Former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson stated during a press conference on Thursday morning that money played a significant factor in his decision to leave the team. While Alfredsson's motivations to sign with the Detroit Red Wings were rooted in his desire to play for a championship-caliber team, the veteran forward confessed that a contract offer with more money would have kept him in Ottawa.
However, the most surprising component to Alfredsson's comments was the admission that he signed his previous deal under the premise of retiring prior to the final year of the contract. He did so with the intention of helping out the Senators by lowering the annual average value of his salary, thus counting for less against the salary cap.
Obviously, this is the definition of cap-circumvention.
Alfredsson's four-year contract with Ottawa carried an AAV of $4.875 million against the cap. In the first two-years of the deal, he was paid a real dollar amount of $7 million. In the third-year he was compensated with $4.5 million and received $1 million in the final year of the deal.
Now, we are to understand that final year was a dummy installment. However, Alfredsson decided that he wanted to continue playing. Based on his account, he and the team began discussions on an extension last offseason that would compensate him accordingly for the final-year of his previous deal. Those talks never gained any traction. After the unsuccessful negotiation attempts this summer, Alfredsson began exploring greener pastures and, now, will be wearing a brighter shade of red next season.
The whole situation has been odd. While it's interesting that the organization and player are willing to share so much information, it's opened a can of worms that hasn't made anyone look particularly admirable. I'm not aware whether the league can do anything about the circumvention at this point. Honestly, I doubt they have any motivation to regardless.