No, no, no, that’s NOT what the new CBA says

We’ve been over this before. Please see this post. Kukla’s Korner gets it wrong:

KK Members Blog – Kuklas Korner

Under the new Memo of Understanding, however, teams can sign players to a maximum of seven years,

…or eight if the player is re-signing…

and a player’s salary cannot fluctuate more than thirty-five percent from year to year.

Except the new provision, outlined in the “Memo of Understanding,” only applies to front-loaded contracts, as defined in the memo. If it’s not a front-loaded contract, the old 100% rule applies. See lengthy explanation, linked above, from the post Travis Zajac deal is covered by old 100% rule, NOT the new CBA rule.

The closing of this loophole is a welcome provision of the recent agreement. Albatross contracts like those inked by DiPietro are now a ghost of the past;

…except for the several we are stuck with for the next ten years, and more in some cases.

meanwhile the integrity of the salary cap is also restored. Instead of front-loaded contracts being instrumental in creating winning teams, rosters will more accurately represent present value, allowing for a greater balance of elite players across the league.

Maaaaaybe. However, this leaves out a few key amendments to the 2005 CBA. Namely, (1) teams will now be hit with a cap penalty if their player with a front-loaded contract retires before the end of the contract, the penalty being proportionate to the cap savings the team received during the early years of the deal; (2) even if a player with such a deal is traded and later retires with years left on the deal, the original team is still penalized along with the second team (the team which acquired the contract), the penalties being proportionate to the benefit each team received; (3) you can now trade cap hit and salary.

It remains to be seen just how much “rosters will more accurately represent present value.” For instance, in ten years, who will own the Kovalchuk contract, and what will his value be relative to the cap hit negotiated in 2010? How many teams will have Kovalchuk (Hossa, Luongo, Zetterberg, Quick, Doughty…) cap hits on their books? Will players be pressured to retire in order to undermine the cap health of teams they haven’t played for in years? Etc. etc..

We’ll see how it plays out. Meanwhile, I patiently await the next loophole.