Friday, July 5, 2013

Leafs RFA's and what the rest of the summer could hold

Here's some rough numbers on our RFA's and what kind of cap space we could have left -

Nazem Kadri - $2.5 million
Joe Colborne - $0.8 million
Cody Franson - $2.8 million
Carl Gunnarsson - $2.4 million
Mark Fraser - $1.2 million
Additional $9.7 million - Let's call it $10 million to be safe.

This would bring the Leafs to within $1.5-2 million of the salary cap (closer to $2.5 if Holzer is left with the Marlies). Here's the roster -

James VanRiemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Joffrey Lupul - Nazem Kadri - David Clarkson
Jay McClement - Dave Bolland - Nikolai Kulemin
Fraser McLaren - Joe Colborne - Colton Orr

Dion Phaneuf - Carl Gunnarsson
Jake Gardiner - Cody Franson
J.M. Liles - Mark Fraser
T.J. Brennan

Jonathan Bernier
James Reimer

Not a bad looking team. There's enough cap space to add a veteran defenceman into the mix, and then fill the final roster spot up front out with a cheap Marlie.

With most teams really tight against the cap, most of the remaining UFA's will not be getting those outrageous UFA contracts. Here are some UFA dmen who I would hope Nonis is kicking tires on, looking for one who could come in on a short term deal in the $1.5-2 million range

Tom Gilbert
Ron Hainsey
Ryan Whitney
Toni Lydman
Tomas Kaberle
Hal Gill
Marek Zidlicky

Probably more likely Nonis allows the likes of Blacker, Holzer, Percy, and Rielly to fight for  the final spot. But if none of those guys seem ready they could look at some of these veterans. The Leafs could even wait until camp and if none of the kids look ready they could look for that token UFA who is kicking around with no contract and get a vet on a bargain basement deal.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Names to watch out for at the draft

Big draft on Sunday, here are some names of players who could be traded, based on all kinds of various reports. I've just kind of compiled it all in one sheet here:

1. Shawn Horcoff, 34
2. Rich Peverly, 30 (2 years @ $3.25)
3. Stephen Weiss, 30 (rights, UFA)
4.Valterri Fillpula, 29 (rights, UFA)
5. Drew Stafford, 27 (2 years @ $4 mil)
6. Paul Stastny, 27  (esp. watch out if Colorado drafts a C)
7. Dave Bolland, 27 ($3.4 mil, 1 year away from UFA)
8. Sam Gagner, 24 (RFA)
9. Tyler Seguin, 21
10. Sean Couturier, 20

1. Dany Heatley, 32 ($7.5 mil, 1 year, can't be bought out due to LTIR status)
2. Mike Cammalleri, 31 (1 year left at $6 mil)
3. Ales Hemsky, 30
4. Tomas Vanek, 29 (1 year from free agency, $7.1 mil)
5. Tomas Fleischmann, 29 (2 years @ $4.5)
6. Scotty Upshall, 29
7. David Booth, 28 (2 years @$4.2)
8. Bobby Ryan, 26
9. David Perron, 25
10. Cal Clutterbuck, 25 (RFA)

1. Filip Kuba, 36 (1 year @4 mil)
2. Keith Ballard, 30 (2 years @ $4.2 mil)
3. Tom Gilbert, 30 (1 year, $4 mil)
4. Carlo Colaiacovo, 30 (1 year @ $2.5 mil)
5. Brayden Coburn, 28 (3 yrs left at $4.5 mil)
6. Dion Phaneuf, 28 ($6 mil. 1 year)
7. Alex Edler, 27 (6 years, $5 mil per season)
8. Kris Letang, 26 ($3.5 mil, 1 Year away from UFA)
9. Niklas Hjalmersson, 26 (1 year @ $3.5 mil, then UFA)
10. Michael Del Zotto, 23 (1 year @ $2.5 mil, then RFA)

