Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington all find themselves up against the salary cap after making moves during the free agent frenzy. Who could be on their way out to provide the teams with a little wiggle room?
The Chicago Blackhawks addressed their need for an affordable second-line center by signing Brad Richards to a one-year, $2-million contract. The signing, however, means they’ll have to shed salary before the season opens in October.
CSNChicago’s Tracey Myers reports the Richards signing (as well as Peter Regin’s one-year, $650,000 contract) pushes the Blackhawks above the $69-million cap by more than $2 million. Under CBA rules a team can spend up to 10 percent over the cap ceiling during the off-season but must become cap compliant when the season opens.
GM Stan Bowman told Myers they had some ideas how to address the issue, believing it will “play itself out over the summer as we prepare for training camp.”
One way could be demoting players like Regin, Jeremy Morin ($800,000) and David Rundblad ($785,000). Another is via trade. Winger Patrick Sharp ($5.9 million per season) was the subject of trade chatter leading up to the start of the free agency period, but his agent recently denied his client was available. Defensemen Johnny Oduya ($3.38 million) or Nick Leddy ($2.7 million) could also become trade candidates.
UMBERGER TO GO?
The Philadelphia Flyers are another club in need of shedding salary this summer. They currently sit over the $69 million cap by $1.2 million. While they’ll get cap relief when the season begins by placing Chris Pronger ($4.9 million) on long-term injured reserve, it gives them little room to fill out the remainder of their roster.
CSNPhilly’s Tim Panaccio reports Flyers GM Ron Hextall recently attempted to trade center Vincent Lecavalier to the Nashville Predators. The deal fell through when the Predators were unwilling to pick up the full value of his contract. Lecavalier has four years left on his contract worth $4.5-million annually.
Another option is a contract buyout. A report in the Philadelphia Daily News suggested buying out winger R.J. Umberger, who the Flyers acquired last month by shipping Scott Hartnell to Columbus. Umberger, 32, has three years on his contract at a cap hit of $4.6 million per season.
Such a move would be at two-thirds the remaining value of the contract over twice the remaining term. It would cost the Flyers $1.6 million per season against their cap over the first three years, then $1.5-million annually for the remaining three.
IS GREEN A GONER?
With the Washington Capitals additions of defensemen Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik via free agency, is there still room on their blueline for Mike Green?
The signings of Niskanen (seven-years, $40.25 million) and Orpik (five-years, $27.5 million) leaves the Capitals with just more than $1 million in cap space. While that’s sufficient wiggle room to start the season, it could become an issue over the course of the 2014-15 campaign.
Prior to the start of the free-agent frenzy ESPN ‘s Craig Custance suggested Green could become a trade target of clubs that lost out in the bidding for this summer’s best free-agent defensemen. CSNWashington’s Chuck Gormley reports Capitals GM Brian MacLellan insists Green still remains part of the club’s future.
Green, 28, has one season remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $6 million, as well as a modified no-trade clause. If he has a future with the Capitals it could be a short one.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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(Editor’s note: Mike Green’s name was corrected in a later edit of this feature. We regret the error.)