LAS VEGAS – There’s no denying it’ll be a sad finish to a Hall of Fame career if Chicago’s Marian Hossa never plays again because of the type of skin allergy to his equipment that similarly ended former North Star Tom Reid’s playing days. But lots of teams, including the Wild, will be eyeballing how the league handles this situation with the Blackhawks.
Chicago has deep salary cap issues and by Hossa not retiring but instead saying he won’t play in the 2017-18 season, the Blackhawks could be permitted to put him on long-term injured reserve rather than suffer cap recapture penalties that would cause $3.675 million of dead cap space through 2021.
“Cap recapture” was implemented in the 2013 collective bargaining agreement to punish teams the league felt were circumventing the cap by signing players to backloaded deals the players conceivably never intended on playing. For instance, Hossa’s contract suddenly dips to a $1 million salary the next four years, a maneuver that lowered his cap hit to a workable $5.275 million.
Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, if they retire before their contracts expire in 2025, are two of 17 contracts that were hit with “cap recapture” retroactively even though their contract structures were within the rules of the previous CBA.
On Wednesday, Wild owner Craig Leipold said he was watching to see if the Hossa situation creates a loophole that can also assist other teams.
“The cap recapture issue with our players is a topic and a concern that we talk about a lot,” Leipold said. “I think at some point at the right time it will be addressed [with Commissioner Gary Bettman]. It’s clearly an important issue.”
Bettman said Wednesday he’s “more concerned with Marian Hossa’s medical condition. I assume he would play hockey if he could. So unless we have a reason, other than pure speculation, to think something is amiss, I’m not even thinking [of cap circumvention].”
Along with sponsors, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher and several members of the team’s business staff, Leipold went to dinner at a steakhouse at the Cosmopolitan on Tuesday night. He looked over and spotted across the restaurant Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund, with their significant others and another couple.
Leipold sneakily picked up their tab.
“Well, they were my guys,” Leipold said when asked if the gesture was true.
Asked how much the meal cost him, Leipold joked, “Let’s just say the wine must have been good.”
No awards for Wild
Wednesday night at the NHL Awards Show, Wild finalists Koivu (Selke Trophy) and Granlund (Lady Byng Trophy) finished on the outside looking in.
Koivu finished third behind fourth-time winner Patrice Bergeron and Ryan Kesler, and Granlund finished third behind winner Johnny Gaudreau and Vladimir Tarasenko.
Suter finished fifth in Norris Trophy voting, an award won by San Jose’s Brent Burns almost six years after being traded by the Wild.
Devan Dubnyk finished fifth in Vezina Trophy voting.
The rest of the Wild schedule will be announced at 2 p.m. Thursday, but the Wild will open its season as the first opponent of the Detroit Red Wings’ new Little Caesars Arena on Oct. 5. The Wild’s home opener is Oct. 14 against the Columbus Blues Jackets. The Wild also will open the Carolina Hurricanes’ home slate Oct. 7.
• According to sources, the Wild has informed Jordan Schroeder that the team won’t tender him a qualifying offer by Monday’s deadline. Unless the Wild changes its mind because of the recent trades of Tyler Graovac and Alex Tuch and departure of Erik Haula eating into its forward depth, Schroeder will become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
• The Wild plans to unveil its tweaked road white Adidas sweaters Friday. Fans can pre-order the jerseys, which will be available in September, on wild.com and all three Hockey Lodge locations.
• It seems like there’s a strong chance there will be a 32nd franchise in the future in Seattle; Bettman said the Board of Governors did not move forward with expansion during Wednesday’s meeting.