1. Tim Thomas, 39 (rights, UFA)
2. Evgeny Nabokov, 37 (rights, UFA)
3.Roberto Luongo, 34
4. Scott Clemenssen, 34
5. Mike Smith, 31 (rights, UFA)
6. Jonas Hiller, 31
7. Ryan Miller, 31 (1 year away from UFA)
8. Marc-Andre Fleury, 28
9. Jaroslav Halak, 28 (1 year @ $3.8)
10. Cory Schneider, 27

Watch out for Edmonton's pick (7th) and Carolina's (5th) to be in play as well. *Update - now read in a couple places that the Flyers (15th overall) could be in play.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Leafs situation heading into the Draft and Free Agency

The Leafs shored up their depth in goal today adding Jonathan Bernier. I like it, although there are still lots of question marks around our two goalies, both guys are young and show a lot of promise.

Here's how the rest of the team looks -

1. Mikhail Grabovski - $5.5 million *Buyout candidate
2. Nazem Kadri - RFA
3. Jay McClement - $1.5 million
4. Joe Colborne - RFA

We need to add another Centre into the mix for sure.

1. Phil Kessel - $5.4 million
2. Joffrey Lupul - $5.25 million
3. James VanRiemsdyk - $4.25 million
4. -------------------
5. Nikolai Kulemin - $2.8 million
6. -------------------
7. -------------------
8. Colton Orr - $0.9 million

We could add 3-4 wingers. One or two the spots could go to a kid at camp, or re-sign Fraser McLaren, but we should see Nonis trade for/sign at least 1 or 2 (if not 3) new wingers.

*Jay McClement also plays all forward positions so Nonis could add another centre and move Jay over, so there's some flexibility there. Anyway you slice it we're looking at 4-5 forwards who need to come in.

1. Dion Phaneuf - $6.5 million
2. -----------------
3. Cody Franson - RFA
4. Jake Gardiner - $1.1 million
5. Carl Gunnarsson - RFA
6. John Michael Liles - $3.9 million *Buyout candidate
7. Mark Fraser - RFA
8. -----------------

We'll need a depth dman, could be O'Byrne re-signed but he'll have to come in cheap ($1.7 million last year). And we need a top 4 as well. If Liles is bought out, we'll need another depth guy, but these depth guys could come from within, where defence is a position of strength in the Leafs organization.

1. James Reimer - $1.8 million
2. Jonathan Bernier - RFA

We have about $39 million and change committed to these players right now. I'm just going to throw some rough numbers out on our RFA's -

Kadri - $3.5 mil
Colborne - $1 mil
Franson - $4 mil
Gunner - $3 mil
Fraser - $1 mil
Bernier - $2 mil
total = $13.5, let's call it $14 to be safe. We'll be at around $54 million, with roughly $8-9 million to spend on 6 players to fill out the roster. If Liles is bought out, we'll have $13-14 million to spend on 7 players.

I think we should buy out Liles, not because he's bad but because he's making too much and he hasn't been as impact-full since his concussion. Then if we could replace our two vacancies for depth D from within or with cheap UFA's in the million $ range, and two of our spots up front the same way, we could be looking to land:

1 impact defenceman
1 impact forward
1 quality role playing forward

With about $9-10 million of cap space. Seems pretty do-able. We're in an interesting spot.
*Also wanted to mention that I think Liles could have some trade value, if we could move him for a cheap depth dman, then we could save one of our compliance buyouts. The first buyout will obviously be used on Komisarek, this is just for the record, not even worth discussing.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Amnesty Buyouts

There's a lot of speculation that could be made on lots of team's but I'm going to focus on a few teams who are in real cap trouble. Easier to speculate on the potential buyouts of the teams who will be more desperate to get under the cap -

The Flyers -
Philly's got 14 forwards, 8 d-men and 2 goalies under contract for 24 players, and they're over the cap by about $2.5 million (give or take). They'll definitely be using a buyout, and probably both of their amnesty buyouts this summer. Here are some candidates:

