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Old 11-17-2019, 02:11 PM   #1
Ferrisrox
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Something Goes Wrong in the Summer of '26

I have just reached the summer of 2026 and my team, fresh off a Cup win, was maxed out cap-wise and had I had already handed out a few extensions to key players that were going to put me in an even tougher spot cap-wise so I made the very tough decision of trading away my captain, coming off a big year for a draft pick and allowed my All-Star goalie to walk when I couldn't possibly afford his extension and had been grooming his replacement.

All I was looking to do in free agency was sign a veteran back up goaltender and add a depth defender. When I looked at the list of free agents, it turned out it was a tough summer to not have any money in the wallet because it was, by far, the best crop of free agents I've ever seen.

It's led by a 29 year old Connor McDavid, coming off a 151 point season (and a 159 the year before.) 27 year old Elias Petterson, coming off an 82 point season (and a 112 point season the year before) is also available. 38 year old Sidney Crosby, fresh off putting up 93 points is a free agent. Finally, 35 year old John Tavares, who posted 97 points the season before was also available.

Never before had I seen this much offensive talent available and I wondered if any of the teams that were close to me in terms of being top contenders might add one of these guys and knock me from my perch.

So I excitedly simmed ahead a day. Then a week. Then two weeks. Then three weeks and *none* of these guys signed contracts. I went in to look if they were asking for something ridiculous, but they weren't. The top dollar request was McDavid who was looking for about $12,750,000 over six years.

Finally, on the 25th of July, Tavares inked a deal with Columbus, getting just $6,950,000 over one year.

It's now August 1st and McDavid, Pettersen and Crosby are still sitting on the free agent pile a month after becoming available.

What's going on?
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Old 11-17-2019, 03:11 PM   #2
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My first thought is exactly what you said you're dealing with: Cap Issues. Just because someone's available doesn't mean teams can afford them.
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Old 11-17-2019, 04:11 PM   #3
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My first thought is exactly what you said you're dealing with: Cap Issues. Just because someone's available doesn't mean teams can afford them.
Plenty of teams could afford them, I looked. In fact, the Oilers had $21 million in cap space.

It got even weirder, toward the end of August, McDavid signed a six-year deal with the Bruins for a massive discount. He signed for just $7.9 million a season, a huge discount from the $12.75 he was asking.

In September, Crosby signed in Calgary for $7.8, down from the $9+ he was asking.

After this, I went back to Pettersen to see if he too would give a dramatic discount like McDavid did but he wouldn't budge below $12. I got him down to to $12.2 before he called off talks with me altogether. It's now December 1st and he remains unsigned.
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Old 11-18-2019, 09:20 AM   #4
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In the 2025 offseason I saw Draisaitl and Rantanen both hit UFA status and were each asking for $12M per year. Both of them then signed in the KHL for $3M per year and then the Oilers and Avalanche used the cap space they had from not re-signing them to sign a bunch of fringe guys they didn’t need to $3-$4M per year.
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Old 11-19-2019, 05:08 PM   #5
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I think this is a biproduct of the salary cap never increasing. Star players keep asking for more and more and eventually the collective league can't afford all the star players out there.

I'm in 2029 and just watched the Rangers waive and send down a 4.5 star Kaapo Kakko to the AHL because they literally can't afford his salary...and NO ONE picked him up because all other payrolls were too high, including mine.
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Old 11-21-2019, 02:46 AM   #6
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Nope, the baseline levels for contracts are just as static as the cap, so the overall level of demands remain the same over time. But if you're seeing leaguewide cap space getting that low in the late 2020's, then something's off, I'll take a look at that while we're testing the upcoming update.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:46 AM   #7
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Nope, the baseline levels for contracts are just as static as the cap, so the overall level of demands remain the same over time. But if you're seeing leaguewide cap space getting that low in the late 2020's, then something's off, I'll take a look at that while we're testing the upcoming update.
Is that something you would need starting a new save for? To get the potential tweaks (if there are any) in future updates?

I mean starting a new save and get that specific save 'fixed' when it arrives.

IF this is an issue.

Thanks Jeff!
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Old 11-22-2019, 05:14 AM   #8
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Right now, it looks like it's something (specifically, a combination of the contract levels being too high and an excess of high-end potential in the 16-21ish age group) that can be handled via data changes, so it'll require a new start to get those. But editing the NHL cap in commissioner mode should be effective in dealing with the higher payrolls in later seasons; I'd try about $4-5 million higher to start with. That should give the teams more flexibility to deal with bigger contracts, and the budgets appear to be high enough in later years that they won't be a limiting factor.
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:42 AM   #9
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Right now, it looks like it's something (specifically, a combination of the contract levels being too high and an excess of high-end potential in the 16-21ish age group) that can be handled via data changes, so it'll require a new start to get those. But editing the NHL cap in commissioner mode should be effective in dealing with the higher payrolls in later seasons; I'd try about $4-5 million higher to start with. That should give the teams more flexibility to deal with bigger contracts, and the budgets appear to be high enough in later years that they won't be a limiting factor.
Many thanks Jeff!

a question for anyone that knows the game, can this be something that could be done?: Increase the cap by 1 million first five seasons (1x5) and after that 0.5 million (0.5 x ...). Is there a specific date that this must be done? June 30? July 1?

