NHL Rumors: Philipp Grubauer's $35.4M Kraken Contract Rejected over Rules Violation

Blake SchusterContributor IAugust 2, 2021

DENVER, CO - JUNE 08: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer (31) on the ice during a break in the action during a Stanley Cup Playoffs second round game between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado on June 8, 2021. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Seattle Kraken will have to work a bit harder before officially adding Philipp Grubauer as the expansion team's newest goaltender after the NHL reportedly rejected his free-agent contract on Sunday.

According to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski, the six-year, $35.4 million contract did not pass NHL Central Registry because it violated the league's requirements for a front-loaded contract. The Kraken are reportedly working on a restructured deal.

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Grubauer's contract w/ the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SeaKraken?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SeaKraken</a> was rejected by the NHL central registry for violating the front-loaded contract requirements:<br><br>-1.5M increase between 22/23-23/24 exceeds 25% of 1st year salary<br><br>The contract needs to be restructured and resubmitted<a href="https://t.co/C05he8OKGM">https://t.co/C05he8OKGM</a>

Per Wyshynski:

"The NHL tightened up those salary rules in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which was established in Summer 2020. Front-loaded contracts in any "immediately adjacent years" can't exceed 25% variance with the first year of that contract, and any year of the contract can't exceed 60% variance from the highest year of the deal. It's a tweak, and not a defeat."

Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times reported Kraken general manager Ron Francis has already adjusted Grubauer's contract by shifting $250,000 from the goaltender's third year to his second year.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told Baker this type of mistake is "not unusual" in an emailed response. As the expansion team continues to get its day-to-day operations up-and-running, it makes sense to see some growing pains and minor errors. 

It doesn't appear as though the mistake will cost Grubauer an opportunity to play for Seattle. 

The Kraken will have three goalies once Grubauer signs with Chris Driedger and Joey Daccord already on the roster. Neither provides as much strength in net as the former Colorado Avalanche star.

Grubauer was exceptional in 2020-21, winning 30 of 39 starts with a 1.95 goals-against average and a 92.2 save percentage. He also recorded seven shutouts en route to being named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the league's best netminder.

A small set back in free agency shouldn't change the high expectations moving forward as he relocates to the Pacific Northwest.