Tag:Salary Cap
Posted on: November 4, 2010 8:35 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2010 8:35 pm

Brayden Schenn: Destined for the "Dub"

The next game Brayden Schenn plays for the Los Angeles Kings will be his ninth. Significant because that is the last game he can play this year before Kings management needs to decide whether to return him to his junior club or have this season count as the first against his entry level contract (ELC).

Earlier in the week, Kings’ management stated that they did not know what they would do and they would meet once he played his ninth game. They said all the nice standard comments, such as, “we’re going to keep our best players.” I’m sure they will, however, in this cap era, it isn’t just your best players, it’s your best players at prices that make sense.

The money is what I believe will drive their decision, and I believe the decision will be to send him back to Brandon, his junior club. Is it because that is the best place for him to develop? No. The best place for him is the AHL, but thanks to the rule governing CHL rights, that isn’t an option for Schenn. The reason he will be back in Brandon is money. His ELC calls for a cap hit of over $3 million thanks to his high draft position and unfortunately the ten or so minutes a night he is playing on the fourth line does not justify that large of a cap hit. Additionally, it does not make good fiscal sense to blow the first year of his ELC on fourth line duty. The Kings are better served waiting a year until he can take the place of Michal Handzus, who’s contract, and $4 million cap hit, is up after this season.

Follow me on Twitter: @Ed_Welsh

Category: NHL
Posted on: October 29, 2010 10:05 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2010 3:29 pm

Patrik Elias - The $6 million man

Much has been made about the New Jersey Devils cap problems this season. The media attention that was given to their playing with less than 18 skaters for a couple of games was much more than when the Calgary Flames did the same for the last 5 games a couple of seasons ago. All of the attention due to the mega contract given to Ilya Kovalchuk in the offseason. However, to say that the Kovalchuk contract is the main reason for the Devils cap issues is naive at best.

Kovalchuk’s contract pays him an average salary, and therefore cap hit, of $6.67 million per year. Compared to other players with his offensive acumen, that really isn’t out of line. Kovalchuk is in his prime and the DEvils are getting production from him. There is one player on the Devils who’s contract is a cap tragedy at this point given his performance for the first 10 games of the season, Patrik Elias.

Elias’ contract brings a cap hit of $6 million, only about 10% less than Kovalchuk’s. Elias is 34 years old which is not ancient, but is on the other side of his career for sure. Now for $6 million per year, one would expect top line production and value from a player. Elias’ performance thus far has been anything but top line.

Through 10 games, Elias has only scored one goal and added three assists. These numbers prorate to an eight goal, twenty-four assist season. For a player that has never scored less than 17 goals in a season in which he played 40 or more games, that is unacceptable. Even more troubling is Elias’ plus minus. He is currently a -9 in 10 games. He hasn’t been a minus player since he was a minuns four in only seventeen games way back in 1996-97. His current performance would prorate to a -72 for the entire season. Now, no one would believe he would finish there, but the current number is absolutely terrible. 

People can question the Kovalchuk contract all they want, but one thing is clear. The Devils are getting far less for their money out of Elias and his $6 million dollars per year. 

Follow me on Twitter: @Ed_Welsh

Posted on: October 25, 2010 8:39 pm

Small contracts can be bad contracts, too

There has been a lot of publicity about teams up against the salary cap and the large contracts that got them there. In Chicago, there was Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet, with Huet being shipped overseas to dump his contract. Long time veteran Wade Redden is playing in the AHL with Hartford so the Rangers could clear his $6.5 million cap hit. And most recently, the Devils played with only 15 skaters thatnks in large part to the high contracts of Ilya Kovalchuk and Brian Rolston.

However, there have been a few contracts given out this season that were quite puzzling and, despite their relative low value, can be a significant contributor to a team having limited cap space with which to work.

While all the talk about the Devils player shortage earlier this year was about Kovlachuk and Rolston, I for one saw the contract that was given to Johan Hedberg this offseason as a contributing factor. While it is only for $1.5 million per season, had New Jersey signed a backup goaltender for a more appropriate price, they would have been able to afford calling up a player or two to help alleviate their roster shortage. I am not saying that Johan Hedberg is not good enough to earn $1.5 million, rather, the backup to Marty Brodeur, a 70 game per season goaltender, should not be one of the highest paid backups in the league. Of the 61 goaltenders on starting day rosters, Hedberg makes more money than 29 of them. For a position that will most likely play less than 20 games, that is way too much.

Another contract that was significantly too much money for the player acquired was the deal given to Derek Boogaard by the Rangers. Boogaard is nothing more than an enforcer, yet the average value of his contract is $1.825 million per season. This is three times as much money as was given to Raitis Ivanans, another enforcer that fulfills the same role for his club, the Calgary Flames. Most enforcers make between $600 and $800 thousand per season. That extra million dollars per season could be used much more wisely somewhere else on the roster, although the Rangers have never proven themselves as shrewd cap managers.

These are only tow of quite a few deals that, while smaller in value, can contribute to a team’s inability to field the best team possible in this new cap era of hockey.

Follow me on Twitter: @Ed_Welsh

Posted on: October 18, 2010 6:40 am

Thornton's Deal a Cap Home Run

Joe Thornton recently signed a 3 year, $21 million extension with the San Jose Sharks. It’s a lot of money for just one guy, but it is a genius move by Sharks GM Doug Wilson. Here’s why:
First, it is an average annual salary of $7 million. Seems like a lot of money; however, it actually represents a $200K a year savings against the salary cap. That’s not a ton of extra space when the cap is close to $60 million. But when Devin Setoguchi needs to be resigned in the offseason, any additional space will be a blessing.
Second, and much more importantly, is the term of the contract: 3 years. This is significant because of Thornton’s current age: 31. This means that the extension will expire, and a new contract signed, when he is 34 years old. This protects San Jose from the restrictions placed on a contract signed by a player 35 years of age or older. It is this reason that Wilson was so shrewd in his architecture of this deal. He will now be free to sign Thornton to a 6 year contract with potentially lean years dollar wise in the last 2 years with no fear of the contract counting against the cap should Thornton decide to retire before the contract is fulfilled.
Another great move for Doug Wilson, as the Sharks will be primed to successfully navigate the salary cap and field competitive teams for years to come.
Follow me on Twitter: @Ed_Welsh
Category: NHL
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