Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Zajac for Regehr?

2010/2011 NHL Statistics
To CalgaryPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Travis ZajacForward252638113$3.89 million
To New JerseyPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Robyn RegehrDefense30260333$4.02 million

A new rumour to play with... hooray!

From the Hockeybuzz article this morning, "Calgary would like to grab Zajac, NJ wants Regehr...of course there would be more... each team would want a young, cheap player to replace the player they are trading as well..."

Yes, I know... Hockeybuzz is considered rubbish, but I love rumours, no matter how rubbish they may or may not be.  I'm not afraid to admit it either.

So, it's fair to say that this deal is based on filling needs that both teams have at the moment.  The Flames need a centre to help their scoring woes, preferably one that can be a number one centre, while the Devils desperately need some defensive help, since Anton Volchenkov and Bryce Salvador can't stay healthy.  In this sense, it kind of makes sense.

On the other hand, who is actually scoring for the Devils that they can make a deal that sends offensive talent out the door?  Even if the Devils want to go back to playing those 1-0 or 2-1 kind of games, they will actually need someone to score those goals.  With no Parise, cold scoring from Kovalchuk, Rolston, Langenbrunner and Elias, who else is left?

For the Flames, one of their biggest problems, besides diminished scoring from their top six, is some of their atrocious defense they have been playing and moving a stalwart defenseman like Regehr is just going to leave an even bigger hole on the blueline.

Salary CapLooking at the cap numbers, this deal appears to be somewhat of a wash, value-wise, but even still, the Devils are taking on an extra smidgen of cap space, which can't possibly appeal to their capologist, despite some early Long Term Injury Reserve time for guys like Brian Rolston.  The Devils cap number has been poked and prodded so many times, it would be hard to get an exact reading, but if any deal was to come down, I would imagine that one of those extra pieces mentioned going to Calgary would have to be a defenseman that is currently on the roster, like a Matt Corrente or a Mark Fraser.  The Flames would then send one of their medium-level forward prospects the other way, so the Devils don't take on any more space right away, possibly a Kris Chucko or John Armstrong.

Frankly, if this deal is to have any legs at all, both teams have to hope that they are going to get some more offense/defense from adding more defense/offense. Even then, it doesn't really matter what kind of cheaper, younger talent goes either way, this deal does appear to be on the dark edges of crazy.

Saying that, Sutter and Lamoreillo haven't quite been themselves over the last 12 months...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Iginla to the Kings?

2010/2011 NHL Statistics
To Los AngelesPositionGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Jarome IginlaForward1637103$7 million
To CalgaryPositionGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Brayden SchennForward80223$3.14 million
Other considerations

Gee whiz, you step away from the computer for a night and the hockey world goes a blitz with a trade rumour between the Flames and Kings, which would see Jarome Iginla head down South to Los Angeles for a package that would include Brayden Schenn.

First of all, I'm not going to write this off as wild talk, because the early building blocks has some kind of merit to it, since the Kings want to win now and the Flames could be on the verge of rebuilding.  I don't think either of those statements are far-fetched, but this whole notion is taken with a grain of salt.

The Kings have found themselves in a very interesting position as we close on the quarter-pole of the 2011 NHL season as the Western Conference leaders and a trade for a player like Iginla would be the sort of move that could keep the team in that fine position, especially if they could trade pieces that are not necessary to the team's immediate success, like Brayden Schenn.

The Flames on the other hand are in a state of limbo in the public's eye and only Flames management know exactly where the team is heading in the foreseeable future.  As much as the rebuild idea does have some merit with the team mired in 14th place in the Western Conference, the Flames are only 5 points behind the 8th place Phoenix Coyotes and a comeback is definitely possible, which would mean that if Iginla was to go anywhere, the Flames would require players that would help them to win now.

As for Iginla, there is plenty of scuttlebutt around how happy he is with the team and/or his play of late, which is leading to more smoke from the rumour mill and even that doesn't seem to be far-fetched.  The question then becomes, would Iginla waive his no-movement clause and accept a deal to California in a deal, which would see him join a current contender.

