By Ryan Kiray (@RyanK_THG)
Friday afternoon saw the first significant free agency related domino fall, with the Ottawa Senators sending veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a conditional sixth round draft pick. With free agency looming, the time seems ripe to discuss what to expect in free agency under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
First and foremost, expect free agents to have higher salary cap hits. The NHL made a number of changes to contract structure that will lead to free agents carrying higher Average Annual Values (AAVs). Chief among these is the contract term limit. Free agents changing teams will not be able to sign contracts that are longer than seven years, or eight years if they are signing with their own teams. Most of the infamous “cap cheating” deals carried terms in excess of ten years. Roberto Luongo, Ilya Kovalchuk, Marian Hossa, and Zach Parise, among others, are all signed into the next decade, and all of ...