Tag: salary cap circumvention

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders

Darren Dreger: Penguins might want to trade Malkin instead of Staal if necessary


Depending on plenty of factors – especially a new CBA and all that entails – the Pittsburgh Penguins’ much-touted center trio of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal might just become a dynamic duo. So which one would you let go if you had to decide as their contracts are set to expire (Crosby and Staal’s in 2013, Malkin’s in 2014)?

Plenty of people will add their two cents on this subject, but few carry the weight of TSN’s Darren Dreger, who thought long and hard about pegging Malkin instead of Staal in this radio interview. After complimenting Malkin’s regular season dominance, he wasn’t so sure about how he played against the Philadelphia Flyers in round one.

“For the most part, he wasn’t engaged; he wasn’t invested,” Dreger said. “[Which] Evgeni Malkin are you getting?”

For what it’s worth, here are the three centers full stats from the series:

Staal: six goals, three assists for nine points, +2, 49.5 percent on faceoffs
Malkin: three goals, five assists for eight points, -1, 52.7 percent on faceoffs
Crosby: three goals, five assists for eight points, -3, 54.8 percent on faceoffs

Perhaps Geno had an off game or three, but his stats are remarkably similar to the two other star centers who seemed to mostly get praise or neutral reviews. We can agree to disagree, but I’d say that it’s probably safer to judge Malkin on his all-world-Crosby-included 2011-12 regular season rather than his still pretty decent series. (Which, by the way, was wacky enough to be pretty unreliable from an “assessment” standpoint.)

Get rid of bad contracts instead

The radio interview also features a bit that hopefully will come to GM Ray Shero’s mind well before he considers trading franchise cornerstones: the Penguins basically have $9 million in poorly spent cap room invested in struggling defensemen Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek. There will also be plenty of players who will come off the cap.

The Penguins can’t bury Martin’s regrettable deal in the minors thanks to his no-movement clause (thanks to Nick Case), but perhaps they can rid themselves of his deal or Michalek’s if the league provides an “amnesty” window after the next CBA goes through. Even if that doesn’t happen, they’ll likely get a chance to trade away cap fat instead of breaking up their core.

After all, if you can trade Scott Gomez and Brian Campbell’s contracts, chances are you can fit Staal, Malkin and Crosby under the same cap ceiling.


That being said, let me ask: if you had to get rid of one of the three – with all things considered – who would you let go? (I’d vote for Staal.)

Should Montreal banish Scott Gomez to the minors?

Scott Gomez Braden Holtby Scott Hannan

Sure, the New York Rangers traded Scott Gomez, but he might still be a kindred spirit with Wade Redden. A TSN panel discussed a mind-blowing possibility: should the Montreal Canadiens pay Gomez $7.4 million to not play for their team?

While Aaron Ward and Marc Crawford called for a buyout, Bob McKenzie recommended giving Gomez the Redden treatment.

In an ideal world (for the Habs, at least), Montreal would be able to unload Gomez’s laughable deal on another team, much like the Chicago Blackhawks did with Brian Campbell. Most NHL teams probably find it hard to believe that Gomez will deliver like Campbell has so far in Florida though, so it’s reasonable that the TSN crew emphasized two options in which the Habs would eat part of Gomez’s salary.

Assuming a trade indeed cannot happen, it breaks down to three options, then:

1. Buy him out: On the bright side, Montreal would save some money and cut ties with Gomez altogether. The minus is that the Habs wouldn’t get total cap relief and the impact would cover four seasons.

2. Demote him: The perks are two-fold: Gomez would be gone to the AHL and the cap hit would evaporate. That being said, the Habs would need to pay Gomez his full salary to play in the minors.

3. Keep him: Naturally, the Habs could hope that Gomez will find a way to get his career back on track, as unlikely as that might seem to some.

Since it’s not my money, I’d go with option number two – at least if another team decides to go in rebuild mode and unload a pricey star (Jarome Iginla, maybe?). What would you do with the struggling Alaskan scorer, though?

Brian Rolston clears re-entry waivers, remains Devils’ problem


The New Jersey Devils were hoping that someone would relieve half of their debts (and salary cap responsibilities) regarding aging – and expensive – winger Brian Rolston, but he cleared re-entry waivers today. Devils GM Lou Lamoriello will need to continue to try to find a trade or explore other avenues to get rid of Rolston’s ugly salary cap blemish.

Being that he’s 37 years old, the NHL’s cap rules prohibit the Devils from simply making his cap hit vanish into the minors like the Rangers did with younger albatross Wade Redden.

Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger surmises that teams passed on claiming Rolston mainly because his contract won’t expire until after the 2011-2012 season. It’s easier to fathom a team taking him on for one low-risk year rather than the rest of this season and all of next, after all.

Keep in mind the fact that it’s doubtful that Rolston is even worth the approximate $2.53 million salary/cap hit he would cost a team claiming him on waivers. His howling slap shot can be a real asset on a power play and – at least at one point in his career – his speed made him a very useful player. But looking at his production (two goals and three assists for five points and an ugly -12 rating this season; 32 and 37 points in his other two campaigns in NJ), it’s hard to say he would be worth the risk when teams can sign shorter, cheaper Marek Svatos-type deals instead.

Chere writes that Lamoriello will still look to trade him, but if people balked at his discount rate, how will they be able to stomach the full $5 million+ version? It’s not as if the Devils possess the cap space to trade Rolston for an even bigger deal, so maybe the trade scenario is wishful thinking on Lamoriello’s part.

Then again, it seems like wishful thinking is what got Lamoriello and the Devils in this mess in the first place.