The league’s proposal includes a clause that says all years of existing contracts longer than five years will be charged against the cap regardless of whether or not a player is still playing. If that player is traded, the new team takes on his cap hit, but if he retires, the cap hit reverts back to the team with which he originally signed. That means teams like Chicago, Detroit, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Vancouver and others who signed players to ultralong deals won’t be able to shake them off the books even if the player is retired or traded.
For example, if Roberto Luongo is traded to Florida in two weeks, his $5.3 million cap hit travels with him to the Panthers. But that’s a deal that extends until 2021-22, so let’s say Luongo plays five more seasons and retires at the age of 38 — a very reasonable long-term plan for the goalie. The Canucks are still hit with a salary cap charge for four more years.