The decision has been made, now questions are arising as to whether it was within the rules.
On Sunday, the Montreal Canadiens sent underachieving centre Scott Gomez home with a view to buying out his contract this summer.
But was doing so consistent with the spirit of the just-signed collective agreement between the NHL and its player union?
The NHL Players’ Association has contacted the league on the matter and is considering its options. Presumably those include trying to negotiate a joint settlement with the NHL (the union is also reviewing a similar case including the New York Rangers’ Wade Redden).
Habs officials will claim they are merely seeking to avoid a situation where Gomez might get hurt playing in the minors – injured players can’t be bought out.
As it stands, Gomez will be paid roughly $3.3-million for not playing the 48-game NHL schedule, and will have the last year of his contract (which pays him $4.5-million) bought out this summer, as per the CBA’s compliance-buyout provision.
The team is expected to send the 33-year-old veteran to the AHL – on paper at least – in order to recoup $900,000 of Gomez’s $7.35-million salary-cap charge this year.