Danny Briere, 36 RW/C - $6.5 million, 2 years remaining
Scott Hartnell, 31 LW - $4.75 million, 6 years remaining
Ilya Bryzgalov, 32 G - $5.66 million, 7 years remaining

The Canucks - 
Vancouver has 17 players under contract for next year. Needing to sign 4 forwards and a couple of defencemen, as well as a goalie to trade/buyout. They're a little over the cap as of right now. Candidates:

David Booth, 28 LW - $4.25 million, 2 years remaining
Keith Ballard, 30 D - $4.2 million, 2 years remaining
Roberto Luongo, 34 G - $5.33 million, 9 years remaining

Blackhawks -
Just like after they won the Cup in 2010, the Hawks could be poised to have to make some tough cuts after a deep playoff run. They've got 13 forwards, 7 D, and 1 goalie (Crawford) signed through next year. And they're right at the cap. They could use some space to potentially re-sign Bickell and Stalberg, but may have to let them walk. Either way, they'll need a 2nd goalie. Candidates:

Michael Frolik, 25, RW - $2.33 million, 1 year remaining (probably has trade value)
Johnny Oduya, 31, D - $3.9 million, 2 years remaining

Tough call with Chicago. I guess they could buy out Oduya or trade both the aforementioned players. Other than that, all the players making any kind of significant money are the core guys - Toews, Kane, Sharp, Hossa, Bolland, Keith, Seabrook, and then to a lesser extent Hjalmersson and Crawford who both have reasonable salaries. I think the Hawks will be more likely to go the trade route to dump a few worth depth players and add some cheap players on entry level deals, like they did in 2010.

The Lightning -
Tampa Bay only has about a million $ of cap space, and will need to sign 3-4 forwards and 1-2 dmen. They will be needing to shed some legitimate salary. Safe bet that two of these three candidates will become UFA's after a buyout:

Vincent Lecavalier, 33 C - $7.72 million, 7 years remaining
Ryan Malone, 33 RW - $4.5 million, 2 years remaining
Mattias Ohlund, 36 D - $3.6 million, 3 years remaining

Les habitants - 
Montreal has 10 forwards, 8 D, and 2 goalies under contract. So they'll need to fill in a few spots up front, and have about $2 million to do so.

Brian Gionta, 34 RW - $5 million, 1 year remaining
Tomas Kaberle, 35 D - $4.25 million, 1 year remaining
Andrei Markov, 34 D - $5.75 million, 1 year remaining

Markov is coming off a big year, but he finished the year off healthy, and with his injury history he has to be considered a candidate. They can buy him out since he's no longer on IR, and although he played well this past year, they might want to save on the cap space. More likely that the former two players on the list are bought out, or possibly just Kaberle, depending on what kind of offseason plans they habs have in store.

The Wild -
Minnesota has 12 forwards, 5 D, and 1 Goalie signed, and are about a million under the cap. They'll need some space to sign a forward, 2 or 3 dmen, and a goalie, as well as re-signing RFA Cal Clutterbuck. Here are some buyout candidates:

Dany Heatley, 32 RW - $7.5 million, 1 year remaining
Tom Gilbert, 30 D - $4 million, 1 year

Not much else in Minny, in the way of high priced players. Except for the core guys (Koivu, Parise, Pominville, and Suter. Even Setogucchi is reasonably priced.) Good chance they move Heatley, and probably have to let Cullen and Bouchard walk.

