While the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks faced some serious salary cap hurdles this summer, they’re both in fine shape now. Even the Boston Bruins seem like they might be OK thanks to Marc Savard’s concussion problems.
The one team that faces the biggest challenge is the New Jersey Devils. Rich Chere discussed the Devils’ challenging situation for the Newark Star-Ledger today.
The Devils must be under the $59.4 million payroll cap by 3 p.m. Wednesday, two days before they open the regular season against the Dallas Stars. There are some obvious moves general manager Lou Lamoriello can make and a few less obvious.
Defensemen Bryce Salvador ($2.9 million cap hit) and Anssi Salmela ($612, 500 cap hit) will almost certainly be placed on long-term injured reserve. Salvador has a concussion and Salmela is recovering from knee surgery.
But that won’t be enough to get under the cap. Lamoriello must move one other player, either via a trade or waivers. It could come down to Zubrus or defenseman Colin White.
Moving Salvador and Salmela would move the Devils about Salmela’s salary under the cap, but putting both players on the long-term IR would only give them 19 players at the NHL level according to CapGeek’s numbers. They could probably just eek under the cap by rolling with an absolute minimum of 20 players (I’d guess they would have at or around $100K left over), but that’s a risky business in a league with so many injuries.
Chere breaks down the pros and cons of getting rid of Zubrus ($3.4 million) and White ($3 million). In summation, Zubrus might be easier to get rid of because he brings some skill to the table and lacks a no-trade clause while White would have to approve a trade but is well-liked in the locker room.
Chere thinks that Zubrus will be the one who sees the door, as you can see from his projected lineup.
Goalies (2): Martin Brodeur, Johan Hedberg
Defense (7): Henrik Tallinder, Andy Greene, Anton Volchenkov, Colin White, Mark Fraser, Matt Corrente, Alex Urbom
Forwards (13): Zach Parise, Travis Zajac, Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, Jason Arnott, David Clarkson, Brian Rolston, Jacob Josefson, Jamie Langenbrunner, Rod Pelley, Adam Mair, P.L. Letourneau-Leblond, Mattias Tedenby
Long-term IR: Bryce Salvador, Anssi Salmela
What would you do if you were Devils GM Lou Lamoriello? Besides reaching for the Advil, of course …