Archive for the ‘July 2010 aka salary cap judgment day’ Category

The Boston Bruins in "How to Go From Cap Catastrophe to Potential Dynasty in Two Easy Trades"

October 19, 2009

Brian Burke: architect of the cap-friendliest contending teams in the NHL (Anaheim and … uh, Boston, indirectly)
At first, it seemed like the Bruins were as hapless as a 13-year old trying to unhook a bra in the dark. In my preview, I criticized the Bruins for basically giving up on Phil Kessel … for Derek Morris. Even if that was a case of obvious oversimplification, my question was: what were the Boston Bruins doing?

Perhaps it came down to a simple decision of Marc Savard over Phil Kessel.
Either way, the Bruins have parlayed Kessel and now Chuck Kobasew into an intriguing bounty of draft picks and cap relief.
Boston Gives Up
Kessel (to Toronto)
Kobasew (to Minnesota)
Boston Gains
2 First Round Picks (Toronto in ’10 and ’11)
2 Second Round Picks (Toronto in ’10 and Minnesota in ’11)
Craig Weller
Alex Fallstrom
$2.3 million in cap space
As others pointed out, the Bruins probably moved Kobasew to make room for Savard, Blake Wheeler and other valuable free agents (restricted and otherwise).
What this really does is give the Bruins the opportunity to “re-load” with quality depth while most other playoff-caliber teams will begin to hemorrhage supporting cast members. Especially if the cap ceiling plummets for the 2010-11 season.

With Kobasew gone and deals like Morris’ set to expire, the prospects of the Bruins re-signing Savard (above) and Wheeler are looking much brighter.

Some have said that the Maple Leafs’ staggering ineptitude may not continue, but realistically what is the ceiling for Toronto this year (or even next)? The fact of the matter is that these aren’t just draft picks, they might be top-10 or even top 5 draft picks. It’s not every day that the top seed in the Eastern Conference could end up with two potential lottery picks that didn’t result from a regular season free fall.

Just look at the situations of similarly talented – and cap challenged – teams going into next summer.
A major problem with the Blackhawks salary structure is that there’s a glaring lack of cheap talent. While the Penguins have some extremely expensive stars, they also have cheap role players like Max Talbot and Tyler Kennedy.
Now obviously high draft picks take some time to translate to useful NHLers and some never pan out at all. But by adding a handful of top quality picks in years when the Bruins would normally be drafting in the bottom 10, Boston is sitting fairly pretty in a cap world full of uncertainty. They can stick with those draft picks and try to find roster talent for the future or trade picks for other quality parts.
The point is, they have options. That’s something that Chicago, San Jose and many other cap conflicted teams will envy next summer.
Advertisements

San Jose joins Chicago in the "Now or Never Club"

September 13, 2009

The bleak salary cap future for San Jose and Chicago … without an anti-semite to save them
Should FTF go from “Fear the Fin” to “Fuck the Future”?
It’s tough to avoid that question with San Jose’s bold trade of Dany Heatley and a 5th rounder for Jonathan Cheechoo, Milan Michalek and a 2nd-rounder. Certainly, it’s a smarter cap-based move than shipping Patrick Marleau to Ottawa because Patty M’s cap hit will dissolve after next season. Yet it begs the question: why exactly do the Sharks feel like the doomsday clock is approaching zero already?
Ever since the San Jose Sharks reached The Next Level after the Joe Thornton trade, the team kept getting older and older. The team seems to keep producing young talent, only to ship them out in favor of guys who – while often superior – are getting a little longer in the tooth.
Steve Bernier, Matt Carle, Michalek and many others have been shuttled out to make room for Rob Blake, Dan Boyle and other expensive veterans. Again, it hasn’t always been the wrong move but old over new is a trend that ultimately caught up with the Colorado Avalanche and might (evenutally? maybe?) catch up with Detroit.
Going forward, the Sharks have three extremely big contracts: Thornton ($7.2 million per year through 2010-11); Heatley ($7.5 million through 2013-14) and Dan Boyle (with his satanic $6.66 million through 2013-14). Now – don’t get me wrong – I’d rather shell out about $21 million for Heatley-Thornton-Boyle instead of wasting almost $13 million on the Cristobal HuetBrian Campbell shit sandwich.

After all, Heatley is absolutely the real deal. Anyone who thinks he will be a “bust” is allowing their (understandably negative) feelings get in the way of the fact that Heatley is absolutely one of the top five goal scorers in the league. He could genuinely flirt with joining Alex Ovechkin in the ultra-rare 60 Goal Club.

