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Sean Monahan’s Contract Explained

As Per the CBA

Calgary Flames v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Yesterday Sean Monahan signed his much awaited deal. There were many questions earlier in the summer about what this deal would look like and I took a stab earlier in the summer to find out just what his deal would be. While I couldn't nail down an exact figure I did find that Nathan MacKinnon was his closest comparable and I was looking to that deal to form a baseline for what Monny would get.

As the summer wore on however, speculation grew along with the expected salary from the minds of many Flames fans. Despite some pretty wild speculation, I think I even saw 8 years at 7 million AAV more than a few times, there were still some stalwarts that believed Treliving would pull off yet another swindle, even after the Trow Brouwer signing.

In the end what happened was... well, it was pretty reasonable. Monahan signs for 7 years at 6.375 million AAV, eating up 3 UFA years in the process. Monahan still enters Unrestricted Free Agency in the prime of his career, his 29 year old season, so another giant contract is likely on it's way as he finishes out his career in Calgary or elsewhere.

What I wanted to talk about were the particulars of his contract status over the coming seasons.

Monahan made the NHL straight out of Junior in what would be his 18 year old season. Once he hit 10 games the clock started ticking on that contract. Thanks to a bizarre condition of the CHL/NHL transfer agreement the team had a choice between either returning Monahan to either his Junior team or keeping him with the NHL club. Monahan, thankfully, had veteran Juri Hudler on his line pretty much at all times during his rookie season, Monny even lived with Hudler and his family until he had secured his place on the team and found his own apartment.

So the decision was made to keep him in the NHL for the balance of the season. The important thing about this decision is that Monahan had accrued one year of NHL service in just his 18 year old season. What's commonly known as the 27 or 7 rule the CBA states in article 10.1(a)(i)

Group 3 Players and Free Agents.

Any Player who either has seven (7) Accrued Seasons or is 27 years of age or older as of June 30 of the end of a League Year, shall, if his most recent SPC has expired, with such expiry occurring either as of June 30 of such League Year or June 30 of any prior League Year, become an Unrestricted Free Agent. Such Player shall be completely free to negotiate and sign an SPC with any Club, and any Club shall be completely free to negotiate and sign an SPC with such Player, without penalty or restriction, or being subject to any Right of First Refusal, Draft Choice Compensation or any other compensation or equalization obligation of any kind.

What the 27 or 7 rule means, in plain english, is that a player becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent after seven seasons of service or when they complete their 27 year old season, whichever comes first. What this early start to his career means for Monahan and the Flames is that their gamble on Monahan to maintain or improve his performance in his sophomore season essentially guaranteed that he would hit the gold standard of free agency: Group 3. While the intricacies between the various groups of Free Agency are based mostly on age and/or experience, thankfully none of them apply to Monny.

What this boils down to is that Brad Treliving essentially "bought" 3 years of Unrestricted Free Agency for a very reasonable price. With this, however, comes one important caveat: the No Trade or No Movement Clause.

When the Las Vegas expansion draft rules were announced we learned that any players with an active No Movement Clause must be protected while players with an active No Trade Clause do not. Following was some confusion regarding what these clauses entail and what the differences are.

11.8 Individually Negotiated Limitations on Player Movement.

(a) The SPC of any Player who is a Group 3 Unrestricted Free Agent under Article 10.1(a) may contain a no-Trade or a no-move clause. SPCs containing a no-Trade or a no-move clause may be entered into prior to the time that the Player is a Group 3 Unrestricted Free Agent so long as the SPC containing the no-Trade or no-move clause extends through and does not become effective until the time that the Player qualifies for Group 3 Unrestricted Free Agency. If the Player is Traded or claimed on Waivers prior to the no-Trade or no-move clause taking effect, the clause does not bind the acquiring Club. An acquiring Club may agree to continue to be bound by the no-Trade or no-move clause, which agreement shall be evidenced in writing to the Player, Central Registry and the NHLPA, in accordance with Exhibit 3 hereof.

(b) A no-Trade clause or a no-move clause that is negotiated as part of an extension of an SPC entered into pursuant to Section 50.5(f) may become effective immediately upon registration of, but prior to the effective date of, such SPC extension, provided: (i) the Player would otherwise have been eligible as of the immediately preceding July 1 prior to signing the SPC extension to have a no-Trade or no-move clause pursuant to Section 11.8; and (ii) the Club and the Player, who are parties to such SPC extension, agree that the no-Trade or no-move clause is effective immediately upon execution of the SPC extension (or at some later date agreed to by the Club and the Player) and evidence such agreement in writing in the SPC.

(c) A no-move clause may prevent the involuntary relocation of a Player, whether by Trade, Loan or Waiver claim. A no-move clause, however, may not restrict the Club's Buy-Out and termination rights as set forth in this Agreement. Prior to exercising its Ordinary Course Buy-Out rights pursuant to Paragraph 13 of the SPC hereof, the Club shall, in writing in accordance with the notice provisions in Exhibit 3 hereof, provide the Player with the option of electing to be placed on Waivers. The Player will have twenty-four (24) hours from the time he receives such notice to accept or reject that option at his sole discretion, and shall so inform the Club in writing, in accordance with the notice provisions in Exhibit 3 hereof, within such twentyfour (24) hour period. If the Player does not timely accept or reject that option, it will be deemed rejected.

What we are mostly looking at with the NMC/NTC clauses in the CBA is that neither clauses are available to any player that does not meet Group 3 Unrestricted Free Agency. Monahan and the Flames were allowed to build these clauses into this contract but they were not allowed to have them take effect until Monahan would reach Free Agency under the aforementioned 27 or 7 rule. Monahan has reportedly accepted a 10 team No Trade Clause for his free agency years while under contract with the Flames, otherwise known as a Limited No Trade Clause. This means that he has a list of 10 teams that he can not be traded to without his express written permission. This does not, however, prohibit the team from waiving him for purposes of playing in the AHL or ECHL. The No Movement Clause is one step above the No Trade Clause in that it prohibits the team from moving the player anywhere, for nearly any reason including waivers, without the player's written permission. The only exception is the placing of a NMC player on waivers for the purposes of a buy out.

Beginning in Monahan's 26 year old season the No Trade Clause takes effect as it would be his first Unrestricted Free Agency season at the tender age of 26 rather than 28 via the 27 or 7 rule.

The more I examine this contract the more I believe that it falls firmly in the middle ground for both parties. Treliving was forced to pay an established market price for the player while the player left potential money on the table for more power over the money years of his career.

Now if only Johnny Gaudreau would sign soon.