Photo Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Could the NHL introduce a player salary exemption?

If there’s one thing we’ve seen over the years, it’s the NHL’s top players not getting paid anywhere near those of other pro league’s top players.

Connor McDavid, for example, makes the league’s highest salary this year at $14-million U.S. In the NFL, the league’s highest salary last year was Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, who was paid $53-million U.S.

And in the MLB, it’s even higher. Mike Trout was paid just overall $55-million last season.

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NHL Agent Kurt Overhardt, who represents players like Ryan Johansen, Jacob Trouba, John Gibson and Edmonton Oilers’ Kyle Turris, Mike Smith and Jujhar Khaira, recently suggested it’s time for the NHL to bring in a player exemption. Overhardt suggested it was time for the exemption on the PuckPedia’s Show Me The Money Podcast:

Let’s just have some type of opportunity where teams are allowed at their own volition voluntarily to exclude one player on their 23 man roster from the salary cap. And so it does a couple of things. One, if you’ve got it, if you’ve got a franchise player, you can pay that franchise player. If you own a team and you decide to play that franchise player outside the cap. And, you know, our top player in the league makes how much now? Close to 13 million. Right, guys. So if you have a top player, it’s up to the owner to make that decision. If that player is worth 15 million a year, if the players were 20 million a year or if the players worth 10 million a year, whatever your your cash situation is, that owner can make that decision, take that money outside the cap. So instead of 23 people, it’s 22 players that are subject to that. So there’s more money in the system for the players that are subject to the cap. And the marquee players get paid like they should get paid.

It would have massive implications in the NHL and allow teams the ability to help stretch their salary cap. Look at the Oilers, for example, who undoubtedly would use such an exemption on McDavid.

Allowing his $12.5-million cap hit to come off the Oilers books would allow them more flexibility than you could imagine when it comes to not only being able to acquire players in a trade, but also in free agency. There’s some implications that it would likely have, too, in driving up the average cost of players, but it would also allow more players to get paid what they probably deserve.

What do you think about a potential player exemption?

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You can listen to the whole podcast here.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]