Monday, June 30, 2014

Parenteau for Briere

The Colorado Avalanche and Montreal Canadiens are again trade partners, as we see PA Parenteau and a 5th round pick in 2015 head up North for Daniel Briere.

2014 Season 2015
To Montreal Age Team GP G P Cap Hit
PA Parenteau 31 COL 55 14 33 2 years/$4 million
2015 5th Round Pick
To Colorado
Daniel Briere 36 MTL 69 13 25 1 year/$4 million

Both players were brought on by their now former teams to help the team's offense, giving them veteran boosts, but thanks to injury in 2014, neither player really played a huge part in each team's success.

With both players counting $4 million against the cap, the deal does turn out to be a wash and since the Canadiens are taking on an extra year on Parenteau's deal, it looks like the draft pick is there to compensate for that.

It did sound like both players were potentially on the block during the year last year, but no one really wanted to take a flyer on each of them.  With this deal, it gives both players an opportunity to get refreshed and possibly give a shot to the arm of their careers.

It will definitely be interesting to see if poolies will acknowledge this deal and maybe take a flyer themselves on these guys.  I would imagine that Parenteau would look awfully attractive in Montreal, while depth in Colorado may bump Briere down a little ways.  Briere's playoff pedigree, however, will likely be intriguing to an Avalanche team that fell short in the playoffs after a very good regular season.

Waiving More Defensemen For Buyouts

All three players listed below are not necessarily considered to be hockey pool-type players, but it is worth noting, given that they do have some significant payroll numbers, that they have been waived for the purposes of being bought out. All three are expected to clear waivers before free agency opens at Noon ET on Tuesday and these teams wish to have a little bit more play in their budget when free agency does open.

This also gives me a chance to debut my new team graphics for the upcoming season.  How do they look?

The Calgary Flames placed 30-year old defenseman Shane O'Brien on waivers on Monday morning, as he has one more season left on his deal, coming in at a $2 million cap hit.  O'Brien played in 45 games for the Flames in 2014, only picking up 3 assists in the process.  For a $2 million price tag, there was just no need for him, especially if he was going to spend time in the minors.

O'Brien is expected to use a compliance buyout, the first that the Flames have used in these last couple of seasons.  His buyout will not cost anything against the salary cap over the next couple of years.

The Flames now have a greater distance to make it to the salary cap floor, as they now have 14 players signed on for $39.1 million.  They have to spend $9.9 million just to get to the $50 cap floor, which shouldn't be a problem, given that they have nine roster spots to fill.

The New Jersey Devils hummed and hawed about the prospect of buying out defenseman Anton Volchenkov, who has two more seasons of a $4.25 million cap hit. Volchenkov has never been an offensive defenseman and hardly a hockey pool candidate in his career, rather he is the hard-hitting shut down defenseman, but as a one-dimensional player, his cap hit appears to be quite high.

Volchenkov is also expected to take up a compliance buyout, which would mean the Devils will have used both of their CBA allowed buyouts, which they were given with the new agreement before last year's shortened season.

This will mean that the Devils are down to 15 players on their projected roster, coming in at $54.5 million.  This leaves about $14.5 million to sign up their last eight roster spots.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have already used both of their allotted compliance buyouts, so the move to place veteran defenseman Tim Gleason on waivers for the purposes of buying him out, will mean that Gleason will count against the cap for the next four years. Gleason has two years left on his current deal, which was set to count $4 million against the cap in Toronto. With the proposed buyout, Gleason will now count at around $833,333 in the 2015 season and will fluctuate, due to CBA rules over the next couple of seasons.

In the 2014 season, Gleason played in 56 games, scoring 1 goal and 6 points, ranking 200th among all blueliners in scoring.  Gleason, much like Volchenkov, wasn't really leaned upon for his offensive prowess, but with younger defenders playing such a better two-way game, it squeezes these guys out easily.

With the math done, thanks to good ol' CapGeek, the Leafs are now showing 12 players on their projected roster for $45.8 million, just short of the floor, leaving about $23.2 million for 11 roster spots.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Gagner Bolts to the Desert, Purcell Slides Into Edmonton, Tampa Dumps Hard

2014 Season 2015
To Arizona Age Team GP G P Cap Hit
Sam Gagner 24 EDM 67 10 37 2 years/$4.8 million
B.J. Crombeen 28 TAM 55 3 10 1 year/$1.15 million
To Edmonton
Teddy Purcell 28 TAM 81 12 42 3 years/$4.5 million
To Tampa Bay
2015 6th Round Draft Pick

I always thought that the table to describe the trade was way more elegant than all that wordy typing, don't you think?  I'm so glad it's back.

