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Islanders: Impact of exception player status suggestion

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 11: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Barclays Center on February 11, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders defeated the Flyers 5-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 11: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Barclays Center on February 11, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders defeated the Flyers 5-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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How would the implementation of the “Exception Player” status put forward by KO Sports Inc impact the New York Islanders?

On Monday, KO Sports, a premier boutique hockey agency, put forward a suggestion that would create an “Exception Player” status that could be used by all 31 teams in the NHL like the New York Islanders.

The suggestion is to create a new class of players, the “Exception Player”. According to the suggestion, the exception player’s contract wouldn’t count on the salary cap, they would have no minimum compensation limit, amongst other things.

It’s a bold suggestion that probably won’t see the light of day, but it merits talking about.

Exception Player

Keep in mind this is only a suggestion by KO Sports and it’s thin on details. But essentially, their suggestion is to give every team the ability to sign one player (and only one player) to their actual market value and not their cap value.

KO Sports represent players like Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson, and Dylan Larkin amongst others.

Here’s how KO Sports breaks down the Exception Player status:

"one Exception Player per teamcompensation would be excluded from the team’s salary cap considerations as well as the players’ share of the revenue splitException Players could be obtained via the Draft, trade or free agencyThere would be no minimum payment thresholdPlayers would eligible for the designation upon the expiration of their Entry-Level Contractany Club that designates and signs an Exception Player pay a luxury tax which would then be distributed to the Clubs that have not made such a designation"

So, for argument’s sake, let’s assume this is in effect right now. The Islanders could sign Mathew Barzal to his first Standard Player Contract (SPC) after the conclusion of his ELC and designate him as an “Exception Player”.

As an “Exception Player”, the Isles could give Barzal whatever they wanted to pay him and not have it count towards the cap. That would give them all the room they need to sign guys like Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews without the need to trade away players or use compliance buyouts.

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Issues

Obviously, there’s the issue of a luxury tax that team owners don’t like. I have a hard time imagining the owners would freely wish to give huge payouts to star players and then pay a luxury tax for the privilege to do so.

There’s also the trade issue to deal with. Does the status follow the player or does it stay with the team?

I like the creativity here. Teams, like the New York Islanders, are going to need creative solutions going forward. But I think this one is DOA.

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