An update on Joe Thornton’s future with the San Jose Sharks, plus a couple of clubs which could become destinations for sidelined Boston Bruins center Marc Savard’s contract.
Latest on Joe Thornton.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports he was told that when San Jose Sharks owner (Hasso Plattner) got involved in last month’s dispute between Sharks GM Doug Wilson and former captain Joe Thornton that the latter wasn’t going anywhere and will retire as a Shark. Friedman notes Thornton has said he doesn’t want to be traded. Friedman also claims when the issue came up last summer, Thornton said if management wanted to move him they would have to buy him out. Friedman doubts that’s going to happen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Sharks ownership doesn’t want Thornton traded or bought out then it’s a moot point. Unless Thornton wants out, he will finish his NHL career as a Shark. He holds all the cards with his full no-movement clause. Have to wonder if this becomes an issue in the next round of collective bargaining. Team owners could use this situation as justificaiton to push for either non-guaranteed contracts or the right to have one opportunity to renegotiate a deal. Failing that, they could attempt to eliminate no-trade/no-movement clauses or impose limitations upon them.
Sabres or Coyotes destinations for Savard’s contract?
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the Boston Bruins are looking at trading the contract of sidelined center Marc Savard, who will probably never play again because of post-concussion symptoms. Savard’s contract has two years remaining at an annual cap hit of $4.007 million, but it was heavily frontloaded and is worth $525K per season in actual salary, most of which is covered by insurance. That would make Savard’s contract a great bargain for teams in need of reaching next season’s salary-cap minimum. Friedman speculates the Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes could be possible targets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes could be the likely destination. The Sabres currently have over $42 million invested in next season’s payroll. Assuming next season’s cap floor only rises to $53 million, the Sabres can easily reach the cap floor by re-signing or replacing their free agents. The Coyotes have over $35 million invested in payroll, though re-signing RFAs like Mikkel Boedker, John Moore and Mark Arcobello could push them closer to $40 million.
Ultimately, it will depend upon what players the Coyotes and Sabres add this summer via trades or free agency, as I suspect they’ll use their cap space to target free agent talent and to talk trade with clubs in need of shedding salary to become cap compliant, like the Chicago Blackhawks, LA Kings, New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers. The Bruins also need to shed salary, and the Coyotes and Sabres could attempt to squeeze them to add another player in the mix to take on Savard’s contract.
The Coyotes and Sabres could also have self-imposed cap ceilings. They might be unwilling to take on extra salary once they get comfortably over the cap floor.