But what will become of San Jose’s depth?
Devin Setoguchi could be in line for a really nice raise if he puts up another feisty, 30-plus goal season. Joe Pavelski faces one more season in which he’ll be an underpaid gem, then he could see some really nice green. Even big contract guys like Evgeni Nabokov and Marleau will either need to be re-signed or replaced by comparable talent.
That being said, this trade makes Heatley an absolute top-10 fantasy hockey talent and re-establishes Jumbo Joe as a great guy to snag if you cannot get one of the Big Three.
It also will make San Jose one of the teams I’ll watch the most closely once the season starts. (Ah, the glories of Center Ice)
More than anything else, it’s going to be interesting as hell. Will the Sharks prosper from pushing all their chips to the middle of the table? Or will some bad metaphor gangsters break their knee caps after this Shaky Chemistry Gamble fails profoundly?
I can’t wait to find out.

As the Blackhawks turn OR The Young and the Reckless OR Don’t call them the Chicago Cabs

August 9, 2009
VS
I know that was the predictable photo to run, but c’mon.

Let me ask everyone: has any NHL team EVER had a crazier off-season than the Chicago Blackhawks?

Hearing the details of Patrick Kane‘s bizarre, alleged assault of a cab driver, it was hard to believe it wasn’t a joke at first. (It’s not a joke, is it?) The event as an alleged incident brings up plenty of questions:

Is there ANY way booze was not involved? What is pocket change to a guy who will earn more than $3 million in the 2009-10 season? Does EA boot him off the cover, like they did with Dany Heatley?*

Well, at least hockey players didn’t electrify dogs

* – Obviously, Heatley’s incident was way worse. But is getting arrested the EA NHL series’ answer to the Madden curse? Heatley, Eric Staal and now Kane. Just sayin’.

ANYWAY, it’s truly been a crazy summer for the Chicago Blackhawks franchise. Let’s look at the biggest stories/snafus/angry Tweets in chrono-illogical (like what I did there?) order.

  • A lot of people liked the Hossa signing, but who could defend Fax-gate? By not properly sending Kris Versteeg and Cam Barker qualifying offers, the cracks in the ‘Hawks foundation were starting to become undeniable.
  • Dale Tallon, the butt of many CLS jokes, gets fired. Fax-gate is more or less an excuse to promote Scotty Bowman’s son. I find out that maybe Tallon wasn’t the only one behind the BRILLIANT resurgence of the Blackhawks. (Sorry, Dale, I should have spread the snark)
Chicago’s omelette of sadness
  • In a watershed moment for social media, Martin Havlat badmouths the Blackhawks on Twitter. Apparently, the team owed more to a guy who earned his contract for exactly one season. The Blackhawks franchise now has enough egg on its face to make an omelette.
  • Hey, you know that already questionable Hossa signing? It gets better. Apparently, Hossa needed off-season shoulder surgery. He could miss up to 30 games in the very regular season they are risking everything for. Rumor has it, the team didn’t even require Hossa to take a physical. Notice a pattern yet?
  • And now the face of EA Sports’ hockey game … a guy who will represent USA Hockey … a #1 draft pick Patrick Kane is now in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

And there is still a solid amount of summer to go. What do the ‘Hawks have left for us?

I, for one, cannot wait to find out what happens next.

Pro-cap-stination Continued: Montreal to Washington

July 10, 2009

For a typically excessive explanation of this series and the first half of NHL teams, click here.

Basically, this post should serve as a guide for those Armchair GMs who want to daydream about their team capitalizing on the shortsighted team management of opposing builders. Each entry includes the team’s CURRENT cap commitments, the number of players listed/being considered on the pro roster, some of the bigger names/bigger cap hits under contract, a list of the crucial UFA/RFAs to re-sign and finally an educated guess regarding whether or not the team will be a buyer in July 2010.

Naturally, this is for nerdy fun and speculation. As we saw from Philadelphia and Chicago, a lot can change in a week … let alone a year. That being said, this might give you an idea of where your team may stand during SALARY CAP JUDGMENT DAY.

Montreal Canadiens
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: just under $42.5 million
Players under contract: 5 forwards, 6 D and no goalies
Noteworthy players: Gomez, Cammalleri, Gionta, Markov, Hamrlik, Spacek
Most important RFA/UFAs: Price,
Buyer potential: Mild buyer, depending on the cost of Price

Nashville Predators
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $32 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 3 D and no goalies
Noteworthy players: Arnott, Erat, Dumont, Legwand, Sullivan, Weber, Suter
Most important RFA/UFAs: Rinne
Buyer potential: Strong, budget permitting

New Jersey Devils
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $38 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 4 D and 1 goalie
Noteworthy players: Elias, Parise, Rolston, Brodeur, Oduya
Most important RFA/UFAs: Martin, Zajac (2009)
Buyer potential: Strong

