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$60 million cap? Here are 10 teams that could be in trouble

Dec 11, 2012, 12:27 PM EDT

Los Angeles Kings v Vancouver Canucks - Game One Getty Images

The NHL has reportedly proposed a salary cap of $60 million for the 2013-14 season. If that’s where it ends up (down from the $70.2 million mark for 2012-13) and there are no amnesty buyouts, scalpels will need to be taken to a number of rosters.

Here are 10 teams that may need serious surgery (numbers via CapGeek.com):

Vancouver Canucks ($55.4 million, 13): They won’t have Roberto Luongo’s $5.3 million hit, but signing Alex Edler could be interesting. Keith Ballard and David Booth, two Mike Gillis acquisitions, stand out in the underachiever category.

Montreal Canadiens ($60.2 million, 16): And PK Subban still doesn’t have a contract. Habs fans don’t need to be told that Scott Gomez and Tomas Kaberle account for more than $11 million of cap space.

Philadelphia Flyers ($57.5 million, 16): Will get some relief if Chris Pronger remains on IR, but then they won’t have Pronger. Bit of a double-edged sword there.

Boston Bruins ($57.4 million, 16 players): Marc Savard will likely remain on LTIR, but Tuukka Rask is a pending RFA.

Tampa Bay Lightning ($57.4 million, 15): Vincent LeCavalier, signed through 2019-20 with a $7.7 million cap hit. Not getting any younger either. Turned 32 in April.

Pittsburgh Penguins ($52.6 million, 15): Fortunately Evgeni Malkin isn’t UFA until 2014-15.

San Jose Sharks ($54.3 million, 14): Patrick Marleau’s $6.9 million hit stands out. It’s not like there haven’t been trade rumors.

Chicago Blackhawks ($57.2 million, 17): If Corey Crawford doesn’t bounce back, upgrading the goaltending could be a challenge.

Minnesota Wild ($51.1 million, 16): Dany Heatley is signed through 2013-14 for a $7.5 million hit. Any takers?

Los Angeles Kings ($49.4 million, 13): Most of their key guys are locked up, though Rob Scuderi may have to move on.

We can’t help but think there will be some sort of amnesty provision put into place that will soften the transition, but it won’t alleviate the pain altogether.

  1. phillyphanatic77 - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    This is one of those articles that means absolutely nothing if there is no season. If there’s a miracle and the two sides magically come to their senses (extremely unlikely) then I’ll be concerned about the Flyers cap situation. If we miss another season then Timmonen’s $6+ million comes off the books and if they include an amnesty clause we can clear Bryz’s huge contract, leaving plenty of room (with Prongers LTIR exception) to resign Giroux to a long-term deal. That is if they ever agree to max contract length. Plus Briere’s bulbous contract comes off after next season, so the Flyers will have room to re-up Schenn and Couturier.

    • dougreale - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      i wish i could give this more than one “thumbs down”

      • phillyphanatic77 - Dec 11, 2012 at 10:35 PM

        What’s so illogical about it? The salary cap situation of each of these teams will be different if there is no season. Nothing I said about the Flyers and their expiring contracts is inaccurate.

    • woodstakes - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      Long term? Oh you mean 5 yrs.. thats right nvm!

      • phillyphanatic77 - Dec 11, 2012 at 10:31 PM

        Yeah that’s what I mean, if that’s the agreed upon maximum length. There’s been plenty of pundits who have noted the NHLPA could insist on a 6 or 7 year max, or that the 5 year limit only apply to free agents switching teams to create some parity in the free agent market. And that the max for resigning players could be 6-7 years.

  2. ironmike778 - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Get a load of that LeCavalier contract. Through 2019-20?? Sounds a hundred years away.

  3. lordfletcher - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    I am sorry but the Wild will have zero cap issues next year (2013-14). Take them off the list.

    PMB and Backstrom will be gone and or will be taking massive discounts to stay. The Wild can shuffle around the roster to easily make this work

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:04 PM

      Plus, Heatley’s gonna be worth every penny when he returns to his old form.

