If you are like me, you've grown tired of the issues surrounding the NHL CBA negotiations. It's not that I didn't once care, it's just that now all I care about is seeing NHL hockey again. Make whole, revenue sharing, contract length restrictions, pensions, contract amnesty...wait a minute.
Amnesty? You've got my attention.
It's been kicked around since discussions for a new CBA began in early 2012 that teams could have the one-time ability to amnesty one contract, making the player an unrestricted free agent and getting the team out of the cap hit. It's been on again, off again during discussions and had been in the off position for some time.
(For reference, the idea in many fan and reporter minds is inspired by the amnesty clause that came at the end of last year's NBA lockout, where a player can be waived and his contract taken off the cap, though he still gets paid.)
Until this past week, when owners and players met, and sources (not mine and not named) leaked that amnesty in some form was back on the table. The NHL quickly dismissed the reports, and with good reason. It doesn't seem like the NHL, meaning Gary Bettman and minions, want an amnesty clause in place.
The NHL has been steadfast in their position against cap circumventing contracts, so allowing teams a free pass on a horrible contract of their own doing doesn't seem like the NHL's style.
But there are surely owners who find the amnesty clause appealing. And why wouldn't they? The Canadiens could finally be free of the remainder of Scott Gomez's horrible contract. The Sabres could rid themselves of flash in the pan Ville Leino's monstrosity of a deal. And the Rangers could wave bye-bye to overpaid and over the hill Wade Redden's contract.
Closer to home, could an amnesty clause finally be the end of Rick DiPietro's albatross of a deal with the Islanders?
If it were up to the fans, the answer would be a resounding yes. For management though, there are arguments for both using an amnesty on DiPietro, as well as not using it on him.
First and foremost, it frees up a lot of cap space for a lot of years for the Islanders. And while that money may not be needed at the present time, in a few years it affords the Islanders money to spend on free agents or re-upping players coming to the end of their Entry Level Contracts.
In the more near future, it allows the Islanders a roster spot. The team has been burdened with carrying 3 goalies because of DiPietro's on-again, rarely off-again injuries, costing them a chance to carry an extra skater.
It also creates room to bring up one of their young goaltenders. Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson can't stay in the AHL forever, and it would also benefit each goaltender if someone could see the lion's share of the playing time at Bridgeport.
It does cause some problems for the Islanders to amnesty DiPietro, however. It would definitely make it harder for the cash-strapped club to make the salary cap floor. $4.5 million is a lot to make up for a club who needed to ride Brian Rolston's undeserved $5 million contract last season for cap purposes.
There also comes into question ownership's loyalty to DiPietro. It's possible we could see the end of DiPietro's contract, but not the end of the lifelong Islanders' association with the club, as DiPietro could always re-sign for less money and years.
It's hard to fathom the Islanders thinking it's good business sense to have your backup (and I say that with a chuckle) goaltender be the third-highest paid player on your team. So if the amnesty clause comes to pass (and it's leaning more to the no side at the moment) could the Islanders really afford to not use it on Rick DiPietro?
Then again, they could always amnesty Alexei Yashin's contract instead. But that's a whole ‘nother story.