Talk. My comments are below...
New York Rangers have only 6 players signed for the 05-06 season (assuming expiry of deals). The total for those, after the 24% rollback, is 21.7 million$.
Redwings on the other hand have 16 players for 38.2 million$. Essentially, they are at the cap. They could buy out a couple of players (at 66% of salary, if that's still in the CBA) and not count against the cap. That includes 6 million$ for CuJo, but that one is an option (and I forget for who).
Team,players,payroll due Ana,9,20 Atl,12,14 Bos,4,3 !!! Buf,9,9 Cal,11,13 Car,7,12 Chi,8,10 Col,11,23 Colum,14,19 Dal,8,23 Det,16,38 Edm,12,13 Flo,7,6 !!! La, 12,16 Min,10,14 Mon,8,14 Nash,9,10 NJ,10,15 NYI,4,15 NYR,7,22 Ott,10,24 Phi,13,34 (they have two great players drafted, who played in their minor league, and who have said they would sign with the Flyers right away, so make that 15,36) Pho,21,28 Pit,7,5 !!! SJ,10,14 Stl,13,24 Tam,9,16 Tor,8,27 Van,6,12 Was,4,7 !!! (includes 5 for Kolzig)
By my count, that's 500 million$ to 289 players already accounted for.
That leaves about 400 players to fight over the remaining 450 million$ or so.
You probably will have about the top 30 players eating up 100 million$, and another 100 bottom players eating 40 million$. So, 130 top-and-bottom players get 140 million$, and 270 middle players get 310 million$.
Some players are wondering why they had to also agree to the 24% rollback. My guess is because of the numbers above. If there was no rollback, then the 289 signed players would have 650 million$, leaving 300 million$ for the other 400 players. Certainly makes no sense. It's almost as if Goodenow already figured this one out. That is, he knew that there would be less money for players, and there would be tons of players on the market. In order to keep their salaries as inflationary as possible, he had to reset the salaries downward, so that the next wave can push it upward.
Hitting the limit
My guess is that all teams will spend close to their caps. This is what happens in the NFL and NBA. Bettman calls this a magnet that forces every team to spend UP. I see it as a heavy weight that keeps every teams to spend DOWN. Furthermore, if all teams spend to their payroll limits, it'll probably come in at 1.1 or 1.2 billion$. League revenues will probably mean the 54% threshhold limit would be at around 900 to 950 million$. So, their actuall payroll limit will be 20% LESS. You may think the players rolled back 24%, but they will probably lose the 15 or 20% that they'll put in escrow, making that total rollback a whopping 35%.
The buyout thing is interesting. You can have a guy signed for 6 million, and bought out for 4 million, and then resign him for 2 million. The player still get his 6 either way, but only 2 million counts against the cap. So, it was this exact situation that the teams had in mind when they said they don't want to be able to resign their players. This was not a team v player fight, but a team v team fight.
On a more important level, when does it make sense to do so? Let's say you have a guy who is due 18 million for 3 years, but he's really a 1 million$ a year player. You are, in essence, paying a 15 million$ premium on this asset.
You want to pay this guy 12 million$ to get him out of your hair, and as a bonus, free up the cap room.
But, what if the guy is really a 3 million$ a year player. You are overpaying him by 9 million$, but the buyout is 12 million$. It may be worth it to you to buy him out and free up that cap room.
Those players, while it seems like a big deal (getting 12 million$ for not playing) will sign a new deal with a new team for 3 million a year. He ends up with 21 million$ total.
I agree, it's guys like Bobby Holik who will be the happiest, guys who are good, but paid like they were great.
As for the person who claims that Spezza plays 13 minutes a game.... he actually average 14.64 minutes per game, which is roughly the average time for a forward.
Does he benefit more from the extra playing time? Breaking up his 78 games into 3 slices of 26 games, based on playing time, this is what we get:
In the 26 games where he played the most (which ranges from 15.42 minutes to 22.05 minutes), he had 6 goals, 10 assists, plus 3, for an average of 17.2 minutes per game.
In the 26 games where he played the least (13.55 minutes to 4.17 minutes), he totaled 7 goals, 10 assists, plus 2, for an average of 12.1 minutes per game.
Kinda strange, isn't it? You get 40% extra playing time, and you produce EXACTLY the same. Almost like those 5 extra minutes he spent coasting.
In the middle 26 games, when he average 14.5 minutes per game, he had 9 goals and 13 assists, and an astounding plus 17.
Seems to me that Spezza should be getting the playing time he's getting.