Cap conundrums spark trade buzz
Some NHL teams make trades because of salary cap restraints. Cap-crunched teams hit with injuries, though, are in a special kind of hell. They get relief this year for players on long-term injured reserve, but the amount by which they go over the cap comes off their limit next year. Some would be better off moving players now. A look at the prime candidates (2010-11 salaries from capgeek.com) :
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
2010-11 salaries: $58,053,790
The situation: Putting Jeff Finger on waivers frees up $3.5 million as of noon Wednesday, giving GM Brian Burke a total of $4 million to play with. In retrospect, Burke was wise to steer clear of Boston's Marc Savard and his headaches, physical and financial.
The solution: Burke can improve his club in small ways. He's done it before, taking G Olaf Kolzig off Tampa's hands along with a fourth-round pick. The Leafs covet Tampa's Ryan Malone ($4.5 million) and New Jersey's Jamie Langenbrunner ($2.8 million).
2010-11 salaries: $62,828,593
The solution: The Devils have to trade players. They are too tight to the cap, only dressing 15 players the other day. Constant rumours have Langenbrunner and Brian Rolston ($5 million) on the trade block.
2010-11 salaries: $59,422,933
The solution: Will trade, but don't have to. G Sergei Bobrovsky ($1.75 million) can be demoted when Leighton returns.
2010-11 salaries: $64,866,662
The situation: They're $5.4 million over the cap but get relief with five players on long-term IR.
The solution: Bringing in players solves short-term problems, which may be all GM Darryl Sutter cares about. Long term, they must move salary. How many Jay Bouwmeester fans are left?
2010-11 salaries: $63,242,993
The situation: Three players on long-term IR.
The solution: Could trade one of six defencemen who earn more than $3 million.
2010-11 salaries: $64,805,024
The situation: The Bruins were in a bind faster than you can say "post-concussion syndrome." Marc Savard (seven years, $28 million) was shopped, but there were no takers.
The solution: Veteran Michael Ryder ($4 million) could find himself in the minors.
2010-11 salaries: $51,060,833
The situation: Owner Tom Hicks is bankrupt. The team missed the playoffs. The Stars are more than $8 million under the cap and want to spend even less.
2010-11 salaries: $48,234,416
The situation: More than $11 million under the cap but new ownership runs a tight ship.
The solution: Start those Vinny Lecavalier ($7.7 million) to Montreal rumours all over again. The Leafs, as mentioned, like winger Ryan Malone.