Bridge contracts have often been back-loaded in the past to ensure a higher starting point for a qualifying offer.  For example, a player making $2.5MM in year one and $3MM in year two would have a qualifying offer of $3MM.

That element was used more liberally last summer with several players taking significantly lower payments up front to crank up the salary in the final year to yield a higher qualifier down the road.  San Jose’s Timo Meier is the most notable of those as he has a $6MM AAV on his four-year deal but a $10MM salary in the final season that becomes the required offer to retain his services (barring an early extension beforehand).