What are the cap implications if a player retires before his contract expires?
In most cases, if a player forfeits his remaining salary by retiring before his contract expires, he no longer counts against the cap. There are, however, two exceptions to the general rule:
- A player signed to an “over-35” contract continues to count against the cap in full. These contracts are explained in a separate FAQ entry.
- A player subject to cap advantage recapture (less than two dozen in the entire league) continues to count against the cap at a rate determined by a multi-step formula. This rule, and the formula, are explained in a separate FAQ entry.
An example of the general rule was Brian Rafalski’s retirement in 2011 off-season. Rafalski had one year remaining on his five-year contract and a cap hit of $6 million. He did not count against the Detroit Red Wings cap in 2011-12.
— By Matthew Wuest – CapGeek.com