With the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiated between the NHL and the NHLPA to to end the 2004-05 lockout in effect, the NHL world turned upside down. Suddenly, the high-spending teams couldn’t just throw money at their problems; they were constrained by a salary cap. Every team needed to adapt; salary quickly became the chief consideration in any trade.
Journalists and fans needed to adapt too; in order to understand moves that general managers made, they needed to know the salaries of individual players.
Two different websites moved to provide that information – nhlnumbers.com and nhlscap.com. The latter website has since become affiliated with Eklund, so I generally prefer to use the first one – and I don’t seem to be alone. Unfortunately, some of the folks who make use of the site haven’t figured it out yet.
An excerpt from Tony Gallagher’s piece in the Vancouver Province today:
When you throw in what is now almost a laughably absurd $6.5 million cap hit for Shawn Horcoff over the next four seasons, you wonder how this team is going to be able to do much of anything next year unless they can unload some of these contracts.
Mark Spector also referenced that same 6.5MM cap hit in his column a week ago. The only trouble is that Shawn Horcoff’s contract actually pays him 33-million over six years.
Let’s do the math on that one quickly. 33MM/6years = 5.5MM/year. Why do people keep making this mistake?
The fault would seem to lie with the format of NHLNumbers. When clicking on the Oilers’ team information, this page appears. There, we can see that Horcoff earns 7MM, 6.5MM, 6.5MM, and 6MM over the first four years of his deal. That works out to an average cap hit of 6.5MM.
However, when we click the little arrow on the top right corner of the screen, this page appears. It shows that after those first four years, Shawn Horcoff will only earn 4.0MM and 3.0MM over the next two seasons. This brings the average cap hit down to 5.5MM per season, which is in agreement with the initial reports about Horcoff’s contract.
Why do I bring this up? Because I’ve seen the same mistake made repeatedly at this site, and it irks me. So if anyone here would like to quote contract numbers, please do us all a favour and just hit the little “expand” arrow. Well that, and it’s a good example of how even the mainstream media can mess up basic facts; despite the general professionalism and the education they have, they aren’t perfect either.