Alain Vigneault admitted that waiving Brad Lukowich this morning was a salary cap move. It gives the Canucks some flexibility approaching the trade deadline tomorrow and I’m going to attempt some fuzzy math to show how much flexibility this gives them. (Dangerous, I know, but please do correct me if I’m wrong.)
With Lukowich on the roster, the Canucks were carrying $306,360 in daily salary, about $12,059 more than the maximum allowable $294,300 teams are allowed to carry. Without Lukowich, the Canucks now carry $298,243 in daily salary.
Because Kevin Bieksa is currently on LTIR, the Canucks can technically carry $313,730 in daily salary (the maximum allowable of $294,300 plus Bieksa’s daily salary of $19,430). This leaves the Canucks with about $15,487 in daily cap room. (Well, not really cap room per se, but they can use Bieksa’s LTIR exemption to add $15,487 in daily salary to the roster.) Without moving any other salaries from their current roster, this means that the Canucks can acquire the equivalent of about $2.989 million in annual salary.
The wrinkle to all this is that Bieksa is scheduled to come back in a week or so. When he does, the Canucks will have to comply with the cap. At this point, we have to assume that Willie Mitchell is out for the remainder of the regular season and the Canucks will have to put him on LTIR. (As far as I can tell, Mitchell is on IR right now, not LTIR. Again, please point out if I missed something here.)
Because Mitchell’s daily cap hit ($18,135) is slightly smaller than Bieksa’s, then the LTIR exemption is obviously smaller. Once Mitchell is on LTIR, then the Canucks can only carry $312,435 in daily salary. Using his exemption, the Canucks can add, without moving any other salaries, about $2.739 million in annual salary.
Just some food for thought as the NHL trade deadline approaches and the trade rumors come fast and furious.