October 13, 2009
Salary Cap Conundrums: Washington and Chicago
This is a pretty rare book from 1937. Harold Sherman's The Hockey Spare was one of many hockey stories he wrote. Others included Nip And Puck (1925) Bullet Joe, Goalie (1928), The Puck Feeder (1931), The Ice Scorcher (1932), The Penalty Box (1932) and A Hothead On Ice (1938).
The Hockey Spare is exactly what Michael Nylander has become. He has been a healthy scratch for every game this season. He was in coach Bruce Boudreau's doghouse all of last year, and clearly on the outs this season. Rumors persist that the Capitals are trying to exile him to Russia with Jaromir Jagr's team.
Which somehow apparently allows the Caps to wipe his salary from the salary cap, which is good for them as they have very little room to spare. According to NHLNumbers.com, Nylander's cap number is the third highest on the Caps, with his $4.875M hit only behind Alexander Ovechkin's and Mike Green's. Nylander's actual salary paid out this season, his final season under this contract, is actually $3M.
Chicago In A Pinch
Everyone is lauding the Chicago Blackhawks for the abundance of young talent they've accumulated. But they are going to pay next summer.
NHLNumbers.com shows that as the roster stands right now, the Hawks are committed to more than $43M next season. Assuming the salary cap stays the same as this year's $56.8M, that leaves only about $13.5M to sign free agents.
A couple of problems - $13.5M is not a lot of cap space when the Hawks have 10 RFA and 2 UFAs next summer. To make matters worse, the RFAs include the Hawks' three key young players, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and captain Jonathan Toews. Those three could easily eat up the $13.5M, and the Hawks still need 6 more players to ice a team.
Even more interesting - the $56.8M cap is widely expected to come down next year, possibly as much as by $10M.
That's going to make for some fascinating decisions coming out of Chicago before October 1st, 2010. They can not possibly be surprised by all of this, so they either have a plan or are incredibly short sighted. It certainly makes the Marian Hossa UFA signing in 2009 ($7.9M cap hit) and Brian Campbell UFA signing in 2008 ($7.14M) that much more curious.