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Red and Black Hockey

Cap floor might give Canes fits

Today, the NHL made official what we already knew.  The salary cap for 2011-12 will be $64.3M and the floor will be $48.3M.

As of right now, the Hurricanes have 12 players under NHL contract for 2011-12, with a total cap payroll of $32,083,333.  They’ve always been a thrifty team.  Given their stance on (not) renewing Joni Pitkänen, the high probability of letting Chad LaRose walk and the possibility of letting either Jussi Jokinen or Erik Cole walk, it’s going to be tough to even reach the floor.

The Canes are going to have to spend some money to fill out the roster.  They’ve already hinted at getting a real veteran goalie to backup Cam Ward.  They’ll have to make some other acquisitions through free agency or trade, and it might be fun.  I can’t even guess how that’s all going to pan out, but I can at least speculate on Carolina’s own free agents-to-be.

Capgeek.com lists 12 players on the active roster who have contracts for 2011-12.  With their cap hits, they are:


Eric Staal—$8,250,000
Tummo Ruutu—$3,800,000
Jeff Skinner—$1,400,000
Drayson Bowman—$845,833
Jerome Samson—$512,500


Bryan Allen—$2,900,000
Tim Gleason—$2,750,000
Joe Corvo—$2,250,000
Jamie McBain—$850,000
Jay Harrison—$700,000


Cam Ward—$6,300,000
Justin Peters—$525,000

First, let’s assume that alternate captain Brandon Sutter is signed to a long-term deal with a cap hit of about $3,250,000 per season.  This should come soon, but since he’s scheduled to become a restricted free agent, it isn’t pressing.  Either way, I expect it before July 1.

I’ll assume that Erik Cole will end up getting re-signed for two years at the same $3,250,000 that Sutter gets.  His agent has always been a tough negotiator and things haven’t always gone smoothly in that department, but he belongs here.  He might spend a few days in the free agent market like he did in the summer of 2009, but he’ll be back.

I don’t think Carolina will be that lucky with Chad LaRose.  If he hits the market, he might get snatched up in a hurry.  He’s a great guy and a fan favourite, but he was already overpaid last season with a cap hit of $1.7M.

Pat Dwyer is the new Chad LaRose.  A really likeable guy with way more work ethic than raw talent.  Never takes a shift off.  Pesky.  Good penalty killer.  I see him easily getting a two-year deal at just above the league minimum.  Let’s say a hit of $650,000 per season.

I can see “old man” Cory Stillman re-signing for one season at something close to $2,500,000.  It’s a paycut, but he’s an old man by NHL standards. 

I think Jiri Tlusty will re-sign.  Management likes him.  Paul Maurice loves him.  He was a bit frustrating to watch last season as he had a lot of bad breaks.  He was dealing with injuries, but should be healthy and ready to go in 2011-12.  He played for the league minimum last season, and I think he might play for the minimum this season.  Chalk him up for $550,000.

I wish Jussi Jokinen would re-sign, but I’m afraid that if he hits the market at all, he’s gonna get snatched up.  All reports indicate that his agent and Carolina brass aren’t even close in negotiations. 

I’ll guess that Zach Boychuk, who is under contract, gets moved to the active roster.  His cap hit is $1,195,833.

If my guesses are right, that’s 11 forwards including Jerome Samson, who I doubt will be on the active roster in October.  If those dollar guesses are right (and that’s a big stretch), that comes to $11,395,833 of additional salary.  There would still be two open roster spots for forwards.

On the blueline, assume that Pitkänen is gone. 

I assume that young Derek Joslin will be back in the fold.  He’s coming out of a one-year contract at the league minimum.  During his brief time with the Canes, he showed improvement and he showed that he belongs at the NHL level.  I expect him to get two years at something close to $750,000 per year. 

There’s nobody else in the organization who is NHL-ready, and we’re all expecting a free agent (or trade) acquisition of a top four defenseman.  That should have a heavy price tag.  Adding Joslin to the mix gives Carolina 6 NHL defensemen and a roster spot open. 

If that money guess for Joslin is right, it brings the re-signings to 12,145,833

I expect Justin Peters to get demoted to the American League, so we can back his $525,000 out.  Now the total for re-signings and two-way movement is $11,620,833. 

If my guesses are right (and they probably aren’t), the new cap payroll is 42,704,166.  That leaves Carolina with roughly $5.6M to sign one goalie, two forwards and one defenseman.  And that’s just to reach the floor

No bargain basement hunting here.  Carolina is going to have to pony up. 

Today’s madness in Philadelphia has made goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky expendable to the Flyers.  His contract is worth $1,175,000.  He’s proven that he can play at the NHL level, and the Flyers have historically been a good trading partner with the Canes, but I’m not even sure what Carolina would give up to get him.  The rights to Jussi Jokinen?  I don’t know. 

There’s no telling where the top nine forward or the top four defenseman will come from, but that Philly idea is just about as good as any free agent solution to the goalie problem. 

What do you say?

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, free+agents, salary+cap, trades


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About Red and Black Hockey

David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science.  He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows.  Sometimes, all in the same day. 

David has contributed to CBC.ca for their Stanley Cup playoff coverage in 2006 and to the New York Times Slapshot blog for theirs in 2008. Red and Black Hockey was founded in July of 2005.

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