FanPost

Cap Implications of a 15 yr/$100M contract: Who will go?

There was a lot of discussion on prior FanPosts about which players would be moved to make room for Ilya Kovalchuk's now-rejected 17 yr/$102M contract.  Though many still hold out hope that some daft GM will take Brian Rolston off our hands, the general consensus seemed to be that Bryce Salvador and Dainius Zubrus, as the big contracts without NTCs, were the most likely to go. 

Some argued that if the Devils promoted certain prospects and carried a bare minimum number of players on their roster, they could get away with trading/waiving Salvador only and get under the cap by a hair.  It seems that given the $6,666,667 cap hit of the contract that Kovalchuk and the Devils submitted yesterday for league approval, any possibility of trading Salvador alone to get under the cap is gone.  So how far will the Devils have to go in their salary dump to get under the cap this year, and what additional implications might Kovalchuk's contract have next offseason?

If Kovalchuk's contract is approved by the NHL, the Devils' cap situation would look like:

Player 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013
Ilya Kovalchuk $6,666,667 $6,666,667 $6,666,667
Patrik Elias $6,000,000 $6,000,000 $6,000,000
Brian Rolston $5,062,500 $5,062,500
Jason Arnott $4,500,000 UFA
Travis Zajac $3,887,500 $3,887,500 $3,887,500
Dainius Zubrus $3,400,000 $3,400,000 $3,400,000
Zach Parise $3,125,000 RFA
Jamie Langenbrunner $2,800,000 UFA
David Clarkson $2,666,666 $2,666,666 $2,666,666
Vladimir Zharkov $850,000 RFA
Rod Pelley $550,000 $550,000
P-L Letourneau-Leblond $525,000 $525,000
13th Forward $0
Forward Total $40,033,333
Anton Volchenkov $4,250,000 $4,250,000 $4,250,000
Henrik Tallinder $3,375,000 $3,375,000 $3,375,000
Colin White $3,000,000 $3,000,000
Bryce Salvador $2,900,000 $2,900,000
Andy Greene $737,500 UFA
Mark Fraser $500,000 RFA
7th Defenseman $0
Defense Total $14,762,500
Martin Brodeur $5,200,000 $5,200,000
Johan Hedberg $1,500,000 UFA
Goaltender Total $6,700,000
Andrew Peters $166,667 $166,667
Jay Pandolfo $833,333 $833,333
Buyout Total $1,000,000
Total Cap Payroll $62,495,833
Bonuses $740,000
Cap Ceiling 59,400,000
Cap Space -$2,355,833

 

At this point, permit me to make a few assumptions.  First, let me assume that Zach Parise will be re-signed, and will be given a contract comparable to Kovalchuk's, i.e. a $6,666,667 cap hit for a very long time.  There is definitely a possibility that Parise does not want to commit his entire career to the club and will seek a shorter contract (think 3-5 yrs) at a much higher cap hit (potentially $7.5 million or more).  For now, let's keep it at the same cap hit as Kovalchuk.

I will also make the assumption that Andy Greene will be re-signed, and at a cap hit somewhere between Tallinder's and Volchenkov's.  As it currently stands, Greene is our only truly offensive defenseman and may in fact be more valuable than both, but he's really only got one good season under his belt and is not as much of a "known quantity" as Volchenkov is.  For argument's sake let me set his cap hit in 2011-2012 and beyond at $3.75 M, just about halfway between Tallinder and Volchenkov and if you think he should be paid more or less we can consider those possibilities later.

Finally, given the steep raises that need to be given to Parise and Greene, let me assume that Jason Arnott will not be re-signed and that Josefson will be groomed this year to take his place as 2nd line center next year.  Whether you think Tedenby or Henrique will make the team over Josefson is of little consequence to the cap as their cap hits are all within $60,000 of each other.  The bottom line is that the Devils need a skilled prospect to step into a spot in the top-9 forwards in the event that one of the current veteran forwards is traded.

