An overview of player contract rules, cap hit and players’ free agency status in Puck Drop.
Each franchise is allowed to have 50 active contracts at any time. Almost every player with an active contract counts towards this limit (see goalies special case below), regardless of player’s age, number of games played or contract’s type (1-way, 2-way, entry-level).
Goalies are a special case when it comes to contracts limit. Maximum of four goalkeeper contracts count towards the limit, regardless of how many goalies are signed. This is to allow for extra goalies on the minor team to serve as a backup in case of multiple injuries to regular goalies. All goalkeeper contracts are part of the team’s salary cap hit however.
If a player is 24 years of age or younger at the time when they are offered their first contract, the contract is allowed to be entry-level contract only. This contract is limited in maximum salary of $1.0 million and number of years it can be signed for which depends on the player’s age at the time the offer is made:
|21 or younger||3 years|
|22 - 23||2 years|
If a player is 19 years of age or younger on the day an entry-level contract is signed, the player is a candidate for entry-level contract “sliding”. If the candidate does not participate in at least 10 games in the major league during their first year, their contract will be extended by one additional year. The contract is allowed to slide only once.
Salary Cap & Cap Hit
The league’s salary cap is set to $84.0 millions. Since Puck Drop does not support salary retention at the moment, the cap has been increased from the current NHL cap of $81.5 million to accommodate teams that rely on salary retention to fit under the cap.
Team’s cap hit is the sum of salaries of all players who have an active contract with the team. When a player is assigned to the major team, their entire salary counts towards the cap. When a player is assigned to the minors, a fixed value of $1.050 million is subtracted from the player’s salary and the resulting amount (if positive) counts towards the cap.
Currently there are no signing or performance bonuses, variable salaries per season or pro-rated cap hits. Player’s cap hit is simply their contract salary.
Free Agents Status
If a player becomes a free agent on July 1, they can be either a restricted or unrestricted free agent. When a player is an unrestricted free agent (UFA), any team can send contract offers to this player freely. When a player is a restricted free agent (RFA), teams interested in signing the player (except for player’s previous team) may be required to give up some draft picks (see RFA Compensation below).
When a team makes an offer to other team’s RFA, they create an offer sheet the player can sign or decline. If signed, the player’s previous team has 7 days to decide between one of the following options:
- Accept the offer sheet, meaning they will let the player sign with the new team and receive potential draft pick compensation in return.
- Match the offer and sign the player to the terms of the offer sheet.
Once a player signs an offer sheet and it is pending resolution, the player cannot receive any new offers from any team.
The team that makes an offer to other team’s RFA may be required to give up some of their draft picks depending on the salary offered to the RFA. The draft picks must be their own, not from other teams. If the team does not have the necessary draft picks available, they cannot make the offer. Additionally, the draft picks must be available in the nearest draft, unless the compensation requires two or more draft picks in the same round. In that case an extra year can be used to provide these draft picks.
|$0.000M - $1.400M||No compensation|
|$1.401M - $2.100M||1 × 3rd round pick|
|$2.101M - $4.200M||1 × 2nd round pick|
|$4.201M - $6.300M||
|$6.301M - $8.500M||
|$8.501M - $10.500M||
RFA Status Conditions
A player will become an RFA on July 1 if they are without an active contract and meets the following conditions:
- The player has not participated in at least 7 seasons;
- The player is 26 years old or younger;
- The player received a qualifying offer from his current team prior to July 1. A contract offer is deemed qualifying if it matches the player's previous salary.
Status of your team players is displayed in the contracts summary screen as well as the postseason overview.