The dust has settled on free agent frenzy and the 2017-18 NHL season is just over the horizon. Albeit, a long horizon with plenty of sun filled days left to go.
With that, there is some housekeeping that can be done in regards to salaries for the 2017-18 season. This isn’t new information but provides us the opportunity to explain the minimum salaries for an NHL contract and also the maximum allowable buried contract in the AHL for this season and the remaining seasons in this CBA.
We’ll start with Article 11.12 (a) of the NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, which explains the minimum salary allowed under an NHL standard player contract
The minimum salary for the 2017-18 season increases $75,000 to $650,000 for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. The remainder of the CBA does see some further increases:
The minimum compensation of $650,000 has been seen quite regularly over this summer and represents 0.87% of the $75,000,000 salary cap upper limit.
With that change in the minimum salary, that also affects the amount of salary that can be buried on a one-way contract without counting towards the salary cap. This number is determined by the lowest possible salary plus $375,000. It is broken down in Article 50.5 (diB6) of the NHL CBA:
Which means the allowable salary on a one-way deal that can be buried in the AHL is as follows:
- 2014-15: $550,000 + $375,000 = $925,000
- 2015-16: $575,000 + $375,000 = $950,000
- 2016-17: $575,000 + $375,000 = $950,000
- 2017-18: $650,000 + $375,000 = $1,025,000
- 2018-19: $650,000 + $375,000 = $1,025,000
- 2019-20: $700,000 + $375,000 = $1,075,000
- 2020-21: $700,000 + $375,000 = $1,075,000
- 2021-22: $750,000 + $375,000 = $1,125,000
So, with the $75,000 increase in the minimum salary for the 2017-18 season, that is reflected with an increase to the buriable amounts.
There have been quite a few one-way contracts below those thresholds that have been handed out over the summer. But it’s worth noting that that really only affects how much the player will be paid and shouldn’t be seen too much as a team giving in. Many of those players will still likely make their way to their organizations respective AHL clubs.
An example of a player that is really close to that is Yanni Gourde with the Tampa Bay Lightning, who signed a two year, one-way deal with an AAV of $1,000,000. That contract is still able to be sent to the AHL without any impact to the NHL salary cap.
We won’t see any increases in the minimum compensation or the amount able to be buried until 2019-20.