These assumptions, plus another that the cap ceiling is raised another 5% next season, gives us this situation:

Player 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013
Ilya Kovalchuk $6,666,667 $6,666,667 $6,666,667
Patrik Elias $6,000,000 $6,000,000 $6,000,000
Brian Rolston $5,062,500 $5,062,500
Jason Arnott $4,500,000 $0
Travis Zajac $3,887,500 $3,887,500 $3,887,500
Dainius Zubrus $3,400,000 $3,400,000 $3,400,000
Zach Parise $3,125,000 $6,666,667 $6,666,667
Jamie Langenbrunner $2,800,000 UFA
David Clarkson $2,666,666 $2,666,666 $2,666,666
Jacob Josefson $900,000 $900,000 $900,000
Vladimir Zharkov $850,000 RFA
Rod Pelley $550,000 $550,000
P-L Letourneau-Leblond $525,000 $525,000
Forward Total $40,933,333 $36,325,000
Anton Volchenkov $4,250,000 $4,250,000 $4,250,000
Henrik Tallinder $3,375,000 $3,375,000 $3,375,000
Colin White $3,000,000 $3,000,000
Bryce Salvador $2,900,000 $2,900,000
Andy Greene $737,500 $3,750,000 $3,750,000
Mark Fraser $500,000 RFA
7th Defenseman $0 $0
Defense Total $14,762,500 $17,275,000
Martin Brodeur $5,200,000 $5,200,000
Johan Hedberg $1,500,000 UFA
Goaltender Total $6,700,000 $5,200,000
Andrew Peters $166,667 $166,667
Jay Pandolfo $833,333 $833,333
Buyout Total $1,000,000 $1,000,000
Total Cap Payroll $63,395,833 $59,800,000
Bonuses $740,000 $0
Cap Ceiling $59,400,000 $62,370,000
Cap Space -$3,255,833 $2,570,000

 

I have kept 2011-2012 bonuses as 0 here because I can't predict whether Zharkov and Hedberg will earn their bonuses and because it's hard to predict which players will make the team in 2011-2012 and what their bonuses will consist of.

In 2010-2011, the Devils need to clear over $3.25 M in cap space even without carrying a 7th defenseman.  If they went with a truly bare minimum lineup consisting of 12 forwards, 6 defensemen, and 2 goalies, they could technically get away with trading only Zubrus, but such a strategy is fraught with risk. Promoting a league-minimum player like Sestito instead of Josefson could earn you enough cap space to carry Eckford or Taormina as a 7th defenseman.  Arguably, that would move Zharkov up to the top-9 and Sestito would play with Pelley and PL3 on the 4th line, but at cost of possibly hindering the development of a player ready for the big time, such as Josefson, Tedenby, Urbom, or Corrente.  It would also leave the Devils with a hole at center, likely forcing them to play Rolston at 3rd line center (eeek) or splitting up Arnott and Elias and having Elias play center again.  Thus it becomes a stretch to think that Josefson WON'T make the team.

Supposing Zubrus is the only one traded, in 2011-2012 the Devils will have $5.97 M in cap space to add 3-4 forwards, 1-2 defensemen, and 1 backup goaltender - a minimum of 5 players.  Supposing that Tedenby and Urbom/Corrente will be 2 of those 5 players, accounting for a $1.745 M cap hit but a $310,000 bonus that can be deferred to 2012-2013, the Devils will have $4.535 M in space for 3 players and a top-9 forward corps consisting of Parise, Kovalchuk, Elias, Rolston, Zajac, Clarkson, Josefson, Tedenby, plus someone else.  In that situation, re-signing Langenbrunner for something close to a $3 M cap hit would leave the Devils with about $1.5M with one forward and one D needing to be signed and no third-line center.  They could certainly let Langenbrunnner walk away and sign a good third-line center for $3 M or less - or even re-sign Arnott, since his cap hit is likely to go down from what it is now.

So all in all, trading away Zubrus alone (or loaning him to, say, the KHL the way Chicago did with Huet) could theoretically do the job, but would leave the Devils in a very precarious situation carrying a 20-man roster for two straight seasons; would be dependent on the progress of top prospects like Josefson, Tedenby, Urbom, and Corrente; and would force the Devils to carry, as part of their bare-minimum 20-man roster in 2011-2012, three near-league-minimum forwards (Pelley, Leblond, and one more - potentially Zharkov if he agrees to it), one cheap Dman (Corrente would fit under the cap if the 12th forward is close to $500K than $750K.

I don't think it's wise to be so tight up against the cap and I think both Salvador and Zubrus must go, but I'm curious what you all think.  Is trading Salvador the ONLY viable option for clearing more space?  How might the Devils fill in the hole on defense if Salvador is traded?  Will the Devils have to make an additional trade in 2011, and what might they be able to do?  Do you think Parise and Greene will make more or less than what was assumed here?

All FanPosts and FanShots are the respective work of the author and not representative of the writers or other users of In Lou We Trust.

SB Nation Featured Video
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join In Lou We Trust

You must be a member of In Lou We Trust to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at In Lou We Trust. You should read them.

Join In Lou We Trust

You must be a member of In Lou We Trust to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at In Lou We Trust. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker