Phil Kessel and lessons of LTIR

Long-term injured reserve status can greatly alter a team's cap flexibility

Originally Published: December 1, 2010
By Matthew Wuest | Special to ESPN Insider

The Toronto Maple Leafs found out the hard way how long-term injuries can hurt teams in the salary-cap world. The Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins are among those at risk of following in their footsteps.

The Maple Leafs, who needed to place players on long-term injured reserve (LTIR) to stay under the cap last season, are now paying for it in the form of a $1.4 million bonus overage penalty that is deducted from their spending limit.

That's because LTIR -- a complicated system that was actually designed to provide cap relief -- can cause major cap headaches for teams heavy in performance bonuses.