Dadonov – Weber trade a big salary cap win for Golden Knights

Dadonov - Weber trade a big salary cap win for Golden Knights
David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens and Golden Knights combined for a fascinating trade on Thursday. The short version is that Evgenii Dadonov goes to the Canadiens in the trade, while Shea Weber‘s contract (LTIR-bound) buys the Golden Knights serious salary cap relief.

The deal seems sensible enough for both teams.

Serious salary cap relief for Golden Knights with Shea Weber contract, Canadiens trade for Dadonov

Canadiens receive: Evgenii Dadonov

Golden Knights receive: Shea Weber

Montreal clears Weber contract, gains Dadonov

Dadonov, 33, carries a $5 million salary cap hit for one more season. During the past three seasons, he’s bounced from the Panthers (2019-20) to the Senators (2020-21) to the Golden Knights (2021-22) and finally the Canadiens. Of course, the Golden Knights tried to wiggle around salary cap issues with a Dadonov trade during the deadline. That move was invalidated.

To the utmost credit of Dadonov, he didn’t just suit up for the Golden Knights after that debacle. He was fantastic. Dadonov delivered to the point that he was a major reason Vegas stayed in the playoff hunt. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough.

It’s still puzzling that the Canadiens didn’t receive a draft pick of any kind to sweeten this deal. Sure, it’s ideal to get out of Shea Weber’s contract, yet they at least projected the vibe of a rebuilder. Could that have just been a temporary thing?

TSN’s Darren Dreger floated Jeff Petry‘s name while leaning toward this eventual Weber move.

We’ll see if the Canadiens have other tricks up their sleeves. (There’s always the possibility that they dangle Dadonov in a future trade, too.)

Then again, maybe it was simply worth it to get out of Weber’s contract?

 

“Cleaner” is definitely a fair argument/synopsis overall.

Landing Weber contract without giving up picks: salary cap slam-dunk trade for the Golden Knights

It’s easiest to see the logic of the Dadonov – Weber trade from the Golden Knights’ side.

  • Most pressingly, the Golden Knights get out of that $5M Dadonov salary cap hit.
  • There are some areas where they can trip up, but Shea Weber’s contract may not be much of an issue for Vegas. The 36-year-old’s cap hit is about $7.857M per year through 2025-26, and it’s LTIR-bound.

Weber’s actual cost is also lower than his cap hit.

In 2022-23, he’s owed a $3M signing bonus (likely already paid) plus $1M in base salary. Over the following three seasons (2023-24 to 2025-26), Weber’s owed a $1M signing bonus plus $1M in base salary. It’s also possible that factors such as insurance might soften that already-manageable cost.

There may also be some fuzziness if Weber retires (rather than essentially being retired while getting paid, Chris Pronger-style).

It all makes me wonder if Shea Weber’s contract could get traded again before it expires. That structure could make a lot of sense to a rebuilding team trying to reach the salary cap floor.

[Earlier this week, Golden Knights hired Bruce Cassidy as head coach]

So … yeah, the Dadonov – Weber trade seems like a nice salary cap win for the Golden Knights. They still have serious work to do this offseason, however.

Does this beat the price the Golden Knights almost paid to Anaheim in the invalidated Dadonov trade, which included a second-rounder? I’d lean toward “Yes.”

If there’s a lesson to all of this, it’s that few contracts are truly “untradeable.”

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