How about a little complicated trade action to get this party started?  First, the Edmonton Oilers traded forward Sam Gagner to the Tampa Bay Lightning, which brought forward Teddy Purcell up to the Alberta capital.  After the deal was done, the Lightning then flipped Gagner with forward B.J. Crombeen to the Arizona Coyotes for a late round draft pick in 2015.  In the deal between the Lightning and Coyotes, Tampa does end up keeping 1/3 of Gagner's salary, making their cut about $1.6 million and then Coyotes will only have $3.2 million to their books.

First of all, let's look at the guy who was traded twice this evening.  As you can see in the table above, Gagner missed out on 15 games last season, which hurt his overall scoring totals.  He finished 216th overall in pool scoring, which is his lowest rank in the last six seasons, where his peak position is 55th overall.  With the Coyotes recently buying out centre Mike Ribeiro, there is a hole that needed to be filled and since it appears that Edmonton wouldn't deal with Arizona directly, the passing through Tampa Bay appeared to be necessary.  At $4.8 million for each of the next two seasons, Gagner does have the potential to be a real bargain, which is something the Coyotes are really known for finding.

Purcell didn't exactly come out of the gun like a shot, rather it was the move from Los Angeles to Tampa Bay, which ignited his career and made him into a reasonably consistent scorer in the NHL.  Purcell had posted some good numbers in Tampa Bay, including last season's 42 points and for the Oilers, who acquired him, they do get some winger help for their plethora of young centres and he comes in $300,000 lower than Gagner, who they shipped out on Sunday night.  Now it is matter of time to see who Purcell flanks in that young Oilers offense.

The third player in the deal, B.J. Crombeen, who is also heading to Arizona, but only out of Tampa's system, isn't necessarily considered to be a hockey pool-type player.  Bouncing up and down from the minors didn't help his cause much.

The Lightning, through this whole transaction, only end up with a 6th round draft pick in next year's draft, which indicates they were only looking to shift salary.  $5.65 million in cap dollars, to be precise, although, I wasn't necessarily convinced that Crombeen was going to make any difference to the cap any way.

Salary CapFirst up, we'll look at the Coyotes and for what it's worth, I don't peg Crombeen in their projected line-up either, so the numbers won't reflect him until he makes the team.  I have Arizona coming in at $19.8 million left of cap space for eight more roster spots, leaving them in good shape for bargain hunting in the Summer, starting on Tuesday.

As for Edmonton, I have them with $24.9 million remaining for 11 spots on their projected roster, as they really didn't drop that much between Gagner and Purcell.  That doesn't leave the team with much breathing room for adding all those players, as they'll want to add another reasonably expensive ticket item to their roster, which leaves very little for their depth.

The Lightning were able to add over the NHL Entry Draft, so a little bit of subtraction was needed to balance the books, as it were.  The move of Purcell off their projected roster sees them need nine players for a 23-man roster and they have about $14.9 million to fill that out.  Also not much space, but the Bolts do have a lot of their key positions taken, so it may not be so bad.

Blueline Buyouts

On Sunday, the Buffalo Sabres begun the process to buyout Christian Ehrhoff and the remaining seven seasons on his contract.  Ehrhoff was scheduled to have a cap hit of $4 million per season, after signing a free agent deal two Summers ago.  In 2014, Ehrhoff finished 41st among all defensemen in scoring, picking up 6 goals and 33 points in 79 games for a poor Sabres team, so there is a good chance he'll land on his feet with another club down the line.

With only one year left on his deal, at a cap hit of $4.125 million, Ed Jovanovski has had the buyout process made underway by his club, the Florida Panthers, on Sunday.  Jovanovski has not been a factor for the Panthers over the last couple of seasons and in 2014, he finished with 1 goal and 5 points in 37 games.  The 1st overall pick in 1994's Entry Draft has had a decent career, but now at 38 years old, you begin to wonder how much more of a career he may have.

Polak for Gunnarsson

In a review of the second day's news from the NHL Entry Draft on Saturday, there were a few moves, but none bigger for us poolies than the defensemen swap between the St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs.  The Blues sent Roman Polak to the Leafs for Carl Gunnarsson and a 4th round draft pick, where the Blues picked Finnish netminder, Ville Husso.

In Polak, the Leafs get a little grittier, even if he is a little bit smaller than his trade counterpart.  Polak had 4 goals and 13 points in 72 games for the Blues in 2014, which was good enough to be 138th among defensemen in scoring, but there is definitely some belief that with bigger minutes, he could have some more offensive upside.  Polak was a 17-minute man on the ice for the Blues and with Toronto and their projected roster at the moment, he could find himself with some more quality minutes.

Gunnarsson, on the other hand, is considered to be a little bit more in the stay-at-home style of game on the blueline, which keeps him out of trouble, for the most part. On a dynamic Leafs side, he was able to pot 3 goals and 17 points in 80 games, ranking a bit better than Polak, in at 112th among defensemen. Gunnarsson will add some more stability on a blueline, which already carries some offensive potential.

