When the New Jersey Devils signed Jaromir Jagr to a one-year deal last summer, they made him bonus eligible. Jagr collected all of the $2 million in bonuses because of how many games he played. But those bonuses hurt the Devils for the 2014-15 season.
Hockey reporter James Mirtle said in a recent article:
More and more, teams are using what’s known as the bonus cushion for older players like this, as it allows them to exceed the cap (by up to 7.5 per cent) when these veterans earn a portion of salary in bonuses. For every dollar teams go over the cap, however, that comes off their limit the following season.
The Devils of course took the chance at Jagr playing enough games to double his salary and it came back to bite them. They also did this with Marek Zidlicky by making him eligible for $1 million in bonuses.
Of course, as Mirtle said, for every dollar over the cap the Devils’ cap space gets smaller by that amount. Prior to bonuses, the Devils were even with the cap, leaving them $3 million over the cap. Now the Devils are stuck in a tough situation, they have $3 million less to spend next year.
Two other teams, the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings both had this happen to them and are left with less money to spend this offseason.