After acquiring Dave Bolland and Pavel Datsyuk in separate trades this summer, the Arizona Coyotes could be in a position to conceivably carry nearly $18MM – once Chris Pronger’s $4.935MM cap hit is added – on their salary cap for three players who won’t be suiting up for the this year. All told, the Coyotes will pay out just $1.675 in actual salary for those players (Pronger is set to earn $575K in the final season of a long-term arrangement he originally signed with Philadelphia, while the insurance policy on Bolland’s contract will cover all but $1.1MM once he is placed on LTIR). These maneuverings have allowed Arizona to easily cross the salary cap floor while at the same time limiting the actual salary obligations; not an unimportant factor for a small market, budget team.
In a piece appearing on Today’s Slapshot, Craig Morgan asked NHL deputy commissioner if Arizona’s handling of the salary cap was a growing concern for the league. Surprisingly, Daly indicated the league did not feel the Coyotes were exploiting a “loophole,” in the CBA while still leaving open the possibility the NHL could look to address the matter in future bargaining with the player’s union.
“I would say that it’s a matter that we monitor, like all other areas of the CBA (collective bargaining agreement), and if we believe it starts to be abused in a way that is inconsistent with how the system is designed to work, at that point, we would try to correct it in collective bargaining with the union. I would say we aren’t at that point on this issue — we do not view it as the loophole that some describe it as.”
While most teams utilize their available cap space to sign or trade for players from other organizations, or to extend their own players, Coyotes GM John Chayka is using Arizona’s as a method to add more quality young talent to what is already considered a strong group of prospects. It’s simply good business and soon enough Chayka’s talent-acquisition strategies will start paying off on the ice for the Coyotes.
Elsewhere in the Pacific Division…
- Patrick Marleau has spent the entirety of his excellent 18-year NHL career with the San Jose Sharks; a career which has seen the forward tally 481 regular season goals and 1,036 points. Marleau’s name has shown up in trade rumors on more than one occasion during his time in the Bay Area, most recently last season, but nothing has ever come of it. Yet, as Joey Alfieri of Pro Hockey Talk writes, the 2016-17 campaign will, in all probability, be the final one of Marleau’s storied Sharks career. As Alfieri points out, Marleau is in the final year of his contract and the team has several younger options on the LW – Mikkel Boedker, Tomas Hertl and Nikolay Goldobin – under team control for the next several seasons. Even if Marleau is willing to take a discount on the $6.66MM he is earning this season, the Sharks are far more likely to prioritize re-signing Brent Burns and Joe Thornton, both of whom are also scheduled to reach free agency next summer.
- The Calgary Flames recently reached agreement with one of their top players, Sean Monahan, inking the restricted free agent to a monster seven-year deal worth $44.6MM. That’s quite an investment for a player just coming off his ELC but as the Calgary Sun’s Kristen Odland writes, Monahan is already well worth the financial commitment. She points out that he has produced more offense than other pivots comparable in age and who have also recently signed extensions. As good as Monahan is he may not even be the best player on his team. That distinction might belong to winger Johnny Gaudreau, a restricted free agent who remains unsigned. Inevitably the Flames will also get Gaudreau under contract but it will be interesting to see how his contract compares to that of Monahan’s.