Both players were taken in last year's draft at one point or another and with injury situations the way they were and could be for years to come, these two may see some more time collecting points for us poolies.

Salary CapIt was a straight swap of projected roster players and after the draft, there were some bonus overage calculations done as well, which St. Louis took a hit from. The Blues are now left with roughly $17 million in cap space with 17 players on their projected roster, which includes a $700,000 overage charge from last season's bonuses.

The Leafs were overage free and with this deal actually open up a little bit more cap space, now sitting with about $20 million left in space for 10 more roster spot openings.  The Leafs have openings at every position and should be able to wedge in some more reasonable, cost-efficient talent.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Coyotes to Buy Out Ribeiro

On Friday, the Arizona Coyotes announced that they will be buying out the final three years of the contract for Mike Ribeiro, using one of their two compliance buyouts.  Ribeiro was owed $5.5 million on each of those three seasons left on his deal, but due to some "attitude problems," the team has decided to part ways with the 34-year old centre.

In the 2014 season, Ribeiro finished with 16 goals and 47 points in 80 games for the Coyotes. It wasn't a bad season, ranking 96th among forwards, but it sounds like it is more about the off-ice issues that has him looking for new employment this Summer.

It will be interesting to see where Ribeiro lands, if he lands at all, given the premise of his departure from the Coyotes.  Carrying personal baggage will likely scare off teams, especially given the cap hits and salaries he has had in previous seasons.  It would likely have to be a pretty good pay cut taken to join a new club.

Salary CapThe Coyotes have never been known as a cap ceiling type team in the past, but with new ownership, it will be interesting to see how their chips fall. Nevertheless, with the gain in salary cap room, smaller than originally projected, the team made a little bit more room, clearing out $5.5 million.  I now have the Coyotes projected with 14 players at $23 million, meaning they still have to sign on $27 million to hit the cap floor.  This could mean they'll be players further on in the off-season.

Pens Send Neal to Preds

The Pittsburgh Penguins were rumoured to be shopping forward James Neal leading up to the NHL Entry Draft and on Draft Day, the trigger was pulled and Neal found himself a member of the Nashville Predators after the first day's proceedings.  Neal was sent to Nashville for forwards Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling.

Neal, a 26-year old scoring winger, scored 27 goals and 61 points in 59 games for the Penguins, ranking 56th overall in points, 40th among forwards.  At the end of the day, the new guy in charge, Jim Rutherford, pegged him as a player that could be switched out for other assets and get a reasonable return in a deal.  Neal's contract, which has four years left at $5 million per season, obviously wasn't a sticking point, likely because of such a high offensive upside to his game.

In return, the Penguins didn't do too badly, getting gritty forward Hornqvist and restricted free agent forward Spaling.  Hornqvist, who has a similar deal to Neal, scored 22 goals and 53 points in 76 games last season, ranking him 68th among forwards.  Spaling was a 13-goal scorer last season, ranking 179th in scoring among forwards and is now up for a new deal, which will render the deal a hockey move and not so much a salary dump.

There doesn't seem to be much separating the two big names in the deal, looking at last year's numbers and what would be the harm in trying to find a suitable winger for Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh, while the Predators find some bonafide talent that they have been needing for a while.

Salary CapWell, now I only have projected rosters to talk about, as the salary cap number has been announced for the coming year, coming in low at $69 million.  With the move, which only has one signed player in the deal, gives the Penguins 14 signed players coming in at $54.4 million, giving them only $14.6 million left in cap space.  The Predators, on the other hand, have 18 players signed on, including Neal, and still have $18.1 million left in cap space.  That's good financial sense in Music City.

Canucks Off-load Garrison to Tampa

The Vancouver Canucks were not done with just dealing Ryan Kesler on Friday, as they were also able to move defenseman Jason Garrison to the Tampa Bay Lightning.  As the deal reads, Garrison, the rights to forward Jeff Costello and the Canucks 7th round pick in 2015 goes to Tampa Bay and coming back is the Bolts' 2nd round pick, which will be made tomorrow.

Garrison was a free agent acquisition for the Canucks back in the Summer of 2012 after he came off a 16-goal season with the Florida Panthers.  In 1.5 seasons with the Canucks, thanks to the lockout, Garrison scored 15 goals in 128 games and never really panned out to be the guy that they wanted at a $4.6 million cap hit.

In the 2014 season alone, Garrison scored 7 goals and 33 points in 81 games, which was good enough for 40th among defensemen in points, but there was a definite expectation for more out of the 29-year old rearguard.

Going to Tampa is a reasonably sized package, which includes a prospect and a late-round pick, which covers the cap hit, in theory, for Garrison, as the Lightning are taking the entire salary for the defender.

