For all the talk about cap circumvention from the NHL, Jarome Iginla’s contract still exists.
He signed with the Boston Bruins last summer for $6 million, only it’s not $6 million where it counts, which is against the cap. Iginla fit under the ceiling for the Bruins by signing an incentive-laden contract that has his actual base salary at a paltry $1.8 million for one year, plus $4.2 million in bonuses off the cap.
So when and how does Iggy get his money?
Boston played its fifth game on Monday, a 3-2 loss to Detroit. That puts Jarome Iginla halfway towards collecting one of the biggest bonuses of his incentive-laden contract: $3.7 million for appearing in 10 games. Iginla's base salary is $1.8M, but is structured this way to shift much of the cap stress until next season.
Yes, the 10-game clause. Guess the Bruins felt that $3.7 million for “ensuring his head went through the neck hole instead of the arm hole when he put on his jersey for the first time” was a bit too obvious.
Beyond the pretense by the NHL in going after a multitude of contracts for cap circumvention but not closing this elephantine loophole for veteran players, let’s be honest: The most ridiculous thing about this bonus clause triggering is that Iginla could hit 10 games before he hits one goal.
That’s the fear in Boston right now, at least, where Iginla has yet to tally a goal while leading all Bruins with 19 shots on goal.
As the Boston Globe and Coach Claude Julien noted, he’s pressing early in the season:
“I think he can shoot the puck a lot better than we’ve seen him,” said coach Claude Julien. “We know he’s a good shooter. Whether that’s pressing or whether that’s circumstances, I don’t know.
“He’s been around the league long enough. He’s going to find his way and he’s going to score some goals for us. He’s going to be the player we thought he would be for our hockey club.
“Right now, it just isn’t there. I see maybe a little hesitation in shooting. When a player has confidence, his release is a little quicker, too.”
It was also noted in the Globe, and somewhat unconsidered by many, that this is alien territory for Iggy: It’s the first time since he was a teenager that he attended a training camp that wasn’t the Calgary Flames’.
Despite his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, there’s an adjustment period here that needs to be considered. And, for the most part, Iginla’s adapting: He’s been praised for his effort, his tenacity and his playmaking, even if he hasn’t hit pay dirt.
One assumes he will soon, because 530 goals don’t happen by accident. But in the meantime, let’s hope he stays on track to reach the most important (fiscal) goal of his season: 10 games.