For the last few years, there has been a lot of discussion in the NHL regarding what is perceived as an unfair advantage for some American teams when it comes to the salary cap and taxes. The consensus is teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars, both of whom are in the Stanley Cup Final, have an easier time luring big names because there is no state tax in places like Texas and Florida. Sportsnet analyst Brian Burke addressed the situation Saturday night reporting that a player making around $5 million per season would pay around $500,000 less in taxes on their salary in some states when compared to Canada. They can also get a tax break on their mortgage interest, saving another $50,000 to $100,000 per year. However, Allen Walsh-the agent for players like Marc-Andre Fleury, Max Pacioretty, Johnathon Drouin and others-is saying that's not entirely true.

"I’m shocked at how uninformed this take is," Walsh posted to Twitter referring to Burke's statement. "1. Players in Canada can set up a Retirement Compensation Agreement (RCA) and limit their tax liability to a flat 20%. With sound tax advisors, a NHL player can actually pay the same or less tax in Canada than he will Florida or Vegas."

"2. The Mortgage Interest Deduction in the U.S. had been greatly reduced by latest tax reform," added Walsh. "The max deductible is annual mortgage interest on $750,000 of mortgage debt. That’s about a max $20,000 deduction, NOT $100,000."

"We have worked closely with players in literally saving them hundreds of thousands in taxes when playing for Canadian based NHL teams."

The debate over taxes will likely never die in the salary cap era. But Walsh's explanations, if sound, make it appear that a lot of it isn't really based in fact. There are other reasons players might choose to play in the southern United States over Canada. Climate, believe it or not, can be a huge factor. A player can spend much more time hanging out at the beach in Florida than they could in Winnipeg or Montreal.

SEPTEMBER 20, 2020  (10H23)