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Islanders: The beauty of the Zach Parise and Zdeno Chara contracts

BRIDGEPORT, CONNECTICUT - OCTOBER 02: Zach Parise #11 of the New York Islanders skates against the New Jersey Devils during a preseason game at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard on October 02, 2021 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
BRIDGEPORT, CONNECTICUT - OCTOBER 02: Zach Parise #11 of the New York Islanders skates against the New Jersey Devils during a preseason game at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard on October 02, 2021 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Veterans Zach Parise and Zdeno Chara have been with the New York Islanders for some time now. Both were officially unveiled as new players weeks ago, but we didn’t know for how long they were signed for or for how much.

In typical Lou Lamoriello fashion, he didn’t file the paperwork until he absolutely had to. He’s under no obligation to get the deals into NHL central registry before rosters need to be finalized ahead of the October 11th (at 5PM eastern) deadline.

With that deadline looming, the deals for Parise and Chara were filed, and well, you might not be surprised by the details but here’s what you need to know about them.

New York Islanders finally file paperwork on Zach Parise and Zdeno Chara contracts

Both Parise and Chara are in the later stages of their NHL careers. For Chara, he’s been in that stage for some time now. Which means they aren’t about to sign for top dollar. In fact, they both signed for bottom dollar.

The two players signed league minimum deals, worth $750,000 in salary with an equal $750,000 in performance bonus money. Both deals are for a single year. We still don’t know what the stipulation is (or are) on that bonus money.

But, we could look at Andy Greene‘s deals from the past two years to get a sense of what that bonus structure could look like. Here’s what Greene got in terms of performance bonus money on last year’s deal and this year’s deal:

  • 2020-21:
    • 10 Games: $675,000
    • 15 Games: $675,000
    • 20 Games: $650,000
  • 2021-22:
    • 10 Games: $85,000
    • 15 Games: $85,000
    • 20 Games: $80,000

You see the pattern here. So with that in mind, it makes sense to assume that Parise and Chara’s performance bonus structure looks similar but paying close to $250,000 per increment.

Both players are almost guaranteed to hit these performance bonuses. The idea here isn’t to protect the team from paying too much for an aging veteran that might not stand up to the rigors of a full season. This is pure unadulterated cap circumvention.

With the Isles going over the traditional cap ceiling thanks to Johnny Boychuk‘s LTIR situation, these performance bonuses don’t affect this year’s cap. That impact is pushed off to the next year or even the year after that. Parise and Chara are effectively being paid $1.5 million without carrying a $1.5 million cap hit. Genius.

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