Join Jim Thomas for a live Blues chat at 1 p.m. Wednesday

Join Jim Thomas for a live Blues chat at 1 p.m. Wednesday

Get your questions ready and join in at 1 p.m. Wednesday for our weekly Blues chat.

    I'll go again. Slow day at work today. I'm curious what Parayko's next deal might look like. He'll be 29 at the end of it and will most likely be the Blues' No. 1 defenseman at the time. That's one year younger than Pietrangelo when he left. What do you think the Blues do there?
  • Interesting one. Keep in mind, Parayko has not made an all-star game. Has not worn a "C," although I wouldn't be surprised if he wore an "A" this coming season. The NHL,I think, won't quite be back from its COVID-related financial woes. So I'm going to say $7M x 6 years. Or $7M x 7 years. (Parayko's currently making $5.5M.)
    Mr. Thomas,
    Were you a hockey fan before taking on the Blues job? If not, are you a hockey fan now? I know professionalism keeps a writer from being a fan of the team he or she covers, but how about the sport at large? Do you think a writer can cover a team effectively if he or she really does not like the sport it plays?
    I was a teen-ager when the Blues came on the scene in the late '60s and took the town by storm, going to the Cup Final in each of the first 3 years of existence. We all played street hockey back then. A little later, I can remember waiting with friends outside of the Arena after a game to see Garry Unger come out of the players entrance/exit, long hair flowing, a beautiful blonde on his arm (which he told me several months ago was his future wife), and drive off in a sports car. Just like you'd imagine it, right? I can remember going to the 1980-81 playoff series and watching Mike Liut and the Blues take on the Rangers. But then I get married, have kids, get into some sportswriting with the Post-Dispatch, covering preps, Mizzou, and then the NFL. When you're covering a beat, it's all encompassing so didn't pay all that much attention to the Blues for years. And then suddenly I find myself on the Blues beat, very late in my career. You immerse yourself in the beat, it was a steep learning curve. But the sport is fast, exciting, and you end up covering a Stanley Cup champ. All those hours and travel aside, how can that not be fun? 
    But I've always enjoyed my work. And you can't be a fan. Sure, it was more fun to be around the "Greatest Show on Turf" Rams than the outfit that went 15-65 from 2007 thru 2011, but you have to put any "fan" feelings aside at the door. Objectivity is a cornerstone of  our business. 
    Do you think the Blues already have a good read on Steens injury & recovery time? If not do you expect they will get it before training camp? Will Steen have to report if injured?
    I think they have a pretty good idea of what's going on. They just don't feel like telling us. Not at this point anyway.
    Anytime timeline or inclinations on announcing the next captain?
    I would think it would be sometime in training camp.
    Hey Jim, If someone is on IR, their salary doesn't count vs. the cap. What if someone who is making $6mm against the cap is on IR half the season. Is this prorated? If he returns at mid season, does he count $6mm or $3mm against the cap? Or is the cap based on a current "payday" amount? I see articles where the Blues are under the cap, over the cap, etc., whether Steener or Vladi are on IR or come off IR. Thanks. Like your writing very much.
  • In the case of a player going on LTIR before _ repeat, before the season starts _  I'm pretty sure it's not prorated. That if the player returns in-season the entire amount is once against counted against the cap. But I'll have to check on this, and if someone knows differently _ let us know before this chat has to shut down in 20 minutes.
  • I posted in Ben's chat yesterday that the Blues should put Tarasenko unprotected. I doubt Seattle takes him. Come May it will be 2 years of nothing because of his injury(twice I may add). Ben said well he could be a 30 goal scorer again. And the fans would go nuts if they lose him. I doubt it in both cases.
  • Again, I'm not ruling it out as a possibility if Tarasenko doesn't bounce back from the injury this season. Let's see what happens.
  • Mr. Thomas,
    Just an observation on your earlier comment about Steen helping to arrange for Rylan Schwartz to return home and be with his family- I imagine this is one example of the many things Steen does behind the scenes that fans don't necessarily know about, but that explain what the Blues players and management see in him beyond goals, assists, and points. The guy bleeds Blue and he's all class.
  • From all I can tell and have been told in my now 3-plus years on the Blues beat regarding Steen, you are absolutely right.
    From capfriendly: What is LTIR?
    When a player has an injury of which they are expected to miss a minimum of 10 NHL games and 24 days in the NHL season, the team can place them on long term injured reserve (LTIR). LTIR can be used to exceed the salary cap. LTIR is a very complicated aspect of the NHL operations and the vast majority of details are not specified in the CBA.

