How the salary cap will affect the Blackhawks and Wild in the offseason, plus the latest on Vincent Lecavalier.
Blackhawks will shed salary this summer.
ESPN.COM: Scott Powers reports the combination of a marginal increase in the salary can and limited cap space will force the Chicago Blackhawks to make salary-dumping deals this summer. The salary cap for 2015-16 is now projected to come in around $71 million, while the Blackhawks have over $66 million invested in 13 players for next season. GM Stan Bowman intends to re-sign restricted free agent forwards Brandon Saad and Marcus Kruger, and he could re-sign defenseman David Rundblad. Forwards Bryan Bickell ($4 million cap hit), Kris Versteeg ($2.2 million), Andrew Shaw ($2 million) and Patrick Sharp ($5.9 million) are possible trade candidates.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been speculation defenseman Brent Seabrook ($5.8 million and eligible next summer for UFA status) could also be dealt, but that’s not going to happen. Seabrook is invaluable to their blueline corps, plus he’s also among only three experienced defensemen (Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson being the others) under contract for next season. It’s possible they could lose Seabrook for nothing to free agency next summer if the cap again marginally increases and he proves too expensive to re-sign, but they’ll cross that bridge when they come to it. Sharp and Bickell are the likely trade candidates this summer.
Wild won’t be busy in UFA market.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports limited cap space will keep the Minnesota Wild out of this summer’s free-agent bidding wars. With the cap projected to reach $71 million, the Wild have nearly $62 million invested in next season’s payroll. They must also re-sign goaltender Devan Dubnyk and center Mikael Granlund.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Re-signing those two will eat up a big chunk of the Wild’s limited cap space. While they could perhaps dip into the shallow UFA pool for a depth player, I don’t see them pursuing any of the few decent stars available this summer.
How will Flyers new coach affect Lecavalier’s status?
CSNPHILLY.COM: Tom Dougherty and Tim Riday recently discussed how the Flyers hiring Dave Hakstol as head coach could affect veteran forward Vincent Lecavalier. Both agree Lecavalier remains a poor fit with the Flyers. Riday also noted a report from Hockeybuzz.com’s Bill Meltzer claiming Lecavalier “is due a $2 million installment on his signing bonus this summer and it likely must be paid to him on July 1, 2015.” After that, “the Flyers and Lecavalier could come to a mutual contract termination agreement”, which would allow Lecavalier to become an unrestricted free agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Such a contract termination might be the best way for the Flyers to finally part ways with Lecavalier. As Travis Hughes of Broad Street Hockey observed, “The Flyers would still have to pay that $2 million bonus against next year’s salary cap, but that’s not really the end of the world. Look at it like a $2 million buy out for one easy year and wash your hands of the guy. It’s not a bad solution at all, and it’s