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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:

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