During a normal NHL season today (July 1st) would usually signify the official start of the offseason with free agency opening up and with new contract years kicking in. Of course, there's been nothing normal about the 2020 and 2021 NHL seasons though and, as a result, free agency and the offseason will begin later this month. However, as mandated by the NHL and the NHLPA's collectively bargained agreement (CBA) contract bonuses and buyout payments are due today.
You know what means?
It means more than two dozen NHLers and former NHLers will get a dump of cash in their bank account today, all for the responsibility of NOT playing hockey for the team that bought them out.
The highest earners today are Edmonton Oilers forward Kyle Turris (bought out by the Nashville Predators), injured goaltender Cory Schneider (bought out by the New Jersey Devils) and Montreal Canadiens forward Corey Perry (bought out by the Anaheim Ducks), they'll all receive a cool $2 million today. That should help Perry get over last night's heartbreaking loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final yesterday evening.
What's most incredible to me though is that long retired players like Rick DiPietro, Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Christian Ehrhoff are all cashing in today too.
Here's the full list with the final payment year in brackets:
The New York Rangers have the most players on the list with Henrik Lundqvist ($1.5 million), Kevin Shattenkirk ($1.43 million), Dan Girardi ($1.55 million) and Brad Richards ($1.05 million). That's nearly $6 million in dead salary. Ouch.
Listen, I've played some hockey in my day. BUT I'm no professional and as such I've never actually been paid to play hockey. Quite the opposite actually, I've paid thousands of dollars over the years for the privilege of playing beer league hockey. However, I've also never been paid to NOT play hockey before and I would like very much to figure out how I go about scoring one of these contracts. I promise I'll never pick up another hockey stick in my life if someone were to sign over a $2 million check to me every July 1st.