Vegas In Trouble – Can Montreal Help?

Admittedly, I am no capologist. In fact, like many hockey fans, I pretty much rely solely on Capfriendly.com when it comes to salary cap issues. Fact is that it has become a very complex but crucial part of hockey in a salary cap era. Any little mistake can get a team in a world of trouble.

The Vegas Golden Knights have just found that out the hard way. They traded Evgenii Dadonov but were apparently unaware that he had a modified no-trade clause when the traded him to the Anaheim Ducks at trade deadline. And it so happened that the Ducks were one of the teams where he wouldn’t accept to be traded to. Ouch. The NHL didn’t catch that. Double-ouch! They had to cancel the trade. Triple-ouch!!!

Cap trouble

Now because of it, Vegas, a team already picking into their Long Term Injury Reserve (LTIR), cannot reactivate some of their own players. While few will shed a tear for a team that has been given every opportunity to win as an expansion team, it remains a serious issue. No one benefits from it. Not players, not the fans, and certainly not the team. In the meantime, the NHL takes yet another shot at its rapidly fading credibility.

At the time of writing this, the Golden Knights are shining with a cap hit of $92,522,752. The cap limit is $81.5 million. And here’s their list of players on the Injury Reserve (IR) and on the LTIR, a total of seven players. They currently have $1,130,833 available under the LTIR.

IR

  • Pacioretty $7M
  • Lehner $5M
  • Smith $5M
  • McNabb $2.5M

LTIR

  • Stone $9.5M
  • Martinez $5.25M
  • Bischoff $750k

To make matters worse, as trade deadline is passed and gone, the team can’t trade players to make room anymore. In fact, it’s not totally true. They can trade players but the players involved cannot play in both the regular season or in the playoffs for the rest of the season. If they tried to trade Dadonov, he couldn’t play for his new team. You can imagine that the NHLPA would be all over that if it happened.

Possible solution?

So the Golden Knights (and the NHL) will have to be creative in order to get out of that jam. Admittedly, I don’t know all of the ramification involved by doing so, the limits and so on. But perhaps they can trade for a contract on the LTIR to allow them to get deeper into it?

I have compiled a list of players on LTIR ($2.5M or more) across the NHL. Some of those players will come back, others will never play again, which will be an important factor. I didn’t take into consideration players listed on the regular IR (Injured Reserve). Only those on the Long Term Injury Reserve (LTIR).

PLAYERTEAMCAP HITEXPIRY
Shea WeberMTL$7.86M25-26
Ryan KeslerANA$6.86M21-22
Brent SeabrookTBL$6.86M23-24
Ryan EllisPHI$6.25M26-27
Dustin BrownLAK$5.88M21-22
Jake MuzzinTOR$5.63M23-24
Jason ZuckerPIT$5.50M22-23
Ben BishopDAL$4.92M22-23
*Sean CouturierPHI$4.33M21-22
Oscar KlefbomEDM$4.17M22-23
Jake GardinerCAR$4.05M22-23
Andrew ShawCHI$3.90M21-22
Connor MurphyCHI$3.85M25-26
Micheal FerlandVAN$3.50M22-23
Carl HagelinWAS$2.75M22-23
Sean WalkerLAK$2.65M23-24
Tucker PoolmanVAN$2.50M24-25

* then $7.75M until 29-30

Then again, NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman wrote this in his 32 Thoughts. He was referring to the Minnesota Wild, but the same applies to Vegas.

  1. A lot of feedback to our podcast bit about Shea Weber’s contract and whether or not it would make sense for Minnesota. The answer, according to several capologists consulted for this blog, is no — and don’t expect the Wild to do it. “You do not want to be in long-term injury, over the cap, for years and years,” one said. “There’s nothing good about that.” It prevents you from accruing space, robs you of flexibility. (I didn’t realize you can’t trade for a player on LTIR without activating him first. That would be problematic for most.) There is also the question of whether or not Minnesota could put together a full roster before putting Weber’s contract on long-term at the start of the season. So, what seemed like a creative idea was anything but that.
  2. Don’t be surprised, however, if Weber’s $7.6 million cap hit for the next four seasons is traded to a team looking to hit the floor. It’s $6 million of actual cash, total.

Could Shea Weber be an option for the Golden Knights? Desperate times call for desperate measures. But then again, the Canadiens have a $10.5M goalie trying to come back this season and they too are over the cap. What would trading Weber’s contract do to the Habs’ cap? I sincerely don’t know. What a mess…

More reading…

Trade Deadline Changes The NHL Must Implement

Focus On The Draft – Different Approaches by Bob Trask

Getting To Know The New Habs

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