In a move that smells suspiciously like circumvention of the Salary Cap, the Boston Bruins traded inactive and suspended goalie Tim Thomas to the New York Islanders, for a conditional draft pick.
The move rids the Boston of a potential salary cap headache next year if Thomas did end up returning and having his $5M cap hit back on the books. The Bruins are already at almost $58M of th $64.3M salary cap for next season, with key players Tuukka Rask and Nathan Horton becoming free agents
For the Islanders, they are in a situation where they needed to get to the cap floor, and adding the $5M cap hit will do just that, and the sweet thing for them is that they don’t have to pay a dime to the player this season. Better yet, as long as he isn’t retired, the Islanders can carry that hit over as long as they want because he still owes a year on his contract and the Isles can carry that forward in pereptuity, because he was over 35 when he signed the contract.
According to TSN, the NHL doesn’t have a problem with the transaction, but if I was the NHLPA, I would investigate the situation a little closer, since the contract will count towards the overall player’s share, but the player will not be paid, and it also means that the Islanders do not have to fulfill the obligation to pay their players a certain amount.
The transaction might not break the letter of the law, but it is a slippery slope as to the intent of the rule and how teams can circumvent certain aspects of the CBA. Will they never learn?
I guess the bright side for those who have been rubbed the wrong way by Thomas, if he really wants to come back after taking a year off, it will have to be with the Islanders!