Salary CapThe salary cap numbers do provide an interesting challenge to this rumour, as the Kings were projected to be in tough for any big additions to their side going into the year, but they would be able to dump a good chunk of what they'd take on if Schenn's entry-level cap hit was struck from the books.  I don't have anything in terms of concrete numbers, but I would imagine that the package heading back up to Calgary would have to be somewhat sizable from their own roster.

In the overall scheme of things, there are a lot of wheels that have to be in motion for this deal to go down.  A lot of approvals need to be made from a lot of different people, especially some people that haven't been in consideration up until this point.  This deal is not a rental agreement, since Iginla still has two more seasons after this one on his contract, so there is that to deal with and whatever the Flames decide in terms of how they want to proceed with the rest of their season and their long-term plan.

I won't write this idea off, but I can definitely see it getting ki-bosh'd at some point or another because there was a no keeping any progress from happening.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Commodore for Souray?

RUMOUR2009-2010 NHL Statistics2011 Cap Info
To ColumbusPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Sheldon SourayDefense343749132$5.4 million
To EdmontonPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Mike CommodoreDefese305729113$3.75 million

The latest rumoured solution for the Edmonton Oilers and their standing history with Sheldon Souray is to deal him to Columbus for veteran defenseman Mike Commodore.

This rumour has been picking up some steam in the past couple days, especially with an early injury to Kris Russell in training camp and now on Monday morning, there have been a tweet from Ryan Rishaug of TSN (here), confirming that this deal has been batted about, although it sounds like it was a while ago.

To me, this deal doesn't look terrible from either standpoint.  The team that truly stands to gain is more likely the Oilers, since Souray is not going to be at their camp and he now is a potential $5.4 million lump against the salary cap without even playing a game for the team.  Of course, there will be ways around, but this is kind of where it stands at the moment.  The Oilers bringing in another body to replace the cap lump would be a huge win.

The knock on Commodore is that he can have seasons where his health is kind of sketchy and his body finds ways to get injured, but then he can also have 80+ game seasons and he's a solid figure on the blueline.  He doesn't score a great deal, not really a great hockey pool player, but at least he can give a team some solid minutes.

For Columbus, acquiring Souray would be a definite upgrade offensively on the blueline, but even more so of a health-risk during the season.  Souray is a member of the injury prone list, as of this year, and is coming off of another harsh season between a concussion and a broken hand (which happened when he tried to avenge his concussion).  There's no question that Souray will be able to give the Blue Jackets what they want on their power play, but the price tag is awfully high and there are no guarantees about his health.

Salary CapNeither team is stressing about the cap ceiling going into the regular season, but a move like this would have the Blue Jackets a little closer.  The Jackets currently sit at a projected number of $54.5 million with Commodore on the books, which would take on another $1.7 million with the acquisition of Souray.  The Oilers are currently pretty low on my projected list, but that is currently without the rookie bonuses of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi. Nevertheless, the Oilers would also be saving money on this straight-up deal, if it were to happen.

I don't buy this deal and its probably for the same reasons that Howson has bitten on it (as per the Rishaug tweet), the risk is just too high.  With the Oilers, there is no risk in a straight-up deal like this, because Commodore is much more durable than Souray and that isn't saying a great deal about Souray.  The Oilers would likely have to part with another piece for the Blue Jackets to take this deal on, likely for the sake of security that they are getting their money's worth.  This is definitely a spot where Andrew Cogliano could come in handy, throwing him in the mix, while the Jackets throw in a pick, just to call it square.  To me, that would make a lot of sense to both sides.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Souray for Fleischmann?

RUMOUR2009-2010 NHL Statistics2011 Cap Info
To WashingtonPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Sheldon SourayDefense343749132$5.4 million
To EdmontonPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Tomas FleischmannForward26692328511$2.7 million

Well, I saw this trade rumour in a couple of tweets (one & two) this afternoon and thought I would have a good time with this one.  The Oilers would move unhappy defenseman Sheldon Souray out of town for Tomas Fleischmann, a scoring winger who has had some longer contract negotiations with the Capitals and only seems to sign on a year-to-year basis.

Souray has been on the blog a couple of times since he had requested to be traded out of Edmonton, so it should be no surprise that he is back, since he hasn't been moved yet.  The Capitals would be an interesting fit for Souray, as they are in need of a bit more veteran scoring from their blueline, lessening the pressure on young John Carlson, who is emerging as a real blue chip prospect. 

