Monday, July 17, 2006


Cap Watch - Local Edition

Here's a look at the cap/roster situation for the Canadian teams in the Northwest Division (click to enlarge):

I've used the same source numbers as Andy basically, but note the following:
I think it's interesting that the three teams are essentially in very different situations. The Flames are fairly tight to the cap, but have a full roster. The Oilers have lots of cap room, but need to fill out (and presumably upgrade) their roster. And the Canucks are fairly tight to the cap, and need to fill out their roster.

I don't envy Dave Nonis a bit. You can't really find fault with any individual move he's made; in fact, some of them have been terrific (I'd give him an A+ on both the Bertuzzi-Luongo trade and the Cloutier trade). But he's in a brutal, brutal position.

If any Canucks fans are wondering why they haven't signed Anson Carter to a deal, the sheet above should make that pretty clear. Even if you get him for $2.5M per season, which has got to be the low end of what he could get:
And you know what the delightful cherry on top of this is? Every one of the contracts that has put them in this position extends through at least 2007-08. (Sami Salo's contract expires after this season, but at $1.5M, he's a bargain).

I suppose what this means for Canucks fans is that if the team is good, then, Whew! Everyone's tied up for at least 2 years, and they get a couple of kicks at the cat. But if they're bad, or mediocre, there's hardly a thing they can do to retool. Developing...


Marc Chouinard has still not been placed on the Canucks official roster yet. Methinks he was acquired to sweeten a trade deal, probably involving Matt Cooke (of the 1.5 million dollar fame).

That will free up a bit of room for the 'Nucks but you are right, it doesn't look pretty.

Considering New Jersey's going to be $8, 9-million higher than Vancouver, I think Nonis will be okay in terms of the cap. His real problems are going to start when this team can't score after the season starts.

I also can't see the team putting anyone in the press box if they're this tight against the cap. (They aren't required to do so.)

You're right about the press box thing James, but I think you need to count one salary there anyway. (It's equivalent to estimating that your team will lose 82 man-games to day-to-day injuries and illnesses, which I think is roughly average).

New Jersey's problems, though, are their own; the Canucks don't get any breaks for only being (say) 4th-most-Fucked in terms of the cap.

It will be interesting, though. If the Canucks start out poorly, the ONLY plausible option as a shake-up is trading Markus Naslund, probably for less than equal value. Can't fire the coach (just hired); can't trade Morrison (overpaid); don't WANT to trade anyone else (i.e. all the guys they just signed to good deals). Like I say, developing...

A salary dump for a guy like Matt Cooke would probably give them enough flexibility to do something.

As I said, Nonis's big problem is that his collection of talent isn't all that great, not that it has put him up against the cap.

As I said, Nonis's big problem is that his collection of talent isn't all that great

It isn't all that bad, either.

Wow. Even if all three RFAs sign for $500K more than estimated (it could happen with at least one), we're still looking at $6-7M (leaving $2-3M cap flexibility) to upgrade two forward and two D positions. Assume those two Fs are going to be rookies/AHLers, which can't up things by more than about $1M total, then we can take on a massive salary dump from one of the cap-fucked teams.

Now, it's really just a matter of getting the RFAs signed and figuring out what we have in terms of space. And it's not like we can't use, say, $3-4M now and save the rest for another deadline orgy like last year.

It isn't all that bad, either.

Perhaps, but I can't quite figure out who will fill out the empty right wing slots there. If Brendan Morrison can't earn his salary, the Sedins are going to have to produce the bulk of the offence with whoever they're paired with.

The defence is also going to rely on guys like Bourdon and Krajicek for fairly substantial minutes.

The Flames lineup looks far better.

I hate to say it, but I think Naslund's got to go - I like the idea of trading him to Philadelphia for Simon Gagne.

trading him to Philadelphia for Simon Gagne

I can see how swapping Gagne for Naslund gives the Canucks some cap relief without surrendering too much net offensive talent, but there's no way Clarke makes that deal.

Even if he wanted to swap #1 left wings, he has his own cap problems.

Philadelphia, I believe, can afford Naslund.

According to, Philly is sitting at $36.75M with a 20 man roster, not including whatever contract is awarded to Gagne through arbitration - I would guess around 4.5-$5M per.

Nonis might consider sweetening the deal by throwing in one of the numerous goalie prospects the Canucks have, that are now more expendeble with the long-term signing of Luongo.

Anyways, I realize this is neither the time nor place for this discussion, I just do not see how the Canucks can ice a competitive team with both Luongo & Naslund's huge contracts.

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