    When a player is placed on LTIR, their cap hit remains on the teams cap payroll and it continues to count as it always did. It also does not provide the club with additional cap-space savings that can be banked for future use while the team operates above the salary cap. Instead, LTIR provides relief if the club's averaged club salary, or payroll, begins to exceed the upper limit. The amount of relief that the club receives is calculated on the day the player is placed on LTIR. There are three equations that are used to determine the LTIR relief, the first, the basic equation, can be used during the season and during the off-season. The second, the training-camp equation, can be used on the final day of the off-season in preparation for the first day of the season. The third formula is used when the team already has a player on LTIR.

    When a player is deemed fit to play, the team must activate them.
    What is the Accruable Cap Space Limit (ACSL)?
    When a team goes into LTIR, their effective salary cap, or upper limit, is changed. This adjusted upper limit is calculated as a function of the teams cap space and the player’s cap hit. This value is the “accruable cap space limit” (ACSL), and is the first value calculated. Second are the salary and performance bonus relief pools that are later explained below.

    The accruable cap space limit is the teams new upper limit excluding their LTIR relief pools. If the team operates below the ACSL, they begin to accrue cap space. A team can operate up to the ACSL without using their LTIR relief pools, once they operate above the ACSL, they begin to use their LTIR relief pools. In the majority of cases, a team using LTIR will be using their relief pools. Only in uncommon circumstances does a team operate below their ACSL.

    The ACSL is only calculated when a team first enters LTIR, if a player is placed on LTIR while another player is already on LTIR, the ACSL is not recalculated. In the event that a team stops using LTIR, their ACSL resets to the default upper limit of the active season, upon reentering LTIR, the ACSL is again recalculated.

    Two methods can be used to calculate the ACSL:

    The Basic Equation
    The basic equation can be used throughout the NHL regular season, and during the off-season:
    ACSL = Salary cap upper limit - team cap space
    Thx, I've read this a few times and I don't see where or how it spells out what happens to a player who enters a season on LTIR.
    That is what I am getting at, that if he doesn't play or does very little he should be unprotected.
    And what I'm saying is that, yeah, it might be something the Blues think about if that's the case.
    When it comes to injuries and LTIR is it prorated? If Steen is out half the year same with Tarasenko do the Blues get to use half of the money? Thanks for the chats and taking my questions.
  • Again, I don't think it gets prorated. But I'll check on that.
    Sorry, I was not trying to hold back info, just trying not to overwhelm with excessive text, here's more:
    How is LTIR Relief calculated?
    LTIR relief comes in the form of two values: a salary relief pool, and a performance bonus relief pool.

    These pools are determined the day the player is placed on LTIR. The salary relief pool is the player’s averaged salary excluding performance bonuses (their cap hit value). The performance bonus relief is the player’s total performance bonuses for this season (games played, A and B bonuses), regardless of if they are still achievable.

    What if the team already has a player on LTIR?
    The teams ACSL remains the same, and their salary relief pool increases by the player’s cap hit, and the performance bonus relief pool increases by the player’s performance bonuses.
    How does a team use the base salary and performance bonus relief pools?
    As explained above, two pools are created when a player is placed on LTIR, a salary pool, and a performance bonus pool. If recalling a player would result in the team exceeding the ACSL, the team must have enough relief in the necessary pools. Only the players achievable performance bonuses are considered when they are recalled, for example, if a player has an 82 games played performance bonus of $500,000, and it is impossible for them to achieve those 82 games, the $500,000 performance bonus is no longer considered.

