Since the signing of Cory Conacher to a one-way contract, there’s been fans asking about if that means he’ll definitely be in the NHL. It seems that there is still some misconceptions about the differences between one-way and two-way contracts.

It’s actually pretty simple.

One-way contracts mean that the player will get the same salary weather they are in the NHL or the AHL. Conacher will make $575,000 no matter how much time he spends in the AHL verses the NHL. While it is true that Conacher would require waivers to go to the AHL, that is not impacted by his contract. Instead, that is the result of his age, his service time in the NHL, and time since signing his first NHL contract.

Two-way contracts mean that the player makes a different salary when he’s playing in the AHL than his NHL salary. Generally that AHL salary is significantly less than the NHL minimum salary requirements. While this is mostly used for players that will spend a significant time in the AHL, that’s not always true either. Entry Level Contracts are always two-way deals.

Often times, there is also guaranteed money included in two-way contracts for veteran minor leaguers. Take Luke Witkowski as an example. While in the NHL, his salary is $575,000, but while he is in the AHL, it will only be $200,000. However, according to General Fanager, he is guaranteed to make $225,000. If Witkowski does not spend enough time in the NHL to earn that extra $25,000 this year, he will be paid it at the end of the year.

To sum it up… One-way contract means the same salary in the NHL and AHL. Two-way contract means different salary in the NHL and AHL. It’s really that simple.