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The Winnipeg Jets are unlikely to trade more big names

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Why are trades like Dion Phaneuf for Jared Cowen so rare in the middle of the season? The salary cap! A quick explanation.

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The Winnipeg Jets could end up moving a lot of players and their contracts as a part of their plan to rebuild what was never built, but do not be surprised if it is not until the offseason. Since the salary cap came into effect in the 2005-2006 season, moving large contracts during the season without salary retention has been a largely futile exercise because of the aforementioned salary cap. Why is this? Because teams that normally are acquiring players at the deadline do not have cap space for the next season going forward, even if they have deadline space.

The NHL calculates pro-rated salaries in trades by having the team only pay the player the number of days that they are on that teams roster, minus injured reserve. Therefore the NHL will divide a players salary by 186 and then multiply that number by the number of days left in the season. For example, Andrew Ladd's salary was multiplied by 44 because there were 44 days left in the season. At the trade deadline, the number of days left in a season is 40 so any player traded tomorrow will have their contract multiplied by 40 to get their trade deadline cap hit.

This puts a cramp into teams acquiring players with term left on their contracts beyond this season because the team acquiring the player has to make sure it has cap space for the player going forward and that is not always easy. If a team wants to get rid of a player with term, they either have to be willing to take back a bad contract or they wait until the summer when teams can spend some time sorting out their salary cap situation going forward.

If you want to see Tobias Enstrom, Drew Stafford, Tyler Myers, Blake Wheeler, Ondrej Pavelec et al be traded at the deadline this year, you will probably end up disappointed because of the trade landscape the salary cap has created, but hey, there is always summer.