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Up-to-the minute updates and insights from the Red Wings locker room at home and on the road. By Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Red Wings' cap dance

Ville Leino has signed for a reasonable salary ($800,000 per season), but the Red Wings are going to be doing a cap dance this season just like they did last season.

And that's not a bad thing. It does tie the organization's hands on a lot of moves, but it also means there's a lot of talent here. The Red Wings rarely overpay for players.

Looking at a possible NHL roster, the Red Wings have 11 forwards, 8 defensemen and 2 goalies signed. That roster includes Leino, Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Derek Meech, Jonathan Ericsson, Brett Lebda and Andreas Lilja. That roster does not include Jiri Hudler.

That roster has a cap hit of approx. $55.117 million. That leaves $1.683 million of room left under the $56.8 million cap.

With 11 forwards, the Red Wings obviously need two more and they have two slots open with the roster that I'm using.

The problem is that Hudler's salary is going to make the Wings do a cap dance again.

Hudler could be given a salary of $3-4 million by an arbitrator. Even if he signs for $2 million, that puts Detroit over the cap limit.

So, with $1.683 of room, the obvious place to cut salary is on defense, where eight is a luxury.

Add on Hudler at $3 million and a 13th forward like Jeremy Williams at $500,000 (salary guess) and you've got a team payroll of $58.6 million.

So, you've got two options ... hope that the entire league office has dyslexia and reads $58.6 million as $56.8 million ... or cut $1.817 million off the payroll.

Meech might be the first choice to go as far as past contributions, but at $483,333, cutting his salary doesn't lower the payroll much. Lebda is also economical at $650,000. There's the option of long-term injured reserve, but eventually you have to plan on that/those players returning and the problem is just postponed.

Ericsson and his $900,000 salary aren't going anywhere. Lilja makes $1.25 million. And above that, you've got the big four of Lidstrom ($7.45 million), Rafalski ($6 million), Stuart (3.75 million) and Kronwall ($3 million). And you know that the Wings don't want to get rid of any of those four.

Perhaps there will be buyouts at forward. Now we're getting into some real speculation.

What we know now is that Hudler's salary is the one variable. It will complete the salary puzzle, but it's too large for the one open spot. If Hudler is kept, more moves will have to come.


Blogger Drake_Marcus said...

I don't understand why you'd suggest paying for a 13th forward then dumping Meech.

Using Meech as the 13th forward AND 7th defenseman is clearly the most economical option.

Abdelkader isn't going to get a chance to play more than 8 mins a night, so send him to GR. Oulahen is out of options in the minors, so re-sign him to the minimum salary increase according to the CBA-- $574,750.

Give Hudler 2.5 million for 3 years and trade lebda. You've got a full roster and $153,382 of cap space. A tight fit, but trading Lilja and keeping Lebda opens a huge gap and allows either 750k of space of 250k and a salary of 3 million for Hudler.

July 6, 2009 at 8:50 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget, the Wings can go over the cap prior to the start of the season, by about $5 million. Then they need to get under the cap by the first day.

There are a couple of ways they can do that - trade, buyouts, and waivers.

Buyouts mean the Wings save about half the remaining amount on the contract, as they are required to buyout players over double the years remaining.

If a player successfully passes through waivers, the Wings take the money off the cap, and can send the player to the minors. If they have to call him back up again, he comes back up at half the cap hit.

Personally, I think Holmstrom is a candidate for a trade. I can imagine that a team like Ottawa, Atlanta, or Florida would like the power play help. Also, if he is ready to play, expect Lilja to be traded.

July 7, 2009 at 12:18 AM 
Anonymous Zach said...

as i said on babcocks death stare:

So, we currently have 2.6M to sign 2 forwards. (My roster didnt include Abdelkader with this number)


Abdelkader/Meech Cap Space Remaining~1.75M

Pros:Cheapest Route. Players are in the system. Leaves a 1.7M cap cushion. Could allow another player to be signed, allows for a possible trade. Maybe Harding.

Cons: A rookie and a part time forward as the hole fillers for Sammy and Hudler, our overall offense decreases, strains our D and Ozzie.

Meech/Hudler Cap Space Remaining~??? Hudler @ 2.5 minimum, leaves zero space. Hudler at anymore loses someone.

Pros: We keep Hudler and his production, the players are again in the system.

Cons: Uncertain salary and no room if he does sign. No room for call ups.

Meech/FA cap remaining~1M estimate
Assuming we sign a FA at about 1.5M.

Pros:Fresh blood, we keep all our defenseman. Abdelkader can come up and we can comfortably carry 13 forwards and 7 defenseman. We can rotate Maltby/Abdelkader.

Cons:We lose Hudler, FA wont produce as he does.

Trade Meech/Lebda

We gain about 500K in cap space, so we now have 3.1M to spend. We can sign Hudler and a cheap FA.

July 7, 2009 at 1:49 AM 
Blogger Kurt said...

I know I am probably in the minority here, but my feeling is that anything more than 2.25/yr for Hudler is an overpayment. Yes, he is a good point producer no doubt but Fil is signed for $3mil/year on a longer contract and you will not convince me that Hudler is as good, or more importantly will be as good as Fil (especially considering this last playoff run). I want to keep Huds but if the goal is "never overpay for any one player" than I think you let him go if he wants 3mil/yr. Or sign him and be prepared to trade him if you need to. Remember Franzen is 3.95 and is much more of an impact player. Again, just my opinion.

July 7, 2009 at 4:38 PM 

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