Yesterday, TSN broke news that the salary cap will be $64M, which is a bit above the projected $62.5M-63.4M that we’d been hearing about earlier. And it’s very fitting that the picture that goes along with the story is of our very own Philadelphia Flyers. That’s barely a subtle hint that the signing of Ilya Bryzgalov has become just a bit easier. Paul Holmgren, the pressure is on you!
I started messing with how the roster can look using CapGeek. Here’s where we currently stand. Ian Laperriere is currently listed on the roster and counts against the cap. But we know he won’t play again and once he’s put on long term injured reserve, he won’t count. And since Michael Leighton sucks, I’m assuming he won’t be back no matter what else happens (unless we’re really desperate). So those are the only two names I removed. Our biggest priorities of course are Bryzgalov and Ville Leino.
Reports during the season said we were offering Leino $4M/season for either 3 or 4 years, and that he turned down both. However, he had long dry spells in the second half of the season, as well as the playoffs. Thus, his stock probably dipped. I like him, but anything over $2.5M is overpaying him. He’s a creative guy, but he’s not a top line player. Will he be insulted if the Flyers drop their offer, and try to test the market. Or will he be convinced into maybe signing for one or two years at a low number to try driving his price up again. If anyone offers more that $4m/season, I’ll be very, very surprised. So assuming he signs for 2 years and $5M, that’s a cap hit of $2.5M.
If that number is close to accurate, that leaves us with about $5.2M in space to sign Bryzgalov. That’s probably not enough because rumors have it that he wants to be one of the top paid goalies. The top 10 goalies, using last years numbers, average $6.7M. That number is a bit skewed by Roberto Luongo’s $10M. Henrik Lundqvist is second on the list at $7.5M. One one hand Bryzgalov is easily the best goalie available, and the Flyers could definitely use him. The teams with the most cap space are generally bottom feeders, and I think he wants to be with a winner. Thus, while there are some teams willing to pay him, we’re definitely the front runners. Let’s say we give him $7M/year. Now I know it’s possible to give him a long term deal where that number drops over the last few seasons so that his cap hit is lower, so let’s assume they do that and his hit drops to $5.5M.
That puts us $250k in the negative. Also, with a bunch of role players whose contracts have expired, we would only have 18 players on the roster. That means we need to move somebody with a larger contract, and get 5 more guys. Really, really cheap guys. If we could dump Jody Shelley, that would be a great start. Scott Hartnell and Kris Versteeg would be my next targets, regardless of not trade clauses and other things. It’s not an easy situation to deal with. We still have a very good team, and I’d hate to dismantle it completely. But if we keep the centers and add Bryzgalov, that’s enough to remain one of the top teams.
My prediction, however, after all of this is that we won’t sign Leino. I just don’t think he’ll agree to take less than what we offered him before. I guess we’ll find out everything in the next few days.
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Tags: Contract Free Agent Henrik Lundqvist Ian Laperriere Ilya Bryzgalov Jody Shelley Kris Versteeg Michael Leighton NHL NHL Free Agency Paul Holmgren Philadelphia Flyers Roberto Luongo Salary Cap Scott Hartnell TSN Ville Leino