Or is there a better way of doing it? Another amount etc.

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Old 11-22-2019, 11:51 AM   #10
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You can do it on July 1st but you can do it once for the season, not set incremental raisings.
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:55 AM   #11
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You can do it on July 1st but you can do it once for the season, not set incremental raisings.
Yeah then I understood it correctly. So each year July 1st is the date for a small increase in cap, manually.

Thanks!
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Old 11-22-2019, 06:33 PM   #12
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Right now, it looks like it's something (specifically, a combination of the contract levels being too high and an excess of high-end potential in the 16-21ish age group) that can be handled via data changes, so it'll require a new start to get those. But editing the NHL cap in commissioner mode should be effective in dealing with the higher payrolls in later seasons; I'd try about $4-5 million higher to start with. That should give the teams more flexibility to deal with bigger contracts, and the budgets appear to be high enough in later years that they won't be a limiting factor.

I'm not really sure how this contradicts what I was saying, I wasn't claiming that "baseline" amounts were changing, I was saying that the amount each team can spend under the cap is static (unless changed manually as league commissioner), but the amount that players, especially star players, want to earn on a new contract almost ALWAYS goes up until the twilight of their careers. In real life, if I've got a team already near the cap with a star or two up for re-signing at the end of the year, I might still be able to sign both of them to extensions with the raises they want depending on how much the cap increase. With a static cap, that's harder if not impossible, and when that's true for every team in the league, you're bound to end up with star players demanding a contract which literally no team can afford due to giving their own players raises under a static cap over the years.

Regardless of that however, it still doesn't explain why someone who won't even let me SUBMIT an offer under $8 million a year for any number of years will then turn around and sign a 1 year KHL contract for under $3.5 million a year. In reality, just about the only reason someone signs in the KHL rather than NHL is for more money (unless they just REALLY love living in Russia that much), so the idea that a 4+ star player in his prime would walk away from more money in the NHL to get paid less than half in the KHL makes little to no sense whatsoever, static salary cap or not.
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Old 11-30-2019, 12:52 PM   #13
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Is there an explanation for why McDavid, who was clearly the best player in the league, took such a massive pay cut?

Why did he suddenly shave $5 million of his ask to sign a contract? He's not even the highest paid player on his team.

After a full year on the free agent market, Pettersen signed the following year for over $12 million a season. But now its August and a five-star 34 year old Nikita Kucherov, who's only asking for $7.4 million on a one-year deal remains unsigned.

Four and a half star goaltender Carter Hart, who spent last year in the KHL after not getting a contract remains on the pile despite requesting a very reasonable $4.4 million per season three year deal.

It really damages the realism when star players remain unsigned for seemingly no reason.

Buffalo, who signed Pettersen after he sat for a year, had the money to do this last year and chose not too. Now a year later, and with Pettersen not lowering his offer, suddenly Buffalo is spending money. In fact, they also signed Tavares, a guy who was *also* available the year before. Tavares ultimately sat for almost a month before getting a one-year deal from Columbus. He had a 92 point season ( at 36 years old) and this time he sat unsigned until August 18th before inking a deal with Buffalo for a little over five million.

The Sabres, this off-season, spent over $17 million on Pettersen and Tavares and last year, with the same management group and a ton of money they did nothing. Adding to the confusion, with Pettersen and Eichel already on the roster, Tavares seems like a bizarre way to spend the money. He is currently slotted in as the teams fourth line centre.

Last edited by Ferrisrox; 11-30-2019 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 12-01-2019, 04:26 AM   #14
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The Sabres, this off-season, spent over $17 million on Pettersen and Tavares and last year, with the same management group and a ton of money they did nothing. Adding to the confusion, with Pettersen and Eichel already on the roster, Tavares seems like a bizarre way to spend the money. He is currently slotted in as the teams fourth line centre.
The logical explanation should be that this switch is triggered by change in organisational goals. Ideally, you would want AI gunning for quality signings all the time. But there's only one thing to balance here because of contract nature and it comes to play in this spot: players want long term deals. W/o it balancing free cap and free agents would be easy: everybody should offer everybody what they can afford, 1 year deals, everybody happy. But with multiyear deals, there's a backside of AI not being held back & loading on bad contracts and ruining organisation's future (hardcap doesn't help either). And as you can see with Tavares example, it's bound to happen frequently.
But in general I agree with suggestions. I think baseball game got it figured out better, even with top signings costing the team that signed them draft picks. The area of focus should be top players, the ones that "if they go to free agency, 25+ teams will want to sign them". Star driven league like NBA have teams that plan 3+ years ahead to have space and great situation to present to top player So figuring out top players will be enough, because baseball game have plenty of moneyball signings available left (for both you & AI), but top player you want will rarely fall into your lap for cheaper price because nobody signed him. So making some PTS, GR, Star Rating filters to identify "player that 25+ teams will want to sign if they have cap space" might be good idea. So then, no matter what the organisational goal is, or whatever else is triggering nobody to sign them with available space, it switches the other way. So McDavid would have offers from all teams, even those that have 4kk. He will just decline and choose between offers close to his demand. Bargaining and chance to offer improved deal and outbid competition like in baseball version would be great too.