Salary CapThe addition in Tampa Bay means they have 15 players on their projected roster at $56.7 million, while the Canucks drop down to 16 players at $49 million.  Both teams still have some play for this off-season and I have my doubts that both teams are done at this point.

Kesler Flies South to Disneyland

Is all the player-related drama now done in Vancouver?  On Draft Day Friday, the Vancouver Canucks dealt veteran centre Ryan Kesler and their 2015 3rd round draft pick to the Anaheim Ducks for forward Nick Bonino, defenseman Luca Sbisa, the 24th overall pick tonight and the Ducks' 3rd round pick as well.

The stories of Kesler's discontent in Vancouver around the Sochi Olympics was a pot that was watched intently, occasionally coming to a boil and then simmering back down.  All of that has now come to a head with this deal being completed.

In Kesler, the Ducks will get some more key depth down the middle with a player who has a 40-goal season under his belt.  In the 2014 season, Kesler played in 77 games for the Canucks, scoring 25 goals and 43 points on a team that suffered mightily in the offensive zone all year long.  Kesler finished 148th overall in pool scoring, 107th overall, which is down from his career-best, which was 30th overall in 2011, the year the Canucks went to the Cup Finals.

The Ducks exit from the playoffs to the Kings was a harsh finish to a great year and they obviously identified that depth down the middle was one of their weaknesses.  Hence the acquisition of Kesler.

In return, the Canucks receive a decent package in return, but also has potential to be a lot more.  The package starts with winger Bonino, who had a good year with the Ducks, scoring 22 goals and 49 points in 77 games, playing alongside Ryan Getzlaf for the better part of the year.  Defender Sbisa is 24 years old and has already bounced around a little in the NHL and has yet to realize much potential.  In 2014, he only scored 1 goal in 30 games for the Ducks, playing more in the AHL.

In my mock draft, I had the Ducks taking forward Ryan MacInnis with the 24th overall pick, which suggests that there is still some value to the pick.  With that being said, the Canucks now own the 6th and 24th overall picks, which they may send in a package to Florida to get the 1st overall pick, which has been rumoured around.

Salary CapThe Ducks had some space to burn this off-season, especially after some veterans left to free agency and retirement, so space was not truly at a premium in Anaheim. In everyday cap space, the Ducks may have only taken on an extra $2 million or so, which doesn't hurt their books at all. Heading into the Draft, their projected roster now sits at 17 players at a cap hit of $45.9 million.

For the Canucks, it's $2 million in space that they were able to open up and they acquired another possible roster player.  In adding Sbisa to the projected roster, I have the Canucks now coming in at $53.6 million for 17 players and there sounds like more is going to happen before the end of the weekend, let alone before training camp.

This deal has a lot more to do with the Ducks trying to take advantage of the Stanley Cup window that they are in, more than it is the Canucks re-tooling. This deal won't solve the Canucks' issues, but it could very well make the Ducks into a force that could really give the Kings and Blackhawks a run in the playoffs.  The Canucks have a lot of work to do to get back into the playoff race, let alone be a contender again, but getting their dressing room sorted out was obviously a huge priority and now, hopefully, it has been accomplished with the move.

Blackhawks Re-Sign Two for Depth

The Chicago Blackhawks didn't have a great deal of work to do with their restricted free agent crop, with very few of their key roster players under the age of 27 in need of deals. In actual fact, they really only had two key players that fell into this category and before the Draft on Friday, they were re-signed.

The Blackhawks gave 2-year deals to both forward Ben Smith and goaltender Antti Raanta, taking care of a couple priorities this Summer.  Smith's deal is reportedly worth $3 million and Raanta's is worth $1.5 million, sewing up a couple of key depth players for reasonable cost.

Out of the two, the most pool-worthy is Raanta, who acts as Corey Crawford's back-up in the season.  In the 2014 season, Raanta finished 41st among all goalies in pool scoring, winning 13 games and picking up 29 points on the year.  The 25-year old Finn could act as a decent late-round goaltender option, if you have decided to run with more forwards and defense on your team.

Smith, on the other hand, didn't rank up with the pool-worthy forwards, finishing 215th among his comrades at the position, scoring 14 goals and 26 points in 75 games.  With how the Blackhawks are setup still, it does seem unlikely that his ice-time will improve to help boost his numbers.

Salary CapThe Blackhawks are in cap trouble.  According to their projected roster, I have them in with 19 players and a cap hit of $67.3 million.  They currently have 11 forwards, six defensemen and their goaltending tandem sorted, but they could really use a couple more forwards and a defenseman and we still haven't seen what the final cap number is going to be.

Rumours are abound that Patrick Sharp may be the name that opens up some space in this off-season, as his $5.9 million cap hit may be the easiest to move in a deal.