New York Islanders
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $28-30 million (Throwing in a flippant Tavares cap hit estimate)
Players under contract: 5 forwards, 4 D and 2 goalies
Noteworthy players: Tavares, Ricky D, Rolo, Streit, Witt (teehee), Alexei Yashin’s enormous buyout
Most important RFA/UFAs: Okposo
Buyer potential: Strong

New York Rangers
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $44.5 million
Players under contract: 9 forwards, 3 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: Gaborik, Drury, Kotalik, Redden, Rosival, Lundqvist
Most important RFA/UFAs: Dubinsky (2009)
Buyer potential: Sellers, unless someone takes Drury/Redden/Rosival

Ottawa Senators
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment:
about $46.5 million WITH HEATLEY
Players under contract: 9 forwards, 2 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: Heatley, Spezza, Kovalev, Fisher, Alf, Kuba, Phillips, Leclaire, JAMES O’BRIEN (the one with talent)
Most important RFA/UFAs: Volchenkov, Foligno
Buyer potential: HEATLEY HEATLEY HEATLEY

“I’m so rone-ry …”

Philadelphia Flyers
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $45.7 million
Players under contract: 9 forwards, 3 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: Richards, Briere, Gagne, Carter, Hartnell, Timonen, Pronger, Carle
Most important RFA/UFAs: Emery(?), Coburn, Parent
Buyer potential: Treading water/Sellers

Phoenix Coyotes
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $30.6 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 4 D and 2 goalies
Noteworthy players: Doan, Turris, Breezy
Most important RFA/UFAs: Supporting players
Buyer potential: Depends on their budget/owner/locale

Pittsburgh Penguins
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $41 million
Players under contract: 10 forwards, 2 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Kunitz, Orpik, Fleury
Most important RFA/UFAs: Gonchar, Letang
Buyer potential: Treading water

San Jose Sharks
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $35 million
Players under contract: 4 forwards, 5 D and 0 goalies
Noteworthy players: Thornton, Michalek, Clowe, Cheech, Boyle, Vlasic, Ehrhoff
Most important RFA/UFAs: Marleau, Nabokov, Pavelski, Setoguchi,
Buyer potential: BIG Sellers?

St. Louis Blues
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $28 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 3 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: McDonald, Boyes, Brewer, Jackman
Most important RFA/UFAs: Johnson, Kariya, Perron, Mason
Buyer potential: Buyers

Tampa Bay Lightning
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: Somewhere between $36-40 million depending upon how Stamkos/Hedman count on the cap
Players under contract: 6 forwards, 4 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: Lecavalier, St. Louis, Malone, Hedman, Stamkos, Meszaros, Ohlund
Most important RFA/UFAs: meh
Buyer potential: Who knows?

Toronto Maple Leafs
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: About $31 million
Players under contract: 4 forwards, 5 D and 0 goalies
Noteworthy players: Blake, Hagman, Komisarek, Kaberle, Frenchie, Finger, Schenn
Most important RFA/UFAs: Toskala and the MONSTERRRAAWWRRR
Buyer potential: Buyers

Vancouver Canucks
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: About $31 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 4 D and 0 goalies
Noteworthy players: Weird looking ginger twins, three average D making $3 million, Burrows
Most important RFA/UFAs: ROBERTO LUONGO, Kesler
Buyer potential: Mild buyers?

Washington Capitals
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: About $36 million
Players under contract: 6 forwards, 5 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: OV, Green, Nylander’s unpopular contract, Poti, Varlamov
Most important RFA/UFAs: Semin, Backstrom
Buyer potential: Mild buyers, depending on RFAs

The beauty of pro-cap-stination (Anaheim to Minnesota)

July 9, 2009


To make this more manageable, we decided to break this post up into two posts. Today, we’ll cover the first half of the NH-aLphabet with Anaheim through Minnesota. Tomorrow, we’ll put up the rest. Eventually, we’ll probably merge the two for one mega post/reference point. Maybe.

We’ve hit the Chicago Blackhawks pretty hard lately, but don’t get us wrong: there are plenty of teams that will be sweating bullets come July 2010. In fact, there probably aren’t many quality teams who won’t feel the pinch if the cap plummets to $50 million as some have said.

Still, like an advantageous liquidator or a savvy pawn shop owner, one GM’s emotionally crippling loss could be another GM’s team-building gain.

Naturally, no GM worth his fancy necktie would admit to waiting ’til next year to scavenge the rotting carcasses of poorly structured teams. Yet, that’s the tantalizing potential scenario:

“Oh, so you want to get rid of an overpriced player? Sounds good. To whom should I address this seventh-road draft pick and deluxe set of luggage?”