Of course any of these teams could get creative with trades and try to find other teams to take on some salaries. Still these players are some guys to keep an eye on if any of these team's backs are against the cap-wall.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Top available UFA's this summer (2013)

Here's a list to look forward to in July, and to keep an eye on for trade deadline playoff rentals, (and the odd contract extension)

30 Centres:
Saku Koivu, 38
Matt Cullen, 36
Jeff Halpern, 36
Andy MacDonald, 35
Jochen Hecht, 35

Craig Adams, 35
Michael Handzus, 35
Marty Reasoner, 35
Danius Zubrus, 34
Jarred Smithson, 34

Mike Ribeiro, 33
Scott Gomez, 33
Adam Hall, 32
Nik Antropov, 32
Manny Malholtra, 32

Tim Connolly, 31
Matthew Lombardi, 30
Dave Steckel, 30
Stephen Weiss, 29
Derrick Roy, 29

Kyle Wellwood, 29
Boyd Gordon, 29
Mark Letestu, 28
Nate Thompson, 28
Tim Brent, 28

Roman Cervenka, 27
Ryan Getzlaf, 27
Maxim Lapierre, 27
Tyler Bozak, 26
Peter Regin, 26

50 Wingers:
Teemu Selanne, 42
Daniel Alfredsson, 40
Jaromir Jagr, 40
Mike Knuble, 40
Alex Kovalev, 39

Steve Sullivan, 38
Jamal Mayers, 38
Vinny Prospal, 37
Jamie Langenbrunner, 37
Jody Shelley, 37

Patrick Elias, 36
Milan Hejduk, 36
Eric Boulton, 36
Jarome Iginla, 35
Dan Cleary, 34

Brendan Morrow, 34
Matt Cooke, 34
Ruslan Fedotenko, 34
Pascal Dupuis, 33
Simon Gagne, 32

Alex Ponikarovsky, 32
Anti Miettenen, 32
Darcy Hordichuck, 32
Michael Ryder, 32
Raffi Torres, 31

Matt Hendricks, 31
Chad Larose, 30
Ryane Clowe, 30
John Scott, 30
Dustin Penner, 30

Colby Armstrong, 30
Brad Boyes, 30
Colton Orr, 30
Chris Higgins, 29
Eric Nystrom, 29

David Clarkson, 28
Alex Semin, 28
Valterri Filpulla, 28
Drew Miller, 28
Pierre-Marc Bouchard, 28

Cory Perry, 27
Nathan Horton, 27
Clarke MacArthur, 27
Mason Raymond, 27
Victor Stalberg, 27

B.J. Crombeen, 27
Damien Brunner, 26
Blake Comeau, 26
Wojtek Wolski, 26
Giullaume Latendresse, 25

40 Defencemen
Adrian Aucoin, 39
Sergei Gonchar, 38
Roman Hamrilik, 38
Andy Sutton, 37
Andreas Lilja, 37

Lubo Visnovsky, 36
Marek Zidlicky, 36
Radek Martinek, 36
Mark Streit, 35
Joe Corvo, 35

Tom Poti, 35
Toni Lydman, 35
Wade Redden, 35
Mike Mottau, 34
Rob Scuderi, 34

Michael Roszival, 34
Scott Hannan, 34
Andrew Ferrence, 33
Kent Huskins, 33
John Erskine, 32

Jordan Leopold, 32
Robyn Regehr, 32
Marc-Andre Bergeron, 32
Douglas Murray, 32
Jim Vandermeer, 32

Andrew Alberts, 31
Kurtis Foster, 31
Ron Hainsey, 31
Ryan Whitney, 29
Jeff Woywitka, 29

Steve Eminger, 29
Ian White, 28
Ryan O'Byrne, 28
Adam Pardy, 28
Anton Babchuck, 28

Matt Gilroy, 28
Ladislav Smid, 27
Mike Kostka, 27
Mark Fistric, 26
Cam Barker, 26

20 Goalies
Nikolai Khabibulin, 40
Tim Thomas, 38
Evgeny Nabokov, 37
Jose Theodore, 36
Chris Mason, 36

Brian Boucher, 36
Matthieu Garon, 35
Niklas Backstrom, 35
Jason Labarbera, 33
Joey MacDonald, 33

