We Have A Deal
Wait, Christmas morning? Again? Already?
Waking up to a tentative deal being in place sure is nice.
The idea of being able to see the best of the best, flying around ice-surfaces in major cities across North America warms the cockles of my heart. That said, now that we “know” the season will start in short order, and the certain CBA particulars that will guide the actions of many GMs over this transitional season, there are about as many things up in the air right now as there are hockey players on airplanes.
Letʼs chat about a few.
Hundreds of players will be making travel plans but there are a number of very interesting RFAs that will need to be signed (or moved and signed) in the coming days before they know exactly where to go. Players like PK Subban, Jamie Benn, Ryan OʼReilly, Michael Del Zotto, and Cody Franson headline the list of players to go straight from battling owners to negotiating with managers. As far as restricted free agents go, it is possible that many (if not all) sign deals with their current clubs, but considering most of those deals will likely be longer in term and cap implications for next season are significant, donʼt be surprised if deals involving a handful occur.
Speaking of cap implications, this season remains easier to swallow as teams are being allowed to spend up to roughly $70 million in salary. As we rush into a shortened, frenzied season, this number alleviates at least SOME headaches, leaving the focus centered on playing the game itself and repairing its fractured image. But being lowered by almost $6 million per team for 2013/2014, the cap will have significant influence on what GMs feel they can manage and who they potentially move in/move out. Looking at teams’ varied financial and contractual situations, one could safely predict dramatic movement. Both in numbers and talent involved. Already, there are rumours (some resembling old ones, some new and exciting) being bandied about by fans and analysts alike.
Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf
Anaheim faces many roads coming to a head as retirement possibilities are cemented to the likes of Koivu and Selanne, significant contract extensions await franchise-faces Perry and Getzlaf, and youngsters such as Fowler, Smith-Pelly, and even world junior MVP, Gibson, seek to make varying levels of franchise strongholds. A team in flux, with limited financial wiggle room and an upcoming cap squeeze, is prime for some level of change. As Leaf fans, itʼs hard not to anticipate the friendly interaction history between the two clubs happening again, but just like the last four months of the lockout, itʼs prudent to keep emotions in check. Perry and/or Getzlaf are undeniably of interest to Brian Burke, especially with a favourable financial climate in the big smoke, but it is far from a certainty at this point that either star will be dealt. Other options present themselves, such as Bobby Ryan still being moved, but never the less, the Ducksʼ dressing room will see a shake-up.
The Canuck blueliner is being talked about a lot, as the cap pushing Canuck considers whatʼs undoubtedly coming his way. Entering the final year of his current, economical contract, the 26 year old Edlerʼs healthy, productive 2011/2012 campaign has set him up for a pay day likely in the $5 million per season range. With significant commitments already made to Bieksa, Hamhuis, Ballard and Garrison (3 of which own no-trade clauses), Edler is an asset that could be used in the hopes of acquiring other needed pieces/cheaper options. My thought is that if a deal is to be made with Florida regarding Luongo (and Vancouver wants some top end prospect talent coming back), Edler could very well find himself as part of the transaction. Yes, the Panthers are not a franchise historically fraught with financial abundance, but last year saw them spend in the proper areas, resulting in a solid (and surprising) playoff appearance/run. Perhaps Sunrise Sports and Entertainment has developed a taste for blood.
From the Leafs, other names to keep an eye on include M. Lombardi, C. MacArthur, T. Bozak and C. Gunnarsson. League-wide some interesting names include P. Bouchard, A. Meszaros, R. Clowe, D. Murray, N. Hjalmarsson, K. Alzner, S. Gagner, H. Hemskey, L. Smid, S. Gagne, D. Penner, I. White, S. Mason, D. Brassard, Z. Bogosian, T. Zajac, D. Zubrus, D. Clarkson, P. Hornqvist, P. Stastny, S. Weiss, C. Stewart and S. Gonchar.
Teams that I’m hearing will be active and ready to go with regards to player movement include Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver, New Jersey, Montreal and San Jose
So, howʼs everyone feeling? Excited? Scorned? Hopeful? As the NHL gears up for puck drop, there are so many things coming up that will impact the game (and our team) in the short term and down the road. Hold on tight.