Archive for the ‘Salary cap’ 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.
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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.

We feel kinda bad now: Chicago fires Tallon

July 14, 2009
Mirtle used this photo first, but we had to use it because of the obvious foreshadowing.

So far, we’ve seen posts from Second City Hockey, St. Louis Game Time, Puck Daddy and James Mirtle regarding the firing of Dale Tallon. After waking up from a profoundly bizarre nightmare, let’s leave it at that right now. Perhaps we’ll update this with a more extensive round-up/link dump if the hockey blogosphere justifies it.

Obviously, the excuse for firing him was the QO debacle (perhaps we should call it FedEx-gate?), but next season is one of the most pivotal in Blackhawks’ history and the decisions they make will have an impact on the next decade. They might as well go with the guy(s) many assumed were inevitably going to be in charge anyway.

It will be an interesting story to follow and no doubt about it: the Blackhawks are, at the moment, the story of this summer.

For the hell of it, here are our posts regarding Chicago’s salary cap situation:

Losing Kane, Keith or Toews: a crushing inevitability.
Bashing the Hossa signing.
The Blackhawks’ salary cap situation looked worrisome as early as mid-March

What if the NHL instituted a luxury tax?

July 13, 2009
Stern: “Bettman’s on the phone again? Aw, not again … “

So, we are 99.99 percent sure that the CBA prohibits the institution of a luxury tax, but let’s just dream for a minute that Gary Bettman could justify his massive salary by stumbling upon a magic loophole.

Seeing that marquee franchises in Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York, Detroit and even San Jose will feel a considerable pinch going into the 2010-11, the league declares a “state of emergency” for the cap with the solution of instituting a luxury tax so that teams could exceed the ceiling. (At a huge price, of course).

Now, instead of wondering who the Hawks would have to move to accomodate the re-signing of Kane, Toews and Keith, the hockey world would ask: are the Blackhawks willing to fork over the dough to make it happen? It would be a godsend for hockey bloggers/pundits/message board trolls and a great way to allow money making franchises to keep their rosters together.

The best part, though, is how the league could potentially use the extra cash to benefit everyone. Let’s daydream for a moment:

  • The league creates a “luxury tax” pool each season. They pledge to use every dime to purchase high-end advertising spots during events such as the Super Bowl and American Idol. Also, more money could be spent to publicize the Stanley Cup Finals and Winter Classic.

  • Maybe the league could pump that money into moving the “NHL on the Fly” broadcasts from what seems to be a broom closet to … what’s that called again? Oh, right, a studio. It would also be nice if the NHL Network stopped playing the same Capitals-Rangers game on an endless loop, now that you mention it.
  • Since Bettman clearly will not take any egg on his face/acknowledge economic realities regarding the Phoenix Coyotes scenario, the league could use luxury tax money to take care of the ‘Yotes debts and pay Wayne Gretzky buckets of money to exist/coach a team that has never made the playoffs under his tutleage.
  • Perhaps they could lend Versus a little money to get Brian Engblom a haircut* and produce a freakin’ highlight show already.

  • Put the luxury tax money to good use by helping families who cannot afford hockey equipment. Or better yet, donate it to charity or to retired players’ pension funds.
  • Use the money to revamp the city of Edmonton, so Dany Heatley can continue his pampered existence without any fear of bad weather, the ghosts of his past or backchecking.
  • Bribe Pierre McGuire to just go away. Please.

What would YOU want the league to do with extra cash if they could receive luxury tax money?

* – I think he actually DID get a slightly better hair cut this year, but are you going to complain about seeing this photo?

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!)

Losing one (or more) of Kane, Toews, Keith: a crushing inevitability for the Blackhawks

July 7, 2009

Editor’s note: This post runs really long and might have some inexact math. The major point, though, is that the Blackhawks have painted themselves into an astonishing corner. It is legitimately difficult to imagine them holding onto two of Kane, Toews and Keith.

If they do keep all three, it will require the Hawks to deal with a stunning lack of depth.

Feel free to prove us wrong and point out mistakes. We expect this post to be a crucial part of how we look at this scenario.

And, obviously, we hope you find it interesting.

***

The Chicago Blackhawks horror show salary cap situation keeps dominating our thoughts as the story of the free agency week. Quite a few share our “WTF are they thinking?” train of thought, but many others have voiced their disagreements with our apparent Chicken Little outlooks.

With all that in mind, we decided to break this situation down in various ways. We think you’ll eventually acknowledge the obvious: this is one mind bogglingly screwed up salary cap situation.

First, we’ll look at the Chicago Blackhawks cap commitments in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Keep in mind these will be CURRENT, without any TALLON MAGIC. (Sorry, We’ll try to limit our sarcasm).

