackhawks would still have $3.05 million counting against their Averaged Club Salary total for the period Bickell is in the minors.

CBA Reference: 50.5 (d-i-B-6) Page 264

Note: Explanation and legal interpretation of the above is solely the opinion of the author and may not reflect all scenarios or actual CBA interpretation by NHL/NHLPA representatives.  If you have a suggestion for improving this interpretation, please reach out via our Contact page

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