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Old 12-01-2019, 05:59 AM   #15
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Bargaining and chance to offer improved deal and outbid competition like in baseball version would be great too.
Well, technically both are in. However of course, I'm sure the devs do have plans to further hone this aspect of the game.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:49 PM   #16
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One thing I have found, as I get deeper and deeper into this sim is an aspect of the game that is still very much broken and that is signings that have nothing to do with organizational needs that cripple teams. Much like the aforementioned Tavares contract where he's been signed coming off a 90+ point season to play four line centre, teams spend a lot of money signing players that absolutely do not need.

Particularly with goaltenders, it seems, teams with two solid net minders are signing a third one, for big dollars, and then promptly sending him to the minors.

At last count I have seven teams in the league right now that have goalies making over $4 million dollars in the minors and of those seven four of them were signed either this summer or last summer and three of the four didn't play a single game at the NHL level.

So they were signed, given multi-year deals at over $4 million+ a season and then immediately sent to the minors to play in the AHL. This is non sensical.

I previously mentioned Carter Hart, who was asking for $4.4 million deal, was a five-star goalie and couldn't find work and spent the year in the KHL. Now this is really weird... He just signed a two-year deal with the New York Islanders... for $9.2 million a season. Somehow his salary is more than twice what he was asking a few months back. Even stranger, the Islanders signed him despite the fact that two years ago they signed Tyler Parsons to a six-year deal for $8,156,855 per year. In year one of that six year pact, Parsons spent the entire season in the AHL. Imagine a team hands out a six year deal worth nearly $50 million and they send him to the minors. And to be clear, he didn't have a bad camp and then not make the team. He was signed on July 5th and sent to Bridgeport on July 5th. After a full season in the minors, he served as the Islanders back up in year two of the contract and now he's back in the minors. With Hart and his current back up in New York, the Isles are spending about $12 million and then they have over $8 million more in the minors. As a result of this cap mismanagement their defense has four guys making less than a million and 1.5 star players at best.

I have it set to alert me when a three-star or better player hits waivers and it seems every October I have my pick of at least three three-star goalies, often freshly minted signings that will never play for the their teams. What it does is artificially lower the quality of goaltending league wide cause several teams have a better net minder in the AHL, that they can't afford, than they do in the NHL.
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Old 12-01-2019, 01:18 PM   #17
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As a result of this cap mismanagement their defense has four guys making less than a million and 1.5 star players at best.

I have it set to alert me when a three-star or better player hits waivers and it seems every October I have my pick of at least three three-star goalies, often freshly minted signings that will never play for the their teams. What it does is artificially lower the quality of goaltending league wide cause several teams have a better net minder in the AHL, that they can't afford, than they do in the NHL.
Well, at least you can fix it manually with comish mode .
On a more serious note, regarding fixing that, my suggestion would be to have pretty simple formula to avoid that situation. I know that organisation in general is more complicated, starters+prospects+different leagues etc. But for "starters only" good solution might be to tie AI manager's desire to sign players to his team's positional power ranking. It's calculated somewhere to show it to user, so why not use it for AI manager? Add their scouting capability as modifier, and have something like this:
Org status (rebuild/contender)*Power Ranking at position*Scouting capability to determine their power ranking
This will allow AI to avoid 3rd GK to already stacked lineup and go for much needed defender. So team that is contending, top 5 in GK, top 15 in defenders, top 10 in forwards will be doing their best to get best possible defender@cap they have left (maybe add conditions here to exclude situations of AI loading up on mediocre players that won't improve defenders power ranking but will eat cap in the future).
I guess it won't fix particular case with Tavares, but forwards are usually two positional, and if he's #4 while being quality player, team must be stacked at forwards. Might be exception with strong centers+weak wings, but this is solvable with further separation of positions to GK-LD-RD-LW-C-RW and having their own power rankings.
Rebuilding orgs won't be as eager to improve or go for quality over potential, while delusional orgs will make non-crucial mistakes. F.e. they overvalue their own talent and don't go for better player, undervalue their talent and clog their rotation with extra player to block prospect minutes, or they have owner who want to contend but don't have talent. So they will go for stars&overpay them w/o building team good enough to help star player achieve result.

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