Hockey Jargon

Cracking the Code: AAV in Hockey Contracts and Salary Cap Strategies

The Importance of AAV in Hockey Contracts and Salary Cap ConsiderationsWhen it comes to hockey contracts and the salary cap, there is one term that you may have heard before Average Annual Value (AAV). AAV is a crucial concept that affects not only how contracts are structured, but also how teams manage their salary cap.

In this article, we will explore the definition and calculation of AAV, its importance in relation to the salary cap, and how teams strategically use it to reach the salary floor. So, let’s dive deeper into the world of AAV.

1) AAV in Hockey Contracts:

1.1 Definition and Calculation of AAV:

The Average Annual Value, or AAV, represents the average yearly cost of a player’s contract over its duration. It is calculated by dividing the total value of the contract by the number of years it covers.

For example, if a player signs a 5-year contract worth $25 million, the AAV would be $5 million per year. AAV allows teams to gauge a player’s impact on their salary cap and helps in negotiating future contracts.

1.2 Importance of AAV in Relation to Salary Cap:

The NHL has a salary cap, which limits the total amount a team can spend on player salaries in a given season. AAV is a key factor in determining how much a player’s contract will count against the salary cap each season.

For instance, a longer-term contract with a higher AAV will have a more significant impact on the salary cap, affecting a team’s ability to sign or retain other players. 1.3 AAV vs.

Actual Salary Paid:

It’s important to note that AAV does not always reflect the actual salary paid to a player in a given year. Teams can structure contracts in several ways to defer or vary payments.

A prime example is the contracts of players like Mitch Marner and Matthew Tkachuk. Although their contracts have high AAVs, their actual salaries paid in the early years of their deals are modest.

This provides teams with flexibility and cap relief in the short term. 2) AAV and Salary Cap Considerations:

2.1 Reaching the Salary Floor:

The salary floor is the minimum amount a team must spend on player salaries.

Rebuilding teams or those in a youth movement often find themselves below this floor. Utilizing AAV is a crucial strategy in reaching the salary floor while maintaining flexibility.

Teams can sign players to longer-term contracts with higher AAVs, allowing them to meet the minimum spending requirement while keeping their financial commitments reasonable. 2.2 Using AAV to Reach Salary Floor through Trades:

Rebuilding teams might not be able to attract high-end players through free agency, but they can use the AAV of existing players to reach the salary floor through trades.

By taking on contracts from other teams in exchange for assets, a rebuilding team can reach the floor while potentially providing themselves with short-term cap relief. This strategy allows them to accumulate future considerations and cash savings.


Average Annual Value (AAV) is a crucial element in hockey contracts, impacting both individual players and team management strategies. AAV enables teams to manage their salary cap effectively and make informed decisions about player contracts.

It is not only an essential concept in the negotiation process but also a means for teams to manipulate the salary cap to their advantage. Understanding AAV and its implications can provide hockey fans with valuable insights into the financial side of the game.

In conclusion, Average Annual Value (AAV) is a critical factor in hockey contracts and salary cap management. It represents the average yearly cost of a player’s deal and influences the team’s ability to navigate the salary cap and sign or retain other players.

AAV can differ from the actual salary paid, allowing teams to structure contracts strategically. Furthermore, AAV plays a vital role in helping teams reach the salary floor and balance their financial commitments.

Understanding AAV gives hockey fans valuable insights into the financial intricacies of the game, highlighting its significance in contract negotiations and roster management.

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