      • lordfletcher - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:32 PM

        I agree. Heatley with a defense that can help get the puck up the ice compared to what he has been dealing with here in MN, will be a huge asset to him scoring points (the additon of Suter along with the younger players growing). With Koivu and Parise, Heater “should” shine or atleast put up points that will make Fletcher want Heater to retire a Wild. Have heard nothing but the best about him being a great locker room guy and Suter reached out to him about MN this summer… The Wild will have to move someone, but it won’t be Heatley, and by having an incredible amount of prospects right now, they can call a few up next year to save on payroll… Once 2014-15-16 rolls around, they can start signing these prospects to long – longer term deals seeing as they will have plenty of $$$$$$ to spend by then.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Dec 11, 2012 at 9:03 PM

        Speaking of assets, if there is no hockey season, you’d have to assume the Wild will have a top 10 if not top 5 draft pick to add more young talent. Last lockout saw every team have 1 ping pong ball and for every year they missed the playoffs the past 2 seasons you got an extra ping pong ball, unless you had the first overall pick one year then you didn’t receive the extra. Wild would have the 3 max

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Dec 12, 2012 at 8:32 AM

        I suppose that’s one silver lining there. The Wild could potentially be in the MacKinnon sweepstakes.

  4. islesjb - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    As long as they don’t raise the cap floor, the isles will be good

    • kitshky - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:57 PM

      This is one of my all time favourite PHT comments. *manhug

  5. bmscalise - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    The Pens aren’t in any real trouble either, since they were smart enough to anticipate this. This year, the Pens are at just under $61 million, and their big contracts aren’t changing the following year. (Even Geno’s – and the cap will go up enough in 2014-15 to take care of any slight raise he might get above 8.7 mill that year.) All they need to do is replace guys like Dupuis, Cooke, and Kennedy with comparable or slightly lesser salaries. And guys like Despres and possibly Bennett will be ready or close to ready to play with the big boys.

    It’s for this reason I was relieved that the Pens didn’t make any big signings this off-season. Shero knows the deal.

    And incidentally, I don’t see how the Pens are on here when the Rangers are not. I’m not suggesting that the Rangers are in major trouble cap wise, but they and the Pens have pretty similar #s for 2013-14. And more importantly, the Rangers are going to have some RFAs coming up in the next couple of years that are going to require serious raises, whereas the Pens do not.

    • davebabychreturns - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      The Penguins were so smart in anticipating this that they purposely did a poor job of pursuing free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter so as to avoid cap trouble.. but they did pursue them. Shrewd!

      • bmscalise - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:33 PM

        A running complaint has been the GMs need to be “saved from themselves” when they should be smart enough not to overpay for FAs. Sure, the Pens looked into Parise and Suter – and did a “poor job of pursuing them” precisely because they wouldn’t overpay wildly, as Minny did. They had a limit as to how much they were willing to give – certainly with a potentially reduced cap in mind – and didn’t go over it. I thought this was precisely the type of SHREWD – or simply reasonable and competent – management that people wanted to see? I feel pretty justified in commending it – and commending Shero’s willingness to prioritize.

  6. trick9 - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    I thought with the new CBA teams are no longer allowed to bury players to AHL to avoid their cap hits.

    Surely Rangers would be in a very deep trouble if they had to call Wade Redden back to NHL.

    • kitshky - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:44 PM

      You mean … the new CBA that doesn’t exist yet?

    • stakex - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      Its unlikely that would happen without a buyout clause…. which means they could just buy him out.

      The bigger problem for the Rangers next year is that Stepan, Hagelin, McDonagh all need new contracts… and McDonagh and Stepan could be in for a huge raises. Not to mention Del Zotto doesn’t have a new deal yet.

      Though this doesn’t factor in the almost certain salary rollback that will happen with a new CBA. The numbers will look a lot different once a deal is signed.

  7. joeyashwi - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Solution: League wants more revenue, right? Soft cap with luxury tax put into revenue sharing. Luxury tax of $2 per $1 over cap so teams like Rangers and Leafs can’t just buy championships but gives teams option of making a run if they are one player away. Just a thought.

    • stakex - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:17 PM

      Even without a cap the Rangers couldn’t buy a championship… hell, they couldn’t even buy their way into the playoffs.

      • mrchainbluelightning - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:22 PM

        Swap Rangers with Leafs and you’re spot on, last I checked the Rangers did hoist a Cup in the past 40 years.

    • kitshky - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:22 PM

      @joeyashwi… Absolutely.

      You get a ton of thumbs down for this but I’m with you, if the Owners want to finally fix their problem once and for all they need to be a little more creative than simply asking more from the players over and over again.

