Happy Canada Day!

Wednesday, on what would normally be the start of NHL free agency, NHL owners will pay out over $300 million in signing bonuses without the glitz and glamour that comes with players signing with new teams.

The way contracts have been structured over the past couple of seasons, the biggest stars in the NHL get a lot of their money upfront and despite the NHL season being on pause, contracts extended and players not actually playing for that money, stars like Stars will be paying out $25.5 million in signing bonuses tomorrow to Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn of the Dallas stars will each get $8 million, John Tavares will get $11.09 million, Artemi Parin will get $12 million, as will Connor McDavid.

Not a bad gig if you can get it.

Bob McKenzie of TSN did note that because of July 1 holiday in Canada and the USA holiday weekend, “it’s possible actual payments may not get to players until next week but they are coming.”

He also added that whether the players choose to defer 10 percent of their salary for 2020-21, there are some questions as to whether or not it will affect signing bonuses.

Still, it’s a decent chunk of change coming out of the pockets of NHL owners.

Does This Open Up the Door for Trades?

While no teams will be making trades at this point (technically, the seven teams not in the play-in round or playoffs can make deals) it does open up the questions as to how general managers might look at certain players on their roster.

Some players will get signing bonuses and become decent trade chips. For example, in Edmonton, where McDavid will get $12 million, defenseman Kris Russell will get $1 million of his $2.5 million AAV as well. That means he’ll only be owed $1.5 Million in base salary in 2020-21. That’s potentially an attractive option for teams looking to save money but also hit the salary cap floor.

The Oilers aren’t the only team in a situation like this. William Nyland receives a $3.5 million bonus tomorrow but only makes $2.5 million over the course of the season. Would that be enough incentive for a team? What’s more likely is someone like Andreas Johnsson who gets a $1.75 million payment tomorrow but only makes $750K over the course of 2020-21 and whose contract would only have one more season on it after that.

Will this get the GM’s minds going? Will they start making plans for the moment the season either ends or doesn’t get started at all?

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