by PuckStopsHere on 10/06/11 at 04:42 PM ET
The Dallas Stars are going through bankruptcy and as a result have limited financial resources. Their finances are being run by the NHL. They planned to run a team with a low payroll that is not very far above the NHL salary floor of $48.3 million but have had a monkey wrench thrown at their efforts. Sean Avery was still in the Dallas Stars salary cap calculation even though he was a member of the New York Rangers because they lost him via re-entry waivers. As punishment for trying to bring a player to the NHL who had been making above a minor league maximum salary and having him claimed by another team, the Dallas Stars had to pay half his salary and have half of his salary cap hit assigned to them. The Rangers got Avery at half price as a result. This happened in 2009. For the remainder of his contract, Dallas would pay half of Sean Avery’s way. The contract ends in 2012. Dallas used the $1.9375 million salary cap hit they got from Avery to stay above the salary floor.
This was fine until the New York Rangers waived Avery at the end of training camp to send him to the AHL. With Avery in the AHL, he has no more salary cap hit for either team.
This placed the Dallas Stars below the salary floor with their expected roster in the 2011/12 season. The people at Defending Big D came up with a solution to the problem. Dallas was almost $300,000 the salary floor and had to make this up. It is not as simple as signing a new player because Dallas is at the 50 contract limit, so they could not sign a player without releasing another.
The solution was to call up Brad Lukowich from the AHL. He is the highest paid healthy player in the Dallas system who is not in the NH: and has not been returned to junior. Lukowich is not required to pass through re-entry waivers as he qualifies as a veteran minor leaguer having played 67 AHL games last year. He would have to fill someone’s roster spot. Tomas Vincour is the most logical person. Lukowich is paid $200,000 a year more than Vincour and this alone would not be enough to make up the salary needed. The rest would be made up by the injury to Scott Glennie who is out with a concussion. He could be placed on the long term injury reserve. The problem is that doesn’t add much salary. Glennie spent last season in the WHL. He played his final four games after the WHL season ended. Glennie is on a two way contract and under the CBA would be counted at his minor league level (since that is where he played last year). It would be enough to get the Stars over the salary floor, at least until Glennie becomes healthy.
The solution the Dallas Stars have is simpler. Adam Pardy has been placed on the injured list with a rib injury. This opens up another roster spot along with its salary cap hit. Philip Larsen will be playing in that roster spot. His $850,000 entry level salary cap hit puts Dallas above the salary floor. There may be problems when Pardy is healthy and plays again or if they want to make a deadline type deal when a veteran Star player with an expiring contract is traded for a draft pick. For now, Dallas is above the salary floor.
I do not expect Dallas will be a good team this year. I expect their payroll will stay near the salary floor all year and they may be required to make further moves to stay above the salary floor. They are going to be prevented from making the kind of deals that rebuilding teams usually make as a result of their salary floor position. It looks like their most likely scenario for improvement is to hope they can be really bad and get a very early draft pick in the 2012 Entry Draft. However, Dallas probably is bad enough to miss the playoffs but not bad enough to be in the race for last place. What is a team to do in their position?
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