From what I can gather, the Hawks, still have to continue paying Huet's salary but the key here is they save precious cap space. In light of the NHL's decision to reject Kovalchuck's contract because it "circumvented the cap", I'm suprised there isn't more uproar over this particular move (maybe because we all knew it was coming?). Doesn't this move circumvent the cap? (Again this is all legal within the frameworks of the CBA but then so was the Kovalchuck deal) Which begs the question, what is cap circumvention? What's the difference between that and "violating the spirit of the CBA"? There's some pretty vague terminology there.
I had no problem when the Devils signed Kovy to a 17 year deal worth over 100 mil, it was the cap hit of 6 million that was a slap to the face of the CBA. But they basically saved 3-4 mil, in this case, the Hawks save over 5 mil in cap space. What exaclty is the difference? What stops me (clearly an awesome would-be GM) from signing Antti Niemi for 5 years at 5 mil per, realizing that he was a one-year-wonder, sending him to the minors, or abroad and saving myself from a boneheaded decision? Am I missing something? Shouldn't there be some kind of repercussions for bad management?
IF were allowing teams to get free from bad contract desicions shouldn't we reward those who don't? How about something like; (ok you're allowed to bury ONE contract every 2 years or something, if you don't, you get BONUS cap space). Wouldn't that be more fair? I mean the Penguins don't curently have anybody that I would want to buy-out so in effect the Hawks have an edge. What's worse is that this edge is because of mis-management. If I were a Hawks fan i'd be thrilled and shouting that there's nothing wrong about this. But where should the line be drawn? Where does "managing" the cap become "circumventing" the cap? And would you prefer a compliant GM (like Shero who doesn't bend the rules much/conservative in giving out contracts) or a pro-active GM (ala Holland & Lamoriello who look for loopholes and ways of exploiting the CBA to get an egde)?
As a Penguins fan, I smell something fishy and as an NHL fan I'm worried about the next round of CBA disussions. Thoughts?
P.S: yes I realize teams do this a lot (mostly with lower end players) and even the Pens used it with Satan to afford Billy G but isn't this one of those "you can go 60mph in a 50 zone but 75 is pushing it" kinda thing?