Connor Brown played four games for the Washington Capitals last season before tearing his ACL. Now, after signing a bonus-laden contract with Edmonton Oilers over the offseason, the 29-year-old winger is about to get majorly paid for meeting one of the simplest conditions possible in the NHL.
Brown is set to earn $3.225 million when he plays in his tenth game of the season, which will come after he makes two more appearances. Brown, so far, has amassed zero points and is a minus-five to start the 2023-24 campaign.
#NHL bonuses payable on the horizon:#NYR Blake Wheeler: $100,000 for 10 GP (Thurs vs. CAR)#Oilers Connor Brown: $3,225,000 for 10 GP (Sat vs. NSH)#TexasHockey Joe Pavelski: $1,000,000 for 10 GP (Sat @ VAN)#LAKings Cam Talbot: $1,000,000 for 10 GP (projected Nov. 11 vs. PHI)
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) October 31, 2023
The Oilers took advantage of a loophole in the CBA that allowed them to get Brown in on a cheap $775,000 contract as the forward was out with a “long-term injury” (on IR for a minimum of 100 days) last year. That injury made him eligible for the big performance-based bonuses that Edmonton will have to take onto their salary cap next year if Brown gets to that 10-game mark.
With the salary cap expected to jump up around $4.2 million in the summer, Brown’s bonus cap hit would almost wipe out any extra room the Oilers stand to gain. That could be a huge detriment for the team as they will have unrestricted free agents to sign, including potentially Brown, as well as an extension to start working out with superstar center Leon Draisaitl. Defenseman Evan Bouchard is also likely due for a raise in the two next years.
All of those factors combined with Brown’s lack of production has sparked discourse around the Oilers that perhaps Brown should be waived before he can hit that 10-game mark. While in reality that move is unlikely, Brown is on an Oilers team with Stanley Cup aspirations that have started the season with a 2-5-1 record. So, the heat will definitely be turned up in general manager Ken Holland’s metaphorical kitchen.
The Capitals were apparently interested in bringing Brown back all the way up until he ultimately decided to sign with Edmonton. Given his poor start to the year they may have dodged a bullet.
Brown is set to make more money this year if he hits that big bonus than the following 14 current Capitals rostered members: Sonny Milano, Hendrix Lapierre, Connor McMichael, Aliaksei Protas, Matthew Phillips, Beck Malenstyn, Nic Dowd, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Martin Fehervary, Rasmus Sandin, Hardy Haman Aktell, Alex Alexeyev, Lucas Johansen, and Charlie Lindgren.
Screenshot via Oilers
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