Financial woes continue for NHL teams, with no near-term relief in sight. Last week reports began to surface that several teams were late in paying player bonuses, with The Athletic’s Katie Strang specifically reporting that the Arizona Coyotes were late in making a few such payments.
According to multiple sources, the Arizona Coyotes have been late on paying at least a few players their contractually-stipulated signing bonuses on time. My understanding is these have since been resolved, but it has raised some concerns.
— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) September 4, 2020
On Friday, Pierre McGuire told TSN690 that he felt there were a few “teams that are having issues paying players their bonuses.” He even mentioned that fans should expect a few teams to be sold.
McGuire’s exact words: “I believe you will see some teams that will be sold…There are some teams that are having very difficult times getting to bonus payments, let alone keeping their staffs. I’m not trying to doom and gloom this, I’m just trying to speak realistically.”
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) September 11, 2020
McGuire reiterated his financial concerns last week during one of his regular morning hits on TSN1200.
“I’m going to caution everybody, these are way different times in the National Hockey League, and you’re just starting to see just a little ripple in the water. This is going to be a very different time financially for the league, and for a lot of member clubs in the league. I’m just telling you. The stories haven’t broken yet, but this is going to be a way different time for free agents, be a way different time for established players.
“You’re going to see some major cost-cutting around the National Hockey League, major, major cost-cutting. There are people writing stories now about this team laying off these people. You’re going to see a lot more. It’s going to trickle down to player’s salaries. This is a very different time in this league. It’s not getting enough exposure right now. I completely understand because of the playoffs. No one really wants to talk about it.”
What this all means for this year’s batch of free agents is yet to be seen, but we are already beginning to see teams shed player payroll.
By Jon Sorensen