The smart teams are doing one of three things:

1. Stockpiling good value contracts for younger players and 1-year deals for veterans (best example: Anaheim).

2. Despite being close to the cap ceiling, there are obvious “tiers” for the team and they are only giving their core guys big contracts (Pittsburgh and Detroit are doing a solid job of this, even if it forces some tough departures).

3. Licking their chops by amassing a ton of cap space and adding high-value, entry-level contracts through the draft (the New York Islanders might be the champions of this strategy if they’re smart).

OK, now that we’ve introduced the concept and discussed the generalities, let’s take a brief snapshot of each team’s 2010-2011 cap commitments to see if we can target some potential “buyers.” Naturally, a lot can change in a mere week let alone twelve months.

(Cap commitments came mostly from NHLSCAP.com, with CapGeek.com serving as the occasional pinch hitter. Both are great resources for cap info.)

Anaheim
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment:
just under $29 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 2 D and one goalie
Noteworthy players: Getzlaf, Perry, Giguere (probable trade), Whitney, Lupul
Most important RFA/UFAs: Ryan, Hiller
Buyer potential: Strong, budget permitting

Atlanta
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment:
just under $20 million
Players under contract: 3 forwards, 4 D, no goalies (Kari Lehtonen still needs to be re-signed)
Noteworthy players: Antropov, White, Enstrom, Hainsey, Bogosian
Most important RFA/UFAs: Lehtonen, ILYA KOVALCHUK, Kubina
Buyer potential: Strong, budget permitting

Boston
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment:
about $35 million
Players under contract: 5 forwards, 2 D and one goalie
Noteworthy players: Bergeron, Ryder, Krejci, Chara, Thomas, Wideman
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Kessel still not signed, MARC SAVARD, Lucic
Buyer potential: Seller

Buffalo
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $38 million
Players under contract: 6 forwards, 2 D and one goalie
Noteworthy players: Vanek, Pominville, Connolly, Roy, Miller, Rivet
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Support players
Buyer potential: Treading water or Seller

Calgary
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $42.8 million
Players under contract: 5 forwards, 5 D and two goalies
Noteworthy players: Iginla, Bouwmeester, Kipper, Phaneuf, Regehr, Langkow, Sarich
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Jokinen
Buyer potential: Treading water or Seller

Carolina
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $30 million
Players under contract: 8 forwards, 2 D and 0 goalies
Noteworthy players: Staal, Cole, Rod the Bod, Pitkanen,
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Ward, Whitney
Buyer potential: Mild Buyer or Treading water

Chicago
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $43 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 4 D and 2 goalies
Noteworthy players: Hossa, Campbell, Huet, Versteeg, Barker, Seabrook, Byfuglien, Sharp, Bolland, Sopel
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Kane, Toews, Keith
Buyer potential: Seller

Colorado
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $25 million
Players under contract: 4 forwards, 2 D and 1 goalie
Noteworthy players: Stastny, Smyth, Hannan, Lilies
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Hejduk
Buyer potential: Buyer

Columbus
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $34 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 3 D and 2 goalies
Noteworthy players: Nash, Mason, Umberger, Huselius, Commodore,
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Meh
Buyer potential: Buyer

Dallas
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $25 million
Players under contract: 4 forwards, 4 D and 0 goalies
Noteworthy players: Morrow, Richards, Ribeiro, Daley
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Turco, Eriksson, Ott, Neal
Buyer potential: Their owner might be having cash flow issues

Detroit
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $41.5 million
Players under contract: 8 forwards, 4 D and 2 goalies
Noteworthy players: Hank, Datsyuk, Franzen, Rafalski, blah blah they’re still loaded
Most Important RFA/UFAs: LIDSTROM
Buyer potential: Treading water/mild BUYERS???

Edmonton
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $43 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 4 D and 1 goalie
Noteworthy players: Horcoff, Penner, Bulin Wall, Hemsky, Lubo, Souray, Gilbert
Most Important RFA/UFAs: The dudes Edmonton tried to trade for Dany Heatley, other supporting cast members
Buyer potential: Treading water/mild Sellers(?)

Florida
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $45 million
Players under contract: 9 forwards, 4 D and 2 goalies
Noteworthy players: Booth, Horton, McCabe, Vokoun, Ballard, Weiss
Most Important RFA/UFAs: not really
Buyer potential: Treading water

Los Angeles (this one might need some double-checking, admittedly)
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $41 million
Players under contract: 9 forwards, 4 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: Brown, Kopitar, Smyth, Handzus, Doughty, Scuderi
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Frolov,
Buyer potential: Buyer

Minnesota
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $32 million
Players under contract: 6 forwards, 2 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: Havlat, PMB, Koivu, Burns, Schultz, Backstrom
Most Important RFA/UFAs: CLUTTERBUCK, Zidlicky
Buyer potential: Mild Buyer

(The rest on Friday!)