The cap hit for Souray is a pretty big one, but with the way the Capitals are built at the moment, they could use twice the cap hit that Fleischmann would leave behind and move forward with it.  Whether or not Souray would live up to that big cap hit depends a lot on his health, as he is a player on my injury-prone list.

The Oilers, on the other hand, would be very happy to be finally rid of the Souray distraction in their office and on their books, taking on another young scoring forward like Fleischmann.  Unfortunately for the Oilers, Fleischmann is another winger, not exactly what they are after, but he could provide some more help to the centres that are already on the team, possibly making them better.

I don't think that this deal as it stands is one that can happen, there will likely have to be some padding from one side or the other to try and even it up. I would think that the Oilers would have to send a prospect or a mid-round pick to the Capitals, just so they would take that cap hit off their hands, especially for a talent like Fleischmann. The essence of the deal would be Souray for Fleischmann, but at the end of the day, there would need to be a bit more to make it real.

For now, I could see this deal being done, because of the higher prices for top-to-mid level defensemen are quite high and I don't believe the Capitals have enough in their system today to make it as far as they would like in the Eastern Conference playoffs. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tampa In On Kaberle?

RUMOUR2009-2010 NHL Statistics2011 Cap Info
To TorontoPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Ryan MaloneForward30692126475$4.5 million
To Tampa BayPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Tomas KaberleDefense3282742491$4.25 million

The late name being thrown around the rumour mill on Sunday night has been Ryan Malone coming out of Tampa Bay for Tomas Kaberle and I wanted to have a look at what the numbers may pan out here for.

Of course, this wouldn't be the complete deal, I would have to think that giving up Malone would mean that the draft pick that should be involved would be low, unless the Leafs have another ace up their sleeve to upgrade the pick.

Interesting point to note, Malone's long-term deal does have a no-movement clause, which could be tough to move and why would Malone want to move away from playing on the top line with Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis?

The Lightning have done well in this off-season adding Simon Gagne and Domenic Moore, but trading away Malone does make me a little weary of where the forward corps are going in Tampa Bay.  I'm not sold on this idea as a way to help win games, especially with some good minute-eaters on the blueline, where does everyone fit and how do they mesh? 

Even if the Maple Leafs were able to turn this deal, who is going to service all of these gritty scorers?  Is there going to be a centre or two in the Leafs future?

Last Day for Open Kaberle

It's now the middle of August and we know a few things about the Maple Leafs situation with Tomas Kaberle. August 15th (today) is the last day that Kaberle has before his no-trade clause takes effect again and he would have to then okay a deal by waiving that clause for any new deals that may or may not surface after today. We know that Burke is not in the business of taking less than his value in any deal and he is looking for a top six forward with size and scoring ability or a "futures package," which would include a high pick and a "quality young player."

In 2010, Kaberle was the 10th ranked defenseman in scoring with 49 points in 82 games and in 2011, the final year of his deal, he will have a cap hit of $4.25 million.  Of those top 10 defensemen, Kaberle's cap hit ranks 7th, which suggests that he is a pretty good bargain for any team that decides to pick him up.

The Leafs are battling against the salary cap and have some great defensive depth on their side at the moment.  Not including buyouts or bonus penalties, the Leafs have 20 players signed on, including eight defensemen, for $56.5 million, which doesn't leave the club for very much wiggle room for immediate improvement as it is.  Tack on the extras and the Leafs are sitting at $58.9 million.  The Leafs could very easily get to a playing line-up of 20 players, possibly having an extra defenseman in the line-up for a reasonable cost, but that would force the Leafs to use some younger, cheaper talent.

For the 2011 Entry Draft, Toronto is the only team that doesn't have their 1st round pick, which is the last piece of the deal that saw Phil Kessel get dealt to the Leafs, almost a year ago now.  If we were to eliminate teams by that notion, we really couldn't, but I think it's fair to think that if the Maple Leafs are going to take a "futures package," a team's 1st round pick will be front and centre for a deal.