    The following must be met to recall the player:

    Players with no performance bonuses
    If a player has no performance bonuses, the team must have a salary relief pool that is equal to or greater than the player’s cap hit (annual averaged salary excluding performance bonuses).

    Players with performance bonuses
    The team must have a salary relief pool that is equal to or greater than the player’s cap hit. After the salary relief pool has been considered, the sum of the teams performance bonus pool and remaining salary relief pool must be equal to or greater than the player’s max achievable performance bonuses of the current season (the player’s achievable performance bonuses can come out of both the salary and performance bonus pool).
    How much can teams exceed the league upper limit by?
    Once the team exceeds their ACSL, they start to use their relief pools. They can exceed the upper limit until they have exhausted the necessary relief pools. A rough estimation is as follows:
    Exceed value = ACSL + salary relief pool - league upper limit
    *It is notable that this estimation does not take into account the performance bonus pool: if the team were to recall a player with performance bonuses and did not have a suitable amount of space in their performance bonus relief pool, they would have to use their salary relief pool to make up the difference. An example is presented below.
    Can LTIR be used in the off-season?
    Yes, LTIR can be used in the off-season while the 10% off-season cushion is active. LTIR in the off-season is calculated using the basic equation outlined above, which permits a team to exceed the off-season salary cap. To use off-season LTIR the team must provide doctors proof that the player in question will continue to be injured at the beginning of the regular season for 10 NHL games and 24 calendar days.

    At the start of the season the teams LTIR relief & ACSL is recalculated when the 10% cushion is removed.
    Basic Equation Example
    The league upper limit is $69M. A team has an averaged club salary of $68M and a player with a 35+ contract with an AAV of $5M ($3M cap hit and $2M in performance bonuses) becomes injured and the team places him on LTIR. The LTIR relief pools are calculated as follows:
    AAV of LTIR player is $5M
    Cap space = $69M - $68M = $1M
    ACSL = $69M - $1M = $68M
    LTIR relief:
    Base salary relief pool: $3M
    Performance bonus pool: $2M
    Once the team operates above $68M, they have $3M in salary relief, and $2M in performance bonus relief pools.

    To add to this example, if the team were to recall a player from the AHL with a cap hit of $950k, the ACSL would be maximized, allowing the team to further exceed the league upper limit:
    AAV of LTIR player is $5M
    Cap space = $69M - $68.95M = $0.05M
    ACSL = $69M - $0.05M = $68.95M
    LTIR relief: $3M
    Base salary relief pool: $3M
    Performance bonus pool: $2M
    For this reason, when a player is activated onto LTIR, one day recalls are relatively common as they can be used to maximize the ACSL.
    Training-Camp Equation Example
    The league upper limit is $69M. A team has an averaged club salary of $71M and a player with a cap hit of $5M ($5M cap hit, $0 in performance bonuses) becomes injured and the team places him on LTIR. The LTIR relief pools are calculated as follows:
    Team cap hit = $71M
    ACSL = $71M - $5M = $66M
    LTIR relief:
    Base salary relief pool: $5M
    Performance bonus pool: $0
    Once the team operates above $66M, they have $5M in salary relief, and $0 in performance bonus relief pools. When using the training camp formula, 100% of the relief pools are used when the player is initially placed on LTIR.
    LTIR Operations Example
    The league upper limit is $75M. A team has an averaged club salary of $74M and a player with a cap hit of $5M ($5M cap hit, $0 in performance bonuses) becomes injured and the team places him on LTIR:

    ACSL = $75,000,000 - $1,000,000 = $74,000,000
    No problem. I've looked this over a few times as well and can make no sense of it. It's over my head.
    Hockey LTIR is quite simply one of the most complicated hings in sports because there is no one answer. 4 situations with everythnig else being the same on the day of an LTIR injury can have 4 different results, both negative & positive, based on when the injury happens and what the team does to address it.
    Again, we'll try to get an answer for you. It's time to go everyone. Thanks for playing. See you next week. . . .
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