Every now and again the league changes the rules because of one player's influence on the game. Sean Avery's attempt to distract Martin Brodeur in the playoffs back in 2007 saw the league quickly re-interpret existing laws, Martin Brodeur himself saw the introduction of the trapezoid to limit his ability to play the puck.
In the case of Wade Redden - and in the second instance, Scott Gomez - the league has made two changes. The first rule change was instituted in the new CBA, preventing teams from burying unwieldy contracts down in the AHL to circumvent the Cap. Under the new CBA, Redden's contract would count against the Cap, regardless of where he played, or for that matter, whether he played at all.
Certainly Redden wasn't the only player to have sent down to clear cap space, the New Jersey Devils were among the first, dispatching the likes of Alexandre Mogilny and Dan McGillis in the early stages of the 2005 CBA agreement, but with two years at $6.5M and another two more remaining, he was certainly the biggest.
The second rule change occurred last night, when the league relaxed the rules on amnesty contract buy-outs to allow Redden to be bought out at the start of the season, rather than at the end. The compromise came after the Rangers - and Canadiens in the case of Gomez - asked the player in question to simply not play this season, to avoid the possibility of an injury that would prevent a buy-out at the end of the year.
That's a pretty hefty compromise, when you consider that more than 10 percent of next year's salary cap figure could have been chewed up by Redden's contract if the Rangers hadn't been able to off-load him.
So the Rangers will now put Redden on waivers, and make a move to buy him out prior to Thursday's roster submissions. It'll still cost the Rangers $6.5M in Cap space this year - which they have room for - but will be completely clear of the commitment in next year, which would have been his final contracted season.
It'll also mean the Rangers will have $8.2M in cap space tied up in two dead contracts - Chris Drury still counts for $1.67M this year due to his buy-out last season, and brings to a conclusion a string of several bad contracts that Sather made during the 2007-2009 off-season.