The teams most often pointed out in the rumours going around include the Bruins, who have Toronto's 1st round pick in 2011, the Sharks and Ducks, Pacific Division foes in need of blueline help, and the Devils and Kings, who have been dealing with the Ilya Kovalchuk situation for the better part of this Summer.  It's too bad we don't get to see what offers have been made or how the picks/players stack up in some of these deals that have been on and off the table, leaving us only to assume.

Personally, I think there is enough that adds up to Kaberle getting dealt on Sunday before midnight. The Leafs would probably prefer to have some cap flexibility, a 1st round pick and a little bit more youth in their system and they would likely prefer to get it from anyone.

Kaberle has expressed much interest in staying with the team, likely vetoing a trade after the no-trade clause falls back into place, so Burke has only so much time to make a deal.

On the other hand, the 1st round pick might be a pivot point on any deal, not settling for anything less, where the prospect that may come in return, could be downgraded just as easy, since there is a little bit more flexibility with coaching and development in their own system. I guess this is what would keep me from being surprised if Kaberle wasn't to move on Sunday, plus he would be a hard defenseman to replace, despite the Leafs depth.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bieksa for Chimera?

RUMOUR2009-2010 NHL Statistics2011 Cap Info
To WashingtonPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Kevin BieksaDefense2955319221$3.75 million
To VancouverPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Jason ChimeraForward31781519342$1.875 million
Draft Pick

It's been a while since I had something for the Rumour Mill blog, but a quick tweet got the wheels turning and we have some numbers to play with. It's nothing more than a rumour and should be take as just that, but I don't mind having a quick peek, see what it looks like.

The Canucks are knee deep in defensemen and cuddling up to the salary cap ceiling this Summer, so a deal to move a blueliner and get some cap space should be considered as a viable option.  Moving Bieksa to an Eastern Conference team definitely has some merit and getting a 3rd/4th line player in return makes some sense, as that was one of their weaker points in the playoffs last Spring.

For the Capitals, they are dealing with plenty of depth on the forward ranks and a bit of a shortage of offense from the blueline past Mike Green.  Bieksa would definitely solve the issue of finding a top-3 defenseman, for a reasonable cap hit, some toughness will be a value-add for the team as well.

I've definitely heard of worse rumours than this.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

17 Years for Kovalchuk (and the 100 percent rule)?

Since one of the biggest contract jokes in the NHL is Rick DiPietro's 15-year deal in 2006, I would think that the NHL has evolved into a more civilized group of savvy managers.  Sure, the league has seen it's share of 10, 11, 12, 13-year contract extension since the DiPietro debacle, but everyone can just look at those long-term deals and not laugh quite as hard, especially since DiPietro has 11 years still left on his deal and has done nothing with it.

Now, we're looking at a potential deal, which has been rumoured to be tabled by the New Jersey Devils, which would give Ilya Kovalchuk a 17-year deal, worth $100 million in just the first ten years alone.  Of course, the back end of this deal would likely see the salary numbers drop off significantly to lessen the overall cap hit to something more flexible for the Devils to build around with.

With Kovalchuk already being 27 years old as of April 15th, a 17-year deal would see him conclude this deal at the ripe old age of 44.  The benefit for the Devils is that if Kovalchuk does decide to retire after his 10 years, $100 million, he won't hurt the Devils past his retirement, because the cap hit can be nixed due to retirement processes on a deal that was signed before the age of 35.  The Devils, therefore could have a $10 million salary count as a much smaller number, thanks to not paying him quite as much in the last seven years.

Let's see if I can come up with as a possibility of what the deal may look like...

Article 50.7 in the CBA: "100 Percent Rule" for Multi-Year SPCs. The difference between the stated Player Salary and Bonuses in the first two League Years of an SPC cannot exceed the amount of the lower of the two League Years. Thereafter, in all subsequent League Years of the SPC, (i) any increase in Player Salary and Bonuses from one League Year to another may not exceed the amount of the lower of the first two League Years of the SPC (or, if such amounts are the same, the same amount); and (ii) any decrease in Player Salary and Bonuses from one League Year to another may not exceed 50 percent of the Player Salary and Bonuses of the lower of the first two League Years of the SPC (or, if such amounts are the same, 50 percent of the same amount).

So, with that being said, according to the CBA, Kovalchuk could be down to a $1 million salary (which is the popular finishing number for most deals that are front-loaded) as soon as the 2022 season, where he'd be 39 years old at the end of the year and it would bring down the cap hit significantly, if that was the case.

