This is going to be a very interesting time for a number of the NHL teams as they try to figure out how to get back in good standing with the salary cap.
There are nine teams that will face cap penalties ranging from $50,000 to $4.1 million due to performance bonuses from the 2009-10 season.
And yes, the Vancouver Canucks are amongst these.
This causes a reduction in this seasons cap space which, in turn, will raises the question: who will be on the trading block or placed on waivers?
No wonder there is no urgency for teams to sign the glut of RFA’s. Soon, there may be better players to choose from with all the NHL teams must be under the cap by the start of the season.
Look for the available players in some cases to be carrying hefty contracts that only teams with large cap space can accommodate.
Also, unless these available players are tradeable (without a no trade clause) this is going to really throw a wrench into trying to move them.
With that in mind, let’s have a look at the teams and who might have to be moved to get under the cap.
These days it seems like you pay a huge penalty for winning the Stanley Cup as this team is going to resemble a shell of the winning group.
The Hawks have already lost seven players from last year’s team, have only 17 players signed, and face a $4.1M penalty.
Talk about having to come up with some creative accounting.
They are really hamstrung with a couple of contracts that are just too large to manage.
Brian Campbell, with his $7.1 million signed trough to 2015-16, is way too expensive. Who ever proposed this contract should have his head examined.
Chritobal Huet at $5.6 million (till 2011-12) is a backup now that Anti Niemi looks like the starter. Who is going to take him off Chicago’s hands?
Currently, $1.01 million over the cap.
$1.7 million penalty, have 19 players signed, and have $587,229 cap space.
Except with Zdeno Chara’s $7.5 million I would say that Boston has done a good job of keeping their players salaries under a manageable level.
Tim Thomas and his $5 million salary (till 2012-13) is another goaltender that seems to have lost his starting job to not only a better player in Tuukka Rask, but a much lower paid one also.
Another obstacle—unless the Bruins can shed the Tim Thomas contract some other salary in either Marc Savard ($4 million) or Patrice Bergeron—$4.7 million might have to be addressed.
$1.4 million penalty, $1.1 million cap space with 22 players signed.
It has been well publicized that the Leafs are trying to trade Tomas Kaberle along with his $4.2 million contract. This makes sense since he is a UFA after the 2010-11 season.
This would allow Toronto some operating room under the cap with the possibility of adding another lower priced player.
The Leafs better hope the J.S. Gigure, with the $6 million they are paying him, has an outstanding 40 plus game winning year.
From here on in, the amounts are more manageable for the teams listed.
$354,500 penalty and $13.3 million cap space with 22 players signed.
The Oilers have five entry level players (Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle included) with contracts. This means that unless these were all signed to one way deals and are guaranteed, they would only count against the cap if they played in Edmonton.
Look for them to add some available players if these entry level players are not ready for the big leagues.
$327,500 penalty and $6.1 million cap space with 18 players signed.
It makes sense that the Sharks would be interested in adding a defenseman, like the Canucks Kevin Bieksa. Their back-end is really limited with six D-men signed and one entry level player in Jason Demers.
San Jose has only seven forwards signed along with two entry level players.
You do the math. Even if the two entry level players (Logan Couture and Jamie McGinn) make the team, they still need three more forwards to form another line.
Here’s a team that has four players making $28 million. Three of these players (Heatley, Marleau and Pavelski) are signed through the end of the 2013-14.
It should be interesting to see how they deal with the fourth member - Joe Thornton ($7.2 million) who becomes a UFA at the end of 2010-11.
$90,000 penalty and $358,333 OVER the cap space with 23 players signed.
This is going to be a big task to get under the cap.
The above numbers do not take into consideration the arbitration award that will come about with Mason Raymond. Also, there's the possibility of Cody Hodgson making the team and bringing his contract.
This could be helped a bit if the Canucks are able to make a deal with Kevin Bieksa.
This is a team that looks ready to take a run at getting past the second round of the playoffs and challenge for a Stanley Cup berth.
After the 2010-11 season they can then deal with the five D-men that will become UFA’s. For now, they just need to add a couple of more pieces at forward to the third line and still remain under the cap.
They could also unload Darcy Hordichuk and Rick Rypien.
They could send them to the minors however if they're picked up on waivers coming back up they would still be on the hook for half their salaries.
Good luck with all this Mr. Gillis.
$83,979 penalty and $2.1 million cap space with 20 players signed
The Pens went out in the free agent market and added two significant defensemen in Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek along with an additional $9 million.
Now what do they do?
They only have six D-men under contract and it is apparent that most teams need at least eight or nine.
They’re surely not going to trade Malkin or Crosby both at $8.7 million. So where does this reduction take place?
Jordan Staal ($4 million)...no, you wouldn’t think so.
$86,751 penalty and $4.7 million cap space with 20 players signed.
Carey Price does not factor into these numbers yet, so that cap space is going to be sliced down even more by at least one half to three quarters.
Four players that total $23 million are signed through to the end of 2013-14.
I would say out of the four, Scott Gomez and his $7.3 million would be something to part with.
But, who is going to pay that price for a player that only scored 58 and 59 points respectfully in the last two seasons?
Something is got to give.
$50,000 penalty and $3.2 million cap space with 21 players signed
This is an older team that has four players at 35 plus, with an average team age of 31.
Fortunately, they also have a young inexpensive starting goaltender (Jimmy Howard) signed at $716,666.
It’s now or never for the Wings led by a number of veterans and some very good players.
Make no mistake, this team will be in the Stanley Cup hunt if healthy.
Twelve forwards and seven defensemen are under contract. With a little cap space left over they just need to tweak the line-up with a few more depth players that are going to be affordable as time goes on.
I don’t see anyone leaving this team to make more cap space. Unless, it were a player of equal ability and salary numbers.