Monday, June 20, 2011

$20,000,000 Should Do It

Your news for today:

- Cap set to rise to $64 million (floor to $48 million)
- Pacioretty signs for $3.25 million over a couple of seasons
- Markov still unsigned

That together with other non-news like Gomez not traded, Moen still inexplicably employed by the Canadiens, Jagr never to sign in Montreal and Pouliot without a contract gives us the grand sum of news which is this:

The Canadiens have about $20 million to spend on 4 defenders, 5 forwards and a back-up goalie.

Now, we know that one of these defenders is Andrei Markov, and we think his contract is being negotiated now. We don't know what the delay is or has been, but it's conceivable the team and the player have been waiting to see what the salary cap will be for the future of this contract.

Knowing now that the cap is high and $6 million is now a mere 10% of the team budget, the playing field is clearer.

Knowing this ourselves, we feel that there is little reason that Andrei Markov and whatever salary it takes to get him won't fit into the team's new budgetary calculations.

For the sake of argument, let's pull $6 million-ish as his cap number. With Andrei signed, together with the top two lines as they look like they will be going forward, PK Subban and Yannick Weber, Hal Gill and Carey Price, there is also little reason to believe that any of the remaining restricted free agents would be lost against the team's own strategic desires.

A remaining $14 million is more than enough to cover off Josh Gorges, Benoit Pouiot, David Desharnais, Ryan White, Alex Picard and Tom Pyatt. This illustrious list even gives hope that there would be plenty left over should Gauthier want to re-acquaint himself with someone like Roman Hamrlik, Brent Sopel or possibly even James Wisniewski.

A rising salary cap world

Now that the Canadiens have been in a rising salary cap world for 6 years, does anyone else think it's high time they started acting like they are?

Every team that we think is under threat of being dismantled come spring (barring the stacked Blackhawks) always seems to get their reprieve by the bustling budgetary numbers from the revamped league. The Philadelphia Flyers, serial cap violators all of a sudden have all the money they need to sign Ilya Bryzgalov and keep their roster mostly intact. It almost seems like they knew that a cap determined by their budget combined with other teams would get a boost. it almost seems like they read the market and learned that caps usually go up in June.

The Canadiens are doing better. The Plekanec contract for example, looks a lot better today than it did yesterday. Ditto Cammalleri. But the recent Kostitsyn signing (at an NHL median $3.25 million a year) seems like a very conservative bet on a clearly above average player.

In this rising cap world of nice surprises and unexpected cap space, I wouldn't mind seeing the Canadiens get a bit more crafty when their annual May break comes around.

Still, I'll be more than happy at this point with a Google search that turns up news for Andrei Markov before the end of June.

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