by Ron Spence
Trading deadlines ain’t what they used to be.
Before the NHL’s salary cap, wealthy teams just opened their wallets – as the Yankees do in baseball today.
The logic was that the higher salaries would get paid as you went further into the playoffs – and took in the big gates.
Thus, teams that thought that they had a chance of winning the Cup, traded prospects or a group of good players, to acquire a veteran star.
Now, there is the salary cap, and more parity. With more teams believing that they have a chance – long or short odds – of making it into the post-season, they are reluctant to trade away their veterans just yet. This appears to be the case of St. Louis with Keith Tkachuk.
The other problem is bringing in expensive acquisitions and staying under the cap at the same time. This is further compounded if the player has a longer contract going into next season, and the season afterwards when revenues – and thus salaries – could decline.
To me, the Daniel Briere activation is what I would have learned from. Philadelphia had to dump two pretty good players on waivers to stay under the cap.
It should be noted here – during this discussion – that players’ salaries are pro-rated as the season goes on – both those the team is giving up, and those the team is acquiring.
How do you calculate this when considering a trading deadline deal?
You take the player’s salary and divide by the number of days in the season – 187 this year – and then multiply it by the number of days remaining after the trade deadline – 41 this season.
Thus, using a common example, the $2 million player only costs $438,502 against the cap after the trading deadline (NHL.COM explains all of this in detail.)
I have taken some information provided by NHLNUMBERS.COM.
First is a list of 8 players repeatedly mentioned as trade fodder. Also included is their yearly Cap Hit – not their trading deadline number:
Below are 12 teams that will probably be looking for some players at the trading deadline – plus their cap space:
Please note that Detroit only has .26 left in cap space, while Chicago has .496 and San Jose .585.
So, to acquire an expensive impact player, these teams would have to trade two or three salaries, or give up draft picks and trade away two or three players.
If I’m Mike Gillis, I don’t give up future high draft picks for an expensive prospect. I keep in touch with the cap-challenged teams and shop for some good third and fourth line players that they need to get rid of.
There will be some good players available, just as Ossi Vaananen was available when Philly brought Daniel Briere back onto the roster.
Those are the guys I would go after – at a fairly cheap price.
Take out the wallet when you’re re-signing the Sedins – and hopefully Ohlund – and another top six forward next July.
Keep it – your wallet – in your pants on wednesday.