Feb 052010
 

With the Olympic trade freeze only a week away and the NHL trade deadline less than a month away, we’re sure to hear all sorts of trade rumors and speculation involving the Vancouver Canucks. Only a couple of days ago, we heard that the Canucks were in the running – and then not in the running – for Ilya Kovalchuk. (Of course, Kovy was traded to the New Jersey Devils yesterday.) Previous to that, there was the rumored Cory Schneider for David Backes swap.

But while discussing these trade rumors, there are a couple of things we need to keep in mind:

1) The Canucks are already up against the salary cap. In fact, because of all the injuries they’ve sustained this season – and of course having to replace them – their projected salary number is over the $56.8 million upper limit this season. This means that, if the Canucks were to pull a trade, incoming and outgoing salaries would have to match dollar-for-dollar.

2) If Kevin Bieksa is activated from long-term injury reserve (LTIR) before the playoffs, the Canucks would have to move out salaries in order to accommodate Bieksa’s salary and get back in compliance with the cap.

Let’s use Ilya Kovalchuk as an example. His cap hit this season is $6,389,300. If the Canucks were to have acquired him, they would have had to shed $6,389,300 in salary from the active roster. To put this into perspective, the Canucks’ package would have had to include, say, Pavol Demitra ($4,000,000) plus Steve Bernier ($2,000,000) and they’d still need to get rid of another $639,300 in salaries. Because I honestly doubt the Thrashers would have had any interest in Demitra, maybe the package is Alex Edler ($3,250,000), Bernier, plus prospect and/or pick, plus the Canucks would have to waive Kyle Wellwood ($1,200,000). Kevin Bieksa ($3,750,000) isn’t even an option here because the Canucks would lose his LTIR exemption. And when Bieksa comes back (assuming he comes back during the regular season), the Canucks would have to move another $3,750,000 in salary.

Clear as mud?

The cap issue is one reason the Cory Schneider for David Backes trade couldn’t have happened even if there was any truth to it. Because Backes’ cap hit is $2,500,000 this season and Schneider’s is $0, the Canucks would have first needed to get rid of $2,500,000 in salary from the active roster. Waiving Wellwood and Brad Lukowich ($1,566,666) would have done the trick, but then Willie Mitchell and Sami Salo got injured and needed Lukowich and Baumgartner in the lineup. Not only that, but they would still need to find room for Bieksa’s salary when Bieksa came back.

Giving up the right assets in a deal is one thing. Finding the cap space to make one is another. In the next month or so, we need to take both into account.

(Postscript: All numbers from CapGeek. As an aside, I know cap space is calculated daily, but because the Canucks are at the cap anyway, I used each player’s total cap number for the season for simplicity.)

  • Annoyed

    Apparently, you dont even know how the cap system works during the season. Please don’t blog about topics you don’t have knowledge of. Its really annoying how many people post sports analysis these days just spreading misinformation.

  • Annoyed

    Apparently, you dont even know how the cap system works during the season. Please don’t blog about topics you don’t have knowledge of. Its really annoying how many people post sports analysis these days just spreading misinformation.

  • Annoyed

    Ok never mind, please forgive me if my comment offended you. The main concern I had is addressed in the last paragraph:
    “As an aside, I know cap space is calculated daily, but because the Canucks are at the cap anyway, I used each player’s total cap number for the season for simplicity”

    However, I still don’t believe that your analysis with respect to LTIR is entirely accurate, but that’s a lesser issue compared to above.

  • Annoyed

    Ok never mind, please forgive me if my comment offended you. The main concern I had is addressed in the last paragraph:
    “As an aside, I know cap space is calculated daily, but because the Canucks are at the cap anyway, I used each player’s total cap number for the season for simplicity”

    However, I still don’t believe that your analysis with respect to LTIR is entirely accurate, but that’s a lesser issue compared to above.

  • Gord Smith

    So we are all stupid,so wear does Calgary and the rest of the good teams find the money,I believe they can find the money if they find the right player,We fill the seats every game do not get greedy or we will all loose Thanks Gord

  • Gord Smith

    So we are all stupid,so wear does Calgary and the rest of the good teams find the money,I believe they can find the money if they find the right player,We fill the seats every game do not get greedy or we will all loose Thanks Gord

  • http://www.canuckshockeyblog.com J.J. Guerrero

    @annoyed – No offense taken. I just re-read the post and could understand where it may have been confusing.

    Re: LTIR – I just noticed that I said two different things above and I’ll clarify.

    In the Kovalchuk example, I said that the Canucks would have to move $3.75 million in salary when Bieksa came back (assuming he comes back in the regular season). In the Backes example, I said that the Canucks would need to find room for Bieksa’s salary.

    I was wrong in the Kovalchuk example and unclear in the Backes one.

    When Bieksa comes back (again assuming he comes back in the regular season), the Canucks would need to find room to again comply with the Upper Limit on the cap. (i.e. Total yearly salaries can’t exceed $56.8 million or $294,300 per day.)

    Right now, the Canucks are carrying 26 players with salaries totaling $59,127,499 ($306,360 per day). Obviously those numbers go down depending on who they waive/ship back to the Moose when Mitchell comes back and Hansen returns from his conditioning stint. If we assume that Baumgartner ($550K) and Lukowich ($1.566 million) are the odd men out, the Canucks would then only need to shed another salary when Bieksa returns.

    Sorry folks for any confusion on this.

  • http://www.canuckshockeyblog.com J.J. Guerrero

    @annoyed – No offense taken. I just re-read the post and could understand where it may have been confusing.

    Re: LTIR – I just noticed that I said two different things above and I’ll clarify.

    In the Kovalchuk example, I said that the Canucks would have to move $3.75 million in salary when Bieksa came back (assuming he comes back in the regular season). In the Backes example, I said that the Canucks would need to find room for Bieksa’s salary.

    I was wrong in the Kovalchuk example and unclear in the Backes one.

    When Bieksa comes back (again assuming he comes back in the regular season), the Canucks would need to find room to again comply with the Upper Limit on the cap. (i.e. Total yearly salaries can’t exceed $56.8 million or $294,300 per day.)

    Right now, the Canucks are carrying 26 players with salaries totaling $59,127,499 ($306,360 per day). Obviously those numbers go down depending on who they waive/ship back to the Moose when Mitchell comes back and Hansen returns from his conditioning stint. If we assume that Baumgartner ($550K) and Lukowich ($1.566 million) are the odd men out, the Canucks would then only need to shed another salary when Bieksa returns.

    Sorry folks for any confusion on this.

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