Dan Ellis, 32
Michael Leighton, 31
Mike Smith, 30
Ray Emery, 30
Viktor Fasth, 30

Peter Budaj, 30
Henrik Karlsson, 29
Jimmy Howard, 28
Al Montoya, 28
Tomas Greiss, 27

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Potential Summer Buyouts

So, under the new CBA the cap is coming down next season to around $64 million from about $71 mil. Which means certain teams will be in serious cap trouble after this season. To give everyone a little breathing room each team was granted 2 amnesty buyouts which do not count towards the salary cap. They can be used 1-time only this summer. Montreal and New York will only have the option to buy out 1 player each since they were granted a chance to buyout Redden and Gomez already.

So here are some contracts of players who could be buyout candidates. Remember, not every team will necessarily use both, or even one of their buyouts, but here are some of the more likely buyout candidates who could become UFA's this summer:

Shawn Horcoff, Edmonton - The Oilers have Horcoff under contract for two more years, at a $5.5 million cap hit. That's way too high for a guy who plays 3rd line centre and special teams. He is the Oilers captain, but they have to factor in Hall and Eberle's $6 million contract extensions kicking in next year, plus having to give a raise to Sam Gagner who goes RFA this summer. On the flip side, Whitney is a UFA, and so is Khabibulin so they save cap space there, but will have to replace (or re-sign) both players, and have to pay for that. Then you figure Yakupov and the Nuge will have to get payed in a couple years and it just seems to make sense for the Oilers to buyout their captain.

Mike Komisarek, Toronto - $4.5 million cap hit for next season, or he could be bought out for a measly $2.3 million and free up the cap space. The only other candidate in Toronto might be 32 year old John-Michael Liles who carries a $3.9 million cap hit for the next 3 seasons.

Scotty Upshall, Florida - Two years left and $3.5 million per season for a solid 3rd line grinder is way too rich.

Ilya Bryzgalov, Flyers - What a nightmare it would be to buy him out just two years into his monster 9-year deal. But The Flyers are also a team pushing the salary cap limits and will need to shed. Of course with Timonen's $6.3 million cap hit coming off the books, and Pronger on LTIR not counting against the cap, they might be able to squeak by. Having said that, if the Flyers have an underwhelming season it would be very Ed Snider/Paul Holmgren-esque to do something big like buyout Bryzgalov and then make a splash elsewhere. Buying out Bryz would cost $22 million over 14 years.

Ville Leino, Buffalo - After playing really well for the Flyers, Leino cashed in on a 6-year, front loaded deal with the Sabres. Things haven't gone well for Leino in Buffalo at all, and he hasn't lived up to that contract. After this season he's owed $15 million over the next 4 years, and carries a cap hit of $4.5 million. Which is money the Sabres could use. Of course it would cost them about $10 million, spread out over the next 8 years to buy him out, but that money would not go against the cap, and Sabres owner Terry Pegula seems like he won't mind spending.

Mike Cammalleri, Calgary - He has 1 year and $7 million left owed to him. Of course the Flames could get rid of his $6 million cap hit for next year by paying him around $1.2 million in each of the next two years. Might make sense for them, depending on how the season goes and what happens with Iginla (pending UFA).

The Rangers situation - They don't have any big contracts worth buying out (Nash, Gaborik, Lundqvist, Richards, Callahan), and they won't be interested in buying out one of their high end defence men like Staal, Girardi, or Del Zotto, who are all core pieces. Plus they have to re-sign Ryan McDonaugh who will get a healthy raise from the $1.3 million he's earning now. So how to shed the necessary $6 million it would roughly take to get New York under the cap? Back up goalie Marty Biron's $1.3 million could be expendable, but even if he's replaced by a backup earning league min, that only shaves off about half a million. Everyone else on the team earns between $1-2 million pretty much, so it will be interesting to see how Sather gets this team under the cap. Your guess is as good as mine here.

