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.

Devils expected to place Brian Rolston on re-entry waivers this week with hopes of cap relief


No one in their right mind would agree that Brian Rolston is worth more than $5 million at this point in his career. Probably not even Rolston or his agent Steve Bartlett, if you gave them some of that “Kill Bill: Volume 2” truth serum.

Yet the proposition of adding the hard-shooting forward becomes at least digestible when you cut his salary (and cap hit) in half to about $2.53 million. Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice passes along word from New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello that the team assigned Rolston to the Albany Devils in the AHL and will be placed on re-entry waivers, possibly as early as Wednesday at noon.

If someone decides to claim Rolston on re-entry waivers – which Lamoriello and the Devils hope – then the Devils will be responsible for half of the winger’s salary (and cap hit) for the remainder of this season and next, when it expires. Who knows how much interest there is for Rolston, even at half price, but there is precedent for these things to happen. The New York Rangers claimed Sean Avery off of re-entry waivers when the Dallas Stars decided they couldn’t deal with his antics anymore.

One of the many differences between Avery and Rolston is that it’s matter of business, rather than anything personal between the player and team.

“There’s nothing that he has done to warrant any type of not wanting him,” Lamoriello said. “This is a business situation. This is part of the hockey business. It’s not personal or anything about his character. We’re talking about a quality individual.”

Lamoriello said that Rolston and his agent, Steve Barltett, have been given permission to talk to other teams about a trade.

“He’s done everything asked of him,” Lamoriello said. “I still believe in Brian. He can still play in the NHL. It just hasn’t worked out. He’s not the only one that it hasn’t worked out with to this point. It’s unfortunate but we find ourselves in a position and you have to make certain decisions.”

Lamoriello does not anticipate placing any other players on the team on re-entry waivers.

We’ll let you know what happens, whether a team decides to relieve some of the Devils’ cap headaches or not.

With Marc Savard on the verge of returning, Boston must decide who needs to go

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Thanks to the pesky old salary cap, the addition of an elite playmaker like Marc Savard can be a curse along with a gift for a team with no margin of error such as the Boston Bruins.

As Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe points out, Savard seems like he is on the verge of a return to the team’s lineup as he finally seems like he recovered from post-concussion syndrome. The problem is that the team will then need to make room for his $4 million (and change) salary cap hit.

So, here is the burning question for the Boston Bruins: who needs to go?

Shinzawa points out the fact that the only Bruins who have no-movement clauses are Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Tim Thomas (all players whose salaries are larger than Savard’s, by the way).

Before activating Savard, the Bruins must clear salary before reintroducing the center’s $4.007 million annual cap hit. So sometime before early next month, when Savard could be ready for game action, Chiarelli will create the required space, either via trade or AHL assignment.

“I’ve got a pretty good idea of what I want to do,’’ said Chiarelli.

It may not be a seamless transition. There is no guarantee, according to Chiarelli, that Player X can be traded on the eve of Savard’s return. An opposing GM could insist on acquiring a player — Michael Ryder, for example — sooner rather than later, which would require the Bruins to bridge the gap between that deal and Savard’s reentry. Chiarelli confirmed that in any trade, he would have to accept either draft picks or prospects in return instead of NHL roster players.

However, if Chiarelli turns to AHL assignments, he could clear salary immediately before activating Savard. Only Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, and Tim Thomas have no-movement clauses in their contracts, which frees Chiarelli to waive every other player without having to gain their consent. The Bruins could also bring up any demoted players for the playoffs, when the salary cap is not considered.

Shinzawa also points out the fact that the Bruins could call up a demoted player like Ryder once the playoffs begin without salary cap implications.

Now, I don’t have all the details, but here is what I would do.

1. Make sure Savard is actually ready to play.

At least if Chiarelli plans on making a trade to clear space. You’d hate to move a valuable piece for a draft pick only for Savard to hang up the skates for the rest of the season after playing for a handful of games.

2. Don’t trust Marco Sturm.

There are some players whose injury prone natures so blindingly clear that it outweighs whatever impact they could have on the ice. Sturm is pretty talented and very fast, but he gets injured on a Marian Gaborik rate (maybe even worse). I wouldn’t move a healthy, productive player for him.

3. Consider demoting rookies, including Tyler Seguin.

I like Seguin’s potential, but I think the Bruins would have been wise to demote him before burning one of his entry-level years. His $3.55 million cap hit could be combined with a cheap rookie to make room for Savard.

But even with a year burned, the Bruins could let Seguin beat up on lower level competition and then bring him up during the playoffs for fresher legs. It’s at least worth considering.

4. Be careful with Ryder.

On one hand, Ryder is inconsistent. He scored only two goals in his last nine games. Yet before that stretch, he scored 10 points in 12 games.

The question remains: is he good enough to keep him with the team in the minors/at the NHL level or would it be worth it just to get quarters on the dollar with a trade?

Boston faces some tough questions coming up, with the problem within a blessing involved with the returns of Savard and/or Sturm. So, what would you do if you were their GM? Let us know in the comments.