Last Tuesday, the NHL proposed a 50/50 revenue split with the NHLPA. Although an agreement has yet to be reached, it's still possible that the latest NHL proposal will succeed, or some of its terms will be realized.
One of those terms, as explained at NHL.com, states that all contracts count towards the salary cap, regardless of whether the player is actually playing. Furthermore, when a player retires, his cap hit is reverted back to the team which initially signed the contract.
We are proposing that all years of existing long-term contracts in excess of five (5) years be counted against a Club's Cap regardless of whether or where a Player is playing. While such contracts (and Cap charges) can be traded during their terms, in the event a Player subsequently retires or ceases to play, the effective Cap charge would revert to the Club that originally entered into the contract. This proposal is consistent with our other proposals intended to address the harmful effects of long-term, front-loaded, "back-diving" contracts.
As I'm sure you're aware, the Canucks signed Luongo to one of these "back-diving" contracts which the NHL is trying to eliminate. His contract yields a cap hit of $5.33 million until 2022, at which point Luongo will be 43 years old and enjoying retirement.
The Canucks have been hinting at trading Luongo since the 2011/12 season wrapped up, and rumors have heated up once again.
So let's look at how this proposal could impact the Canucks.
Under the old CBA, the Canucks could trade Luongo and be free and clear from his contract. When he retired, his cap hit would not fall on any team.
Under this new proposal, when he does retire at 38-40 years old, Luongo's $5.33 million cap hit would count against the Canucks, regardless of where he finishes his career.
This means there could be 3-5 years that the Canucks have $5.33 million less to spend on roster players; $5.33 million less than the competition; $5.33 million that if available could prevent talented prospects from going elsewhere.
If accepted, these terms will hurt the Canucks in the future.
To top it all off, this doesn't change Luongo's already low trade value. He's still not worth what GM Mike Gillis would like, but he costs more.