Rostislav Olesz, Chicago - Injured players can't be bought out, but if he's off IR you can bet the Blackhawks will buyout the final year of Olesz's contract. The grinder is owed over $4 million and taking his $3.1 million cap hit off the books will be huge for Chicago to get under the cap with all the high payed stars occupying most of the Hawks' cap space. Johnny Oduya and Steve Montador both carry contracts in around $3 million, each with 2-years remaining, so the Hawks may be in a position where they have to choose to keep one or the other and use both their buyouts to stay under the cap.

Mike Samuelsson, Detroit - I doubt they buy him out of the 2nd year of his deal. But he's owed $3 million next year and the Red Wings might be in a position where they want the additional cap space. Samuelsson, and Jonathan Ericsson are the two expendable players on the team who make a decent enough amount of money, so if the Wings were so inclined, these players would be the most likely options.

David Booth, Vancouver - He's a good player when healthy, but he's always hurt and Vancouver needs to clear up some cap room. Aside from moving Luongo, they might consider ditching Booth's $4.2 million cap hit.

Mike Green, Washington - If they don't feel like they're getting full value from him, the Caps could definitely look at buying out the final two years of Mike Green's contract. His cap hit is $6 million and he's playing like a $3-4 million player at best. It's no slam dunk that he'll be bought out by any means, I actually doubt it, but he's been under performing for a few seasons now, so he could be on a short leash with management.

Montreal Canadians situation - They are basically a cap team right now, with all of their big money players under contract for next year. For them to get under the cap they may have to bight the bullet and buyout their captain, Brian Gionta, who earns $5 million next season. They'll have to shave some salary somewhere it makes more sense to buyout a 34 year old who hasn't scored a lot of goals in a couple years, over some of the younger players who earn decent coin in Montreal. Veteran blue liners Andrei Markov ($5.75 mil cap hit) and Tomas Kaberle ($4.25 mil cap hit) each have 1 year remaining on their deals, and buying out one of them along with Gionta should be enough to keep the habs cap compliant. Markov seems to be healthy and is playing well so far this year, so it may be Kaberle who is the cap casualty in Montreal.

Paul Martin, Pittsburgh - 2 years left at $5 million a season is a little steep for the Pens, and they could use the cap breathing room. Another option in Pittsburgh could be to trade Marc-Andre Fleury.  A little crazy maybe, but they could free up cap space and grab something useful back. Plus they have Vokoun in net there and he's looking good.

Rick Dipietro, Islanders - Of course Rick signed that huge 15-year deal and hasn't been healthy for a whole year since he signed. That's the way it goes on the Island, and this could be their chance to get rid of that contract. It would be costly though. After this season he will be 7 years into his contract with 8 years remaining. He'll be owed $24 million if he's bought out ($1.5 million a year for the next 16 years). Pretty steep price to be paying a guy not to play for you. Of course the Islanders are still paying Yashin $2.2 million a year for the next two years, as they have been for the last 3 years to play in Russia, so Wang might pony up for Rick as well.

Vinny Lecavalier, Lightning - Might seem a bit extreme, and I think he has some trade value but he's an interesting one to look at. Vinny is 33, has 7 years left on his contract and a cap hit of $7.7 million. That cap hit will only look uglier in 3 or 4 years and this is the one opportunity to dump him without cap penalty. Having said that he does offer some value to the team. I doubt he'll be bought out, but its an interesting one to look. It would cost Tampa ownership close to $24 million to buyout Vinny, payed out over the course of the next 14 years. So that would be about a mil and a half a year for the next while. Which might be more palatable than the $10 million in actual dollars he's due to earn in each of the next three seasons of his deal.

So anyway's here are a handful of guys who could be added to the free agent list this summer. Also, unlike other summers I predict that there will not be as many re-signings prior to July 1st, with the cap coming down and so many teams lacking space. I think the opportunity for weaker teams with cap space to pounce is this summer when the lower cap could force good players to leave good teams such as New York or Vancouver.