YearSalaryCap Hit
2010-2011 (age 28)$10 million$6.53 million
2011-2012 (29)$10 million$6.53 million
2012-2013 (30)$10 million$6.53 million
2013-2014 (31)$10 million$6.53 million
2014-2015 (32)$10 million$6.53 million
2015-2016 (33)$10 million$6.53 million
2016-2017 (34)$10 million$6.53 million
2017-2018 (35)$10 million$6.53 million
2018-2019 (36)$10 million$6.53 million
2019-2020 (37)$10 million$6.53 million
2020-2021 (38)$5 million$6.53 million
2021-2022 (39)$1 million$6.53 million
2022-2023 (40)$1 million$6.53 million
2023-2024 (41)$1 million$6.53 million
2024-2025 (42)$1 million$6.53 million
2025-2026 (43)$1 million$6.53 million
2026-2027 (44)$1 million$6.53 million

That is a crazy amount that the Devils could definitely deal with, I'm sure. You could work the back end of the deal, so its a rounder number like $7 million, but frankly, why would you throw that cap space away at this point?

These are just numbers I am throwing out there, I don't have any idea what the deal would actually look like, I'm just gauging this on a deal that needs to get done, with the lowest cap hit possible for $100 million over the first 10 years.  It all makes sense to me.

Hjalmarsson Gets an Offer Sheet

The offer sheet has got a nasty reputation in the NHL, as one of the coldest acts of general managing an NHL GM can do, thanks in large part to the Dustin Penner offer sheet, which happened almost three years ago now.  Personally, I like the offer sheets, as much as restricted free agency gives teams a good hold on top prospects, it also guarantees that team compensation if a team covets that player more.

There is also some added security for teams that are fighting against the salary cap ceiling with fitting all of their players contracts for the year, making sure that if they were to lose them to insufficient cap space or another team putting a little excess pressure on the team having trouble by overpaying, compensation would be granted in futures.

That being said, here is what the compensation chart looks like in 2010:
OFFER                           COMPENSATION
$1,020,348 or below             None
Over $1,020,348 to $1,545,981   3rd round choice
Over $1,545,981 to $3,091,963   2nd round choice
Over $3,091,963 to $4,637,944   1st round and 3rd round choice
Over $4,637,944 to $6,183,925   1st round, 2nd round and 3rd round choice
Over $6,183,925 to $7,729,907   Two 1st round choices, one 2nd and one 3rd round choice
Over $7,729,907                 Four 1st round choices

So, this is where the San Jose Sharks come in.  They have obviously decided to put some more pressure on the Chicago Blackhawks, who are sitting on a couple of top end restricted free agents, in Antti Niemi and Niklas Hjalmarsson, and only $3.7 million in cap space remaining.  The Sharks looked at that situation and didn't want to wait for either one to potentially get snapped up via trade to somewhere else, they got their pen in the ink and signed Hjalmarsson to an offer sheet to try and sway him away from Chicago.

The reported offer sheet is said to be a 4-year deal worth $13 million in total, a $3.25 million cap hit per season.  According to the table above, that cap hit would give the Blackhawks the Sharks' 1st round pick and 3rd round pick in 2011. 

Hjalmarsson's numbers were not exceptional in the regular season for the Blackhawks, only 17 points in 77 games with the team, but played solid minutes with the club and made good use of the time he was given as the 4th or 5th defenseman on the team.  In the playoffs, he was far more effective, 8 points in 22 games and he raised his compete level to those of good historical playoff performers, full of compete and sacrifice for the team.  It's almost fitting that the Sharks are going after him, since that was a lot of what they lacked against the Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals.

If we were going to talk market value, moreso for the regular season, the Sharks are prepared to overpay for Hjalmarsson.  I think the greatest factors in market value is age, position and regular season scoring, with some added features like potential and x-factor can given taken into account, but the first three are the most tangible.  The Sharks do have the closest deal in this range to what Hjalmarsson has been offered in Marc-Eduoard Vlasic, who is also 23, plays defense and had 16 points in 64 games with the Sharks.  Vlasic has a cap hit of $3.1 million for the next three seasons.  The Sharks GM said in this article that they feel Hjalmarsson is a top-three defenseman on any team and I suppose if he got the minutes of a top three defenseman, he might have the same points as Kristopher Letang, who will make $3.5 million over the next four seasons and had 27 points in 73 games.  That doesn't sound out of the question at all.

