My disagreement here is that the front loading on contracts has nothing to do with the "spirit" of the cap. The "spirit" was and is about teams artificially lowering the cap hits of contracts to get around the cap ceiling. Front loading a contract doesn't violate any "spirit" since it has been done for decades with neither the NHL nor NHLPA wanting to stop it.
Kovy's contract was designed to circumvent the salary cap with years at the end that no reasonable person would believe would be played which were in place only to lower the average yearly cap hit, that's a violation of a written, but vague, rule at the time. The Weber contract violates no written rule, vague or strict, so has no reason to be voided.
Edit: The "spirit" never really existed, it was just shorthand for saying there is a vaguely written rule we believe has been violated. The vagueness has been removed so teams effectively can not violate the "spirit" now that the rule is no longer vague.
Ah, OK. So it's basically a disagreement over what "spirit" means.
I believe the Kovy saga addressed one aspect of the spirit of the cap. I also believe "spirit" is too vague a term to be defined in one shot. I believe that one of the main points of a salary cap is to allow teams to be able to compete on a level playing field when it comes to attracting and keeping talent. A big-market team front-loading a contract with so much bonus money that a small-market team couldn't possibly afford to match is a blatant violation of this aspect of the cap's spirit, IMO.
Does this deal violate anything addressed in the original CBA or the Kovy amendment? No. But it is a giant middle finger to one of the core reasons for having a salary cap in the first place.
The problem with the Kovy contract was that everyone knew he wouldn't be playing his last 5-6 years where he was scheduled to be making 550k / year, which was only included to lower cap hit extraordinarily. The argument the NHL made was that players rarely play after their 40's and the Kovy rule they agreed upon specifies that it's only for players contracts that take them past the age of 41 (and are longer then 5 years).
This contract for Weber is pretty different, his last 3 years he makes 1m, and it only takes him to 40. The only part that's "hazy" is the front loading which makes it hard for the other team to match, but that's sort of the point of an RFA offer, you want to make it something difficult for them to match so you get your player. (you could also be doing it just to hamstring another team, but I think it's safe to say here the Flyers want Weber, not to screw the Preds over).
Again, I'm not saying this Weber offer violates the spirit of the cap in any of the same ways the Kovy deal did. I understand that they're different and that this doesn't violate anything as it's currently written. This is a brand new violation of a completely different part of the cap's "spirit", IMO.
It was in that part you quoted: "No Club or Club Actor, directly or indirectly, may: (i) enter into any agreements ... if either (i) or (ii) is intended to or has the effect of defeating or Circumventing the provisions of this Agreement or the intention of the parties as reflected by the provisions of this Agreement, including without limitation, provisions with respect to ... Team Payroll Range
One of the main points of the cap is to keep a level playing field when it comes to team payroll range. This deal flaunts how much more payroll range (not cap space, but cash money payroll range) the Flyers have than the Predators. This offer almost reverts the league back to pre-cap days where the Flyers, Rangers, Red Wings, etc. can outbid anyone else by just putting more money in a couple years into the deal than any small-market team could afford to pay out.