Then we’ll list players by their trade-ability. After all, Tallon will have to make moves if he’d like to keep … you know, the two kids who turned his franchise around.

Finally, we’ll look at a few hypothetical situations. Since we’re laying out everything but the Blackhawks’ prospect contracts, feel free to assemble your own panic soaked Chicago Blackhawks roster!

(We used CapGeek.com for calculations and NHLSCAP.com to double check RFA/UFA statuses)

Chicago Blackhawks 2009-10 Roster/Cap Commitments

Forwards

Marian Hossa: $5,233,333
Patrick Sharp: $3,900,000
Dave Bolland: $3,375,000
Dustin Byfuglien: $3,000,000
John Madden: $2,750,000
Andrew Ladd: $1,550,000
Tomas Kopecky: $1,200,000
Troy Brouwer: $1,025,000
Ben Eager: $965,000
Patrick Kane: $875,000
Jonathan Toews: $850,000
Jack Skille: $850,000
Adam Burish: $712,500
Colin Fraser: $700,000

Defense

Brian Campbell: $7,142,875
Brent Seabrook: $3,500,000
Cam Barker: $3,083,333
Brent Sopel: $2,333,333
Duncan Keith: $1,475,000
Niklas Hjalmarsson: $643,333

Goalies

Cristobal Huet: $5,625,000
Antti Niemi: $892,500

Numbers

ROSTER SIZE: 22
SALARY CAP: $56,800,000
PAYROLL (without bonuses): $52,137,207
CAP ROOM: $4,662,793

Salary Cap Commitments for 2010-11

Forwards

Marian Hossa: $5,233,333
Patrick Sharp: $3,900,000
Dave Bolland: $3,375,000
Dustin Byfuglien: $3,000,000
Tomas Kopecky: $1,200,000

Defense

Brian Campbell: $7,142,875
Brent Seabrook: $3,500,000
Cam Barker: $3,083,333
Brent Sopel: $2,333,333

Goalie

Cristobal Huet: $5,625,000

Numbers

ROSTER SIZE: 10
SALARY CAP: $56,800,000
PAYROLL: $38,848,874
CAP ROOM: $17,951,126

OK, now let’s look at the guys Chicago would likely TRY to move (with snarky category titles!)

Highly movable:

Sharp ($3.9 million)
Byfuglien ($3 million)
Seabrook ($3.5 million)

You JUST SIGNED him!

Bolland ($3.375 million)
Barker ($3.08 million)

Gainey-bait:

Huet ($5.625 million)
Sopel ($2.33 million)
Campbell ($7.1 million)

***

OK, so there’s hypothetical situation #1: The Blackhawks don’t move salary, but manage to sign Kane, Toews and Keith for a dream scenario $13.5 million. Oh, and the Salary Cap doesn’t drop at all (snickers).

Forwards: Hossa – Kane – Toews – Fugly – Sharp – Bolland – Kopecky – 5 minimum wage forwards

Defense: Keith – Campbell – Barker – Sopel – Seabrook – minimum wage defenseman

Goalies: Huet – Minimum wage netminder

Numbers:

ROSTER SIZE: 13
SALARY CAP: $56,800,000
PAYROLL: $52,348,874
CAP ROOM: $4,451,126
CAP ROOM PER OPEN SPOT: $445,113

(Note: the Blackhawks would probably still have to find a way to get rid of Sopel to make that work)

Hypothetical situation #2: The Cap drops to $50 million. Kane-Toews-Keith agree to a combined $13.5 million out of the bottoms of their bottomless hearts.

a) They would start over a $50 million cap to begin with, so they banish Brent Sopel to Salary Cap hell. (Again)

b) The NHL’s minimum salary will be about $500,000. That number could be very important to Mr. Tallon around July 2010.

c) We would assume the Blackhawks would need to keep/wouldn’t be able to trade:

Hossa, Kane, Bolland, Toews, Seabrook, Keith, Barker. For the sake of sanity, they’d probably keep Kopecky to make Hossa happy or some dopey shit.

d) So, if the Blackhawks lived in a dream world in which they could rid themselves of Brian Campbell, Cristobal Huet, Dustin Byfuglien and Patrick Sharp …

… while signing Kane, Toews AND Keith to trio of bargain contracts …

They would have five forwards and three defensemen for $30 million. This would give them $20 million to fill (at the minimum) seven forward spots, three defensemen and two goalies. To ice a hockey team, they would have approximately $1.67 million per roster spot.

Without a goalie. Without even two full lines of forwards or defense.

This is if the Blackhawks unload a murderer’s row of idiotic contracts.

Even if this situation played out with the current cap, they’d have $2.16 million per open spot.

And this the DREAM scenario.

We don’t know what else can convince you. Go play around at CapGeek.com and see if you can find a way to explain how the Blackhawks aren’t mortgaging their future. Seriously, we’ll gladly eat crow if it means that there is some order restored to the universe.