I think this is a good deal, if the Sharks are right about Hjalmarsson.  They don't have plenty of room for error, since Letang only had 27 points, so that's only an increase of 11 points, but Hjalmarsson is supposed to bring some extra playoff gusto, so you could justify that if he brings it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Redden to Start in the Minors?

Four years left, $6.5 million against the cap per year... this is what is staring the New York Rangers in the face going into the 2011 season. In theory, this doesn't look like a terrible deal for what was a pretty good defenseman in Ottawa, right?  Well, his 2010 numbers were horrible, 2 goals and 12 assists in 75 games is not going to cut it for a $6.5 million player. 

So, now there is rumblings that Redden and his massive cap hit may end up down in the minors to start the season, saving the Rangers from his cap hit, but not his actual salary.  Redden will be paid in full whatever part of his $6.5 million salary he earns in the AHL, but for salary cap purposes, the Rangers would save the math there, giving them a little more flexibility in the marketplace.

With Redden on the active roster, the Rangers currently have 12 players signed on for $43.4 million against the cap, with no buyouts or other penalties on the go at the moment.  That leaves $16 million for 11 players and we all know how much the Rangers like to spend, don't we?

At age 33, this will likely be a huge slap in the face to Redden, but he can't say he didn't have this coming to him.  His play has not been of the high calibre that the Rangers expected of him when he signed as a free agent in 2008.  In 156 games with the Rangers, he has 5 goals and 35 assists for 40 points and only a +3 plus/minus rating.  If Redden finds his way down to the minors, I would almost be amazed to see him back up with the club, unless there was some depth issues on the blueline, like injuries, because his cap hit would probably bump him down the depth chart little by little.

I'm going to keep a close eye on this, but for now, it's still labelled as a rumour, so I'll keep it on this blog for now.  Once he actually drops down, I'll post something on the hockey pool blog, reminding everyone to stay away from Redden in their hockey pool draft.  Actually, I will say it right now... until further notice, stay away from Redden in your hockey pool drafts.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Thinking Out Loud: Savard and Thomas

In some regards, I find it somewhat puzzling that the Boston Bruins are going to try and move a couple of their long-term assets in both Marc Savard and Tim Thomas. I'm sure signing these long-term deals with these players were good ideas at the time, a 7-year contract extension in December for Savard and a 4-year deal in April 2009 for Thomas. On the other hand, both players are already into their mid-30's and haven't had the best track records beyond some really good flashes, some longer than others, in each player's career.

With Savard, the Bruins have his entire contract extension looming over him, his head was knocked three ways from Sunday during the regular season on a massive hit, their depth at centre is getting to be something else after drafting Tyler Seguin and the team does have its fair share of cap issues, so the long-term prognosis on Marc Savard is not good staying with the Bruins.  The reports coming out after the Entry Draft concluded was that Savard, who has a no-trade clause at the moment in his deal, has said that he would waive the clause, but only if it was a deal that would land him either in Toronto or in Ottawa, two of the Bruins' division rivals.

Well, isn't this a fine pickle jar that the Bruins have backed themselves into?  Really, I'm going to stick this one on the Bruins management bowing down to the demands of Savard and company, who obviously wanted some security in a 7-year deal, just to get the deal done and questions lifted for the remainder of the year.  If your team's blueprint is to include centres and by December 1st, you already had a feeling you were going to get a very good pick out of Toronto from the Phil Kessel deal, then why would you sign Savard to a longer, very long-term deal like this?  That's poor foresight.  On top of all of that, Savard will only okay a deal to go to a team that could potentially screw the Bruins, strict use of the word potentially, which also looks pretty bad on this situation.  Both the Maple Leafs and the Senators are the two teams that Savard would okay a deal to, but we all know what their situations are like at the moment and it might be a while before they do a lot of damage to the Bruins in the regular season.