      Come up with a solution that is actually A – slightly more creative than “please, oh please restrict your ability to earn a living and save us from ourselves!” and B – will actually ensure the long term health of the league. It’s called responsible revenue sharing …give it a shot kids.

      (and @stakex …exactly, the Rangers and Leafs proved for years you can’t buy a championship, but … spread their luxury tax dollars around and you’re now giving smaller markets with good management a fair crack at it.)

      • valoisvipers - Dec 12, 2012 at 10:19 AM

        Seems to work out quite often for the Yankees.I think Sather and no cap would equal a Championship. Look what the Wild added to their roster this off season with those 2 long term front loaded signing bonus contracts. Unlimited cap space is not healthy for the league as there would only be a handful of teams each year with a real shot at winning and then you would have players like Ray Bourque and many others that will sign with these teams at a discount just to get their Stanley Cup ring.

      • kitshky - Dec 12, 2012 at 8:40 PM

        Sather without a cap would be a disaster … just as he was a disaster without a salary cap before.

        This notion that money brings championships is beyond naive, and totally ignores other reasons why teams have continuous success. Of course it helps and makes it easier , I’m not saying it doesnt, but there are plenty of teams in all sports who spend foolishly and don’t win … ask the Red Sox and Dodgers about how easy it is to buy a championship.

        As well, tell the Florida Marlins that revenue sharing doesnt work .. you know, the team that beat the New York Yankees with an entire payroll that was smaller than what the Yankees paid in luxury tax.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Dec 11, 2012 at 9:07 PM

      That is a god awful idea. We’d turn the NHL into the NBA with their soft cap and have 8 different teams hoist the Cup over the next 30 seasons.

      • kitshky - Dec 12, 2012 at 12:58 AM

        No.

        We’d turn the NHL into MLB … you know the one league with the best relationship between owners and players and where teams that exist almost entirely because of revenue sharing win pennants.

  8. mungman69 - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    What if teams go over the cap. Will they care.

  9. blomfeld - Dec 11, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    “TIL DEATH DO US PART” …

    The issue of Roberto Luongo here in Vancouver, is the perfect “case study” validating the argument against these idiotic “til death do us part” long term contracts ! The details of this particular financial travesty are well known to all, with the fool first signing for 12 years at 64 million and then turning around and quitting on his team less than two years later ! Now thanks to Einstein Gillis, the Canucks are saddled with a Lehman Brothers sized liability, that could potentially ruin their prospects for the next decade ? To put it into perspective, the following is a snapshot of the “opportunity cost” that Luongo’s contract will now put on the organization, regardless of whether he ever plays another game or not. Based on an annual contract cost of $5,000,000 per, the Canucks “must” sell the following just to breakeven on this outrageous liability (ie: COGS or “cost of goods sold” assumed to be 50%) :

    – 50,000 x Team Jerseys ($200 “sell price” per)
    – 325,000 x Parking Passes ($30 per)
    – 1,250,000 x Beer Servings ($8 per)
    – 2,500,000 x Peanut Bags ($4 per)

    Of course this is impossible to attain, as it would necessitate “everyone” at a Canuck’s home game being “stoned drunk” while throwing money at parking attendants like it was confetti ! The bottom line friends, is that long term contracts > 5 years are nothing more than “reckless” speculation. And those parties involved in such contracts are engaging in activity that is “criminal” by virtue of the potentially “hideous” ramifications !

  10. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Dec 11, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    One thing really needs to be pointed out here, and that is the way Lecavalier’s contract is structured:

    Lecavalier will earn $10-million per season in salary and bonuses for the first six seasons of the deal, before dropping to $8.5-million in 2016-2017, $4-million in 2017-2018, $1.5-million in 2018-2019 and $1-million and 2019-2020.

    In other words, it’s going to be REALLY tough on us for the next few years. If we can weather that storm, the final 3 years would be a lot less painful. Vinny may have to take a pay cut(which he has done in the past) in order to make this feasible. Otherwise, we’d better hope there’s a very good amnesty clause.

    • biasedhomer - Dec 12, 2012 at 10:35 AM

      I think the plan is trade Vinny away during the end stage of his career to one of the bottom feeder teams that need to reach the cap floor.

      He’ll have what, a $6M cap hit, but only a $1M salary the final two years, they could easily find someone to take him by ten.

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