***

Every team pushing the cap this year will have some serious headaches if the salary cap drops. Especially if it drops by $6 million. The Chicago Blackhawks, however, are mavericks.

They insist on struggling even if the cap DOESN’T drop.

Time for us to get some Advil.

Bargain contract "bank"

May 24, 2009

To make your salary cap “team building” easier, here’s a “bank” of good contracts. Team-by-team. If your team isn’t represented, lobby to get the GM fired. All cap numbers from NHLSCAP.com. Keep in mind that rookies are not listed. (See my Salary Cap Dream Team post for more details)

Anaheim
Ryan Getzlaf (on my team): $5.33 million
Corey Perry: $5.33 million
Teemu Selanne: $2.63 million

Atlanta
Todd White:
$2.38 million
I assume Bryan Little is on his rookie contract. Is that right?

Boston
Marc Savard:
$5 million
Aaron Ward: $2.5 million
Andrew Ference (on my team): $1.4 million

Buffalo
Derek Roy: $4 million

Calgary
David Moss:
$1.3 million
Craig Conroy (on my team): $1.05 million
Robyn Regehr (on my team): $4 million
Rene Bourque: $1.35 million

Carolina
Cam Ward: $2.67 million

Chicago
Dustin Byfuglien:
$3 million

Colorado
Milan Hejduk:
$3.9 million
Marek Svatos: $2.05 million

Columbus
Antoine Vermette:
$2.76 million

Dallas
Mike Ribeiro: $5 million
Steve Ott
(on my team): $1.43 million
Toby Petersen
(on my team): .5 million
Stephane Robidas (on my team): $1.5 million
Trevor Daley: $2.3 million

Detroit
Chris Osgood:
$1.42 million
Johan Franzen: $3.95 million
Tomas Holmstrom: $2.23 million
Kris Draper: $1.58 million
Daniel Cleary: $2.8 million
Henrik Zetterberg: $6.01 million
Pavel Datsyuk: $6.7 million

Edmonton
Ales Hemsky
(on my team): $4.1 million
Ethan Moreau: $2 million

Florida
Nathan Horton: $4 million
Stephen Weiss: $3.1 million

Los Angeles
Dustin Brown
(on my team): $3.18 million
Alex Frolov: $2.9 million

Minnesota
Mikko Koivu
: $3.25 million
Brent Burns: $3.5 million
Nick Schultz: $3.5 million

Montreal
Andrei Markov:
$5.75 million

Nashville

Jordin Tootoo: just under $1 million
Ryan Suter: $3.5 million
Dan Hamhuis: $2 million
(Is Dan Ellis still in a rookie contract?)

New Jersey

Zach Parise (on the team): $3.1 million
Jamie Langenbrunner: $2.8 million
Jay Pandolfo: $2.5 million
Martin Brodeur: $5.25 million

NY Islanders
Doug Weight:
$2.2 million

NY Rangers
Sean Avery
: (waiver discount) $1.94 million

Ottawa
Anton Volchenkov:
$2.5 million
Alex Auld (on the team): $1 million

Philadelphia
Mike Richards
(on the team): $5.7 million

Phoenix
Shane Doan:
$4.55 million
Matthew Lombardi: $1.82 million
Ilya Bryzgalov: $4.25 million

Pittsburgh
Tyler Kennedy
(on the team): $725,000
Max Talbot: $1.05 million

San Jose
Marc Edouard Vlasic
(on the team): $3.1 million
Douglas Murray: $2.5 million

St. Louis

David Backes: $2.5 million
Chris Mason: $3 million

Tampa Bay
Martin St. Louis:
$5.25 million
Adam Hall: $.6 million

Toronto
Tomas Kaberle: $4.25 million
Niklas Hagman: $3 million

Vancouver
Ryan Kesler (on the team): $1.75 million
Alex Burrows (on the team): $2 million
Steve Bernier: $2 million

Washington
Alex Semin:
$4.6 million
John Erskine: $1.25 million
Mike Green: $5.25 million

A salary cap Dream Team

May 23, 2009

A couple nights ago, I couldn’t sleep. So instead of doing something productive I decided to put together the best plausible team using only players with good contracts. During that process, it became obvious that rookie contracts made it way too easy. With that in mind, the team would only be allowed to consist of players on their second contract and on.

This is that imaginary roster. One other important caveat: No Detroit Red Wings. It’s obvious to me the Red Wings are going to win another damn Cup, so it also became a matter of seeing if it was possible to put a better roster together without one Winged Wheel.

Ken Holland, feel free to stare at a painting of yourself right now.

(Oh, and if you’re interested, feel free to leave your own salary cap team in the comments or an e-mail. Remember, the following are prohibited:

1. Red Wings

2. Rookies (so no Patrick Kane or Steve Mason, you cheating bastards)

Also, big contract guys like Chris Pronger are allowed but frowned upon. You don’t want to be frowned upon, do you?

OH, and I excluded guys with expiring contracts too. Not so easy now, is it. Is it?)

ANYWAY, here’s the team in pseudo “line by line” form with my third grade math at no extra charge:

First Line Offense

Daniel Alfredsson (approx $4.9 million); Ryan Getzlaf (approx $5.4 million); Zach Parise (approx $3.1 million)

Is it crazy to think that this would be the best line in the NHL?

On one hand, you have a guy who at times was unstoppable even against Nicklas Lidstrom and the San Jose Sharks in Ryan Getzlaf. He’s big, mean, has a crazy reach and sublime passing skills. Oh, and the guy already was a vital cog in the Ducks Cup run a couple years ago.

Just take a look at Ryan Getzlaf’s stats in 08-09: (91 points in 81 regular season games; 18 points in 13 playoff games)

As great as Getzlaf was, Zach Parise has the best contract in the NHL going forward. A deadly combination of pure scoring (5th in the NHL in points) and goal scoring (third in the league with 45), Parise exploded onto the scene this season. He also managed a solid run in the playoffs.

To round that jaw-dropping first line, we have Alf. Say what you want about his reputation for playoff struggles (and that incident in the SCF when he slapped a puck at Scott Niedermayer), he’s an unreal player at the sub-$5 million mark. He was the defensively responsible superstar when lining up with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley, so backing up Getzlaf-Parise wouldn’t be an alien task for the talented Swede.

“Second” line

Mike Richards($5.7 million); Ales Hemsky ($4.1 million); Dustin Brown ($3.1 million)

Mike Richards (80 points) and Ales Hemsky (66 points in shortened season) are two front-line players who would make life miserable for middle pairing D while Dustin Brown would provide a menacing level of physicality (he’s been a league leader in hitting before). Richards can bring the pain AND score, making him a less despicable heir to Bobby Clarke‘s throne as a prototypical Flyers forward.

Richards is also an absolute terror on the PK. It’s too bad he’s a Flyer, really.

Third line

Ryan Kesler ($1.75 million); Steve Ott ($1.4 million); Alex Burrows ($2 million)

Kesler is a nominee for the Selke. Ott and Burrows both showed they are guys who can be more than pests this season. Once 2009 came around, Ott managed 37 points in 44 games. Burrows scored 28 goals without getting a whiff of powerplay time. If you can find a better trio of elbow grease forwards for about $5 million, then well done sir or ma’am.

Fourth Line

Craig Conroy($1 million); Tyler Kennedy ($700,000+); Toby Petersen (.5 million)

One thing this team might lack is “experience.” As overrated as that might be, getting a popular veteran forward like Conroy seems like it would make a lot of sense. Plus, if this theoretical team faces an imaginary injury, Conroy’s shown that he can slide into those higher spots in the roster without missing a beat.

Kennedy is a very, very nice fourth-line player. He frequently makes the right moves and occasionally helps dominate a cycling game with Jordan Staal during the playoffs. He’s not a star, but he’s a guy who can make things happen for a great price.

Petersen is a plugger who will show the willingness to kill penalties. Maybe.

Defense

Marc Edouard Vlasic($3.1 million); Shea Weber ($4.5 million)
Robyn Regehr ($4 million); Stephane Robidas ($1.5 million)
Kyle Quincey ($.5 million); Andrew Ference ($1.4 million)

Total cost of defense (rounded up): $15.1 million

With all that was spent on offense, there still was a pretty good defense that came about. Vlasic is a smart, solid defenseman for a bargain price. Weber has a booming shot, a nice mean streak and a high ceiling. Regehr can be the Scott Stevens of the group, hurting people on a regular basis. Robidas is a nice budget D to put in your top-4. Quality offensive defensemen tend to be expensive, but Kyle Quincey can be a solid guy for a cheap price. Andrew Ference is another solid, inexpensive puck moving defenseman.

Maybe the group lacks an obvious leader but it is versatile, mean and affordable.

Goaltending

Cam Ward($2.67 million); Alex Auld ($1 million)

Auld is there because he’s a solid backup. Nothing more, nothing less.

Cam Ward has a great bargain of a contract. He’s won a Cup, he’s having a great run in the playoffs this year and generally has shown an ability to handle the workload of a No. 1 goalie. You cannot ask much more for a sub-$3 million goalie.

***

So, there’s the best team I could put together under those restrictions. It came in under $54 million, giving a couple million for wiggle room with healthy scratches and such.

Now, it’s your turn. Which players would you put on your salary cap All-Star team?