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A Big Fat Salary Cap Loophole

By December 8, 2008

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The Tampa Bay Lightning couldn't wait to sign Radim Vrbata to a three-year, $9 million contract last summer.

Turns out he's useless. So they're stuck with him, right? That's what the salary cap is all about: hard numbers; accountability; living with your mistakes.

Not quite:

The free-agent winger... is apparently heading home to the Czech Republic to finish the season there. The Lightning will apparently not be responsible for paying him for the balance of this season but the contract will remain in force for the second and third years should he choose to return to the NHL.
If he doesn't return, the team is off the hook. A bad contract dissolves in a puff of smoke and the cap room magically reappears.

Though the team is framing it as Vrbata's choice, management must be thrilled to find a dumping ground for the player, the contract and the cap hit.

Nothing can hide Tampa's most embarrassing errors, like the Dan Boyle trade (not to mention the Matt Carle trade). But the European loophole is a godsend.

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)


March 17, 2013 at 6:55 pm
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