The New York Rangers assigned 33-year-old defenseman Wade Redden to the Hartford Wolf Pack this weekend, where he will play out the remaining four years of his six-year, $39-million contract. All four years. Or else he can quit and get (next to) nothing.This move is the end result of the NHL’s perverse salary cap rules. The Rangers (or their parent company, Madison Square Garden, anyway) can still afford to pay Redden’s misplaced salary, but they can’t afford to let him stay on their roster, as his $6.5-million paycheck for this season would put them over the league limit. Putting him on waivers proved that no other team was willing to pay that much either. (Redden had two goals last season in very limited minutes.)
So GM Glen Sather sent him to Hartford and washed his hands of the matter, leaving Redden with his own choice. Play out the remainder of his career in a lesser league and collect the rest of his cash, or void the contract and try to latch on to another NHL team … for a fraction of the price. Since Redden and his wife just had a baby last week, he decided to report to Hartford and keep getting paid.
Meanwhile, the Rangers get off scot-free. (As do the Chicago Blackhawks, who played a similar move on goalie Cristobal Huet.) They’ll pay no real consequences for giving Redden his ill-advised contract in the first place. And because the team continues to fill Madison Square Garden–despite 16 years without a Stanley Cup–they can afford to burn money … provided it’s not salary cap money. All they had to do was essentially kick Wade Redden out of the NHL. But what’s another $23 million in lost salary?
By the way, according to the Hockey News’ Patrick Williams, the average AHL salary is $65,000 a year. Redden will make about $81,000 a game.
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