At $4.2 million a season against the cap, Savard has almost a Rick DiPietro-like deal... a long-term deal with a cap hit that can either look like a bargain when the player is healthy all year and performing to his highest level or an anchor around the team's neck, if the player cannot stay consistently healthy and can't perform at the highest level.  It's all quite relative, to be honest.  Both the Maple Leafs and the Senators are in good cap positions to take on a guy like Savard, even if the Bruins shuffle him off for next to nothing, now that they are in selling mode and everything (or all things Savard) must go.

If a deal is to go down with Savard leaving Boston, I would be awfully surprised if it positively impacts the Bruins in the end.

Tim Thomas is not as curious of a case as Savard is, especially since the Bruins gave the veteran netminder his new deal after he won the Vezina Trophy for being voted the best goaltender in the entire league.  The best thing for any team taking on Thomas would be that the Bruins only signed him to a 4-year deal and that he was Tuukka Rask's back-up for the better part of the first year of that deal. 

The only reason Thomas is out the door is really because of Rask and his play through the season and into the playoffs, the Bruins don't really want to keep a back-up with a starter's contract in their organization and it's hard to blame them. I wouldn't say that the contract that Thomas received before free agency is bad business, they had to hedge their bets against Rask being the goaltender he was in 2010, especially with a Vezina Trophy winner already getting the reps in net.

With three years left and a cap hit of $5 million per season, Thomas is on the more expensive end of the salary cap scale, but fortunately for the Bruins, there are a number of teams that should be interested in Thomas' abilities, despite the contract.  My goaltending holes in the NHL post would see to that.  The Bruins could just as easily use one of these team's need for a top end goaltender to their advantage, especially since most of them have the cap room to spare. 

Thomas does have a no-trade and no-movement clause in his deal, but since the Bruins are already pointing at Rask for being their number one guy going forward, Thomas can look at this situation, say that he wants more minutes and a number one job and gladly accept a trade to somewhere else.  That's a very plausible situation.

The rumour mill has a number of teams interested in Thomas, but the Bruins may not be able to figure out a trade until the market value has been set on a few other goalenders in the league, or the demand level for a starting goalie for that matter.  The chances of Thomas getting dealt look pretty good to me from where I'm sitting.

Nabokov Heading to Philly?

One of the bigger stories of the second day of the Entry Draft was that of the alleged verbal deal that sees the Philadelphia Flyers get the negotiating rights to potential unrestricted free agent goaltender, Evgeni Nabokov.

Clearly, Nabokov should be considered one of the top unrestricted free agents this Summer, even if he is only known as a good regular season goalie and a sub-par playoff goalie in his career playing for the Sharks. Regular season success is worth a lot of money to teams, since it lasts the longest part of the hockey year and Nabokov is a guy who can put in 70 appearances a year.

In his time with San Jose, Nabokov has been a guy that has needed to pull some games out of the fire and steal from time to time, but of course, that really only applies to the regular season. Nevertheless, if the Flyers can get themselves a goalie that can steal some more games in the regular season, they might be on the right track with their thinking, applying a good goalie behind a big defense and a more-than-capable offense.

What is Nabokov going to be worth to the open market?  In some designs, Nabokov should have the ability to write his own number down and be able to stick to it.  That's something that the Flyers would hope to slip away from in some early negotiations, but being surrounded by Martin Brodeur ($5.2 million), Ilya Bryzgalov ($4.25 million), Ryan Miller ($6.25 million) and Roberto Luongo ($5.3 million), you would have to think that Nabokov has dollar signs in his eyes, when determining his cap hit.  Even if Nabokov agreed to the average cap hit of those four goalies (and their current cap hits), he would be looking at $5.25 million against the cap and it's hard to say that he isn't worth it... in the regular season.

As the Flyers know, all they need is to get to the playoffs and they can let the team do the rest, in front of any goalie that is ready to go.  What the may want is a guy that can get the team to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and hopefully impose some dominance over their Eastern Conference rivals, but they will need to pay for it.

Salary CapAs of Saturday night, the Flyers have 10 forwards, 3 defense and Brian Boucher signed on for the 2011 season for an approximate cap hit of $47.2 million.  With the salary cap number rising to $59.4 million, that leaves the Flyers with $12.2 million.  Let's say Nabokov can sign for $5.2 million (for a nice round number and easier to work the math out with), that would leave $7 million to sign the remaining eight players for the 23-man roster.  We can take into account that they don't need all 23 players all season long, but it's just good to keep in mind when doing the math.

I don't think this signing is out of the question, by any means, but I think the Flyers would have to get awfully creative with their youth, their AHL team and possibly some more transactions after the fact to make everything work.  Boy, it's a good thing they didn't sign Dan Hamhuis, eh?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Penguins and Flames to Deal?

RUMOUR2009-2010 NHL Statistics2011 Cap Info
To CalgaryPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Jordan StaalForward21822128493$4 million
To PittsburghPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Eric NystromForward2782118190UFA
Robyn RegehrDefense3081215173$4 million

I'm not sure where this rumour came from, but I've now seen it three times on Twitter and thought I would have a go with it, since it does have some juicy names on it.  The Flames would acquire Jordan Staal from the Penguins for the rights to Eric Nystrom and defenseman Robyn Regehr

Well, as it stands, this deal would have to hinge on the ability that the Penguins would sign Nystrom in just over a week's time and that they also highly regard him enough to do so.  The Flames, who are in a bit of cap trouble are likely going to lose Nystrom for nothing to free agency, while Regehr has not had a lot of great press in Calgary over the last little while.  The Penguins are going to be going into a new era, likely moving on without Sergei Gonchar for the 2011 season, a move for a defensive defenseman would surely help out both Kristopher Letang and Alex Goligoski.

In return, the Flames would get a very good centre, who has been playing much of the defensive centre role for the Penguins, but would get a chance to prove himself as a premier centre with the likes of Jarome Iginla, if this move were to happen.  It would be another experiment that has some potential, but an experiment nonetheless.  Furthermore, the elimination of Regehr from the roster would then make Jay Bouwmeester top dog in Calgary on the blueline, while Marc Giordano would likely be his partner in grime, so there is a positive there for most Flames fans.

Salary CapThe Flames would not necessarily be dropping any cap weight with this new deal, but they would be in a bit better shape with the proposed/rumoured 5% increase that could be on the books, plus they would have a number one centre in their line-up for a $4 million hit.  Not bad.

The Penguins definitely have room for Nystrom after the straight swap of Regehr and Staal, plus Nystrom's potential market value should only touch $2 million, barring some over-spending or a bidding war (which seems unlikely on either side).  So, for both sides, this deal does have some potential, cap-wise.

Too much hinges on this deal, especially the Nystrom signing.  The Penguins will likely keep their strength down the middle, as that is starting to become its own little trend among high-spending clubs.  The Penguins don't have the depth at centre to necessarily replace Staal, so I don't bank on this one happening, no matter how much the Flames or Penguins would benefit from this move.  If anything like this were to come to happening, I would expect some more elements to fall into place, just for security measures.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Columbus in on Spezza?

RUMOUR2009-2010 NHL Statistics2011 Cap Info
To ColumbusPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Jason SpezzaForward27602334575$7 million
To OttawaPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Kristian HuseliusForward31742340632$4.75 million
Derrick BrassardForward2279927364$3.25 million
2010 1st Round Pick (4th overall)

An interesting rumour starting to fly around on Monday night sees the oft-mentioned Jason Spezza heading down across the border and down into Ohio, where he would join the Blue Jackets for playmaking forward Kristian Huselius, Derrick Brassard and the 4th overall pick on Friday night. This is a pretty hefty rumour with the backing of two teams looking to make some changes and some names that constantly swirl around the rumour mill.

Of course, it wasn't too long before news came down that it hasn't been done (and here too), but it's definitely a good one to look at.

The Senators, at first glance, would be getting a lot for Spezza in this incarnation of the rumour, so I think it might be a little too weighted to one side, but I could see another pick and a prospect going back to Columbus on the other side, just to sort of comb it out.  Otherwise, this could have some legs to it.

Salary CapThe Senators are a bit on the high side of the salary cap numbers before this deal goes down, but adding an extra player, plus a million or so does make things a little easier to swallow for Ottawa. The Blue Jackets would bring the average cap hit per roster player up a bit with the acquisition of Spezza, but the potential combination of Spezza and Rick Nash has to be appealing to the Columbus faithful.