New Jersey Devils: 17 Better Ways to Spend $102 Million
While the Devils battle to prove the sincerity of their contract with star winger Ilya Kovalchuk, it could prove wise to consider other alternatives before latching on to Kovalchuk all the way through 2028.
So without further ado, here are 17 ways to utilize the pile of cash and salary cap space soon to belong to the paper tiger.
1-5. Give Parise a Godfather Deal
It seems like Lou Lamoriello has decided to finally keep a star player in the organization by making Kovy this ridiculous offer.
However, the real offensive star and face of the organization, Zach Parise, worthy at least five of the 17 reasons alone, will be up for a hefty raise the Devils may not be able to give him.
The exodus of homegrown talent would be nothing new; in factm it has become a tradition.
Parise has proven he doesn't shy from the spotlight and thrives in a team-first philosophy.
His scoring happens within the system and he doesn't require a major chunk of ice time that disrupts necessary continuity of the line pairings.
And Kovalchuk also plays the same position as Parise, meaning that Kovalchuk becomes an overpaid second line winger.
As we all know, anytime you get a chance to pay a second-line player huge cash until he is 44, you have to do it. RIght?
Why not offer Parise a 10-year, $59 million deal? He deserves it and he would also be happy that his deal didn't inhibit the team's ability to contend on a yearly basis.
6. Maintain Flexibility
Let's think outside the box and maintain flexibility to add players and acquire assets to take on other team's bad contracts.
Considering how the NHL is going, this could be a smart play to take a page out the book of the few intelligent NBA GMs and acquire assets to take on their bad contracts.
This plan will work well, but would be more likely after Marty hangs 'em up.
It would still be prudent to not latch the team to player until hoverboards become a reality.
Flexibility under the cap will become a valued commodity and it would behoove Lou to get down with it early.
7-10. Re-sign Key Players
The $6 million annually could be divvied up amongst several key players to establish stability.
Heck, the contracts could be staggered and none of them would last way into a future like Kovy's potentially franchise-killing pact.
In this group, we find the captain, Jamie Langenbrunner. His effect on the team has been great and he leads by example. Many on the team follow him, playing hard on both ends.
Other players due for raises in the near future: Andy Greene, Jay Pandolfo, Vladimir Zharkov, and Mark Fraser.
11-15. The Deadweight They Already Carry
Total: $22.2 million or 37 percent of the salary cap
This glut of salary belongs to, in order, Patrik Elias, Brian Rolston, Dainius Zubrus, Anton Volchenkov, and Henrik Tallinder.
These players are not without value, but each of them are overpaid in a way that will prevent the Devils from moving them in future deals or signing other players to improve their postseason success.
It would be hard to argue any of these players are worth their cap figure.
(Side note: Is Lou Lamoriello not aware of how to work within the cap? It feels like he gives big contracts to role players who would never get that much elsewhere.)
16. Sign Bobby Ryan
Bobby Ryan carries a heavy cost since the Devils would have to turn over three draft picks if they signed this young stud.
Ryan, 23, is still coming into the prime of his career and could form hockey's best line with Zach Parise and Travis Zajac. They could be a premier line for the next decade.
That would allow the Devils to carry less expensive secondary scorers and could help them spread their spending to have greater flexibility entering trade deadlines and free agency.
17. Trade for Dustin Byfuglien
Dustin Byfuglien was the reason that Chicago hoisted the Stanley Cup. Unfortunately, he was a victim of Chicago's poor planning and lack of knowledge about the salary cap.
Byfuglien could have fetched much more and his ability to play multiple positions increase his value.
But his true value was his Robert Horry-esque performance in the playoffs. It was like no one saw him coming and he just bowled over his inferior counterpart.
If the Devils could swing a deal, they could pair him with Zubrus and Elias, or with Parise and Zajac, or with Langenbrunner and Clarkson. That final pairing would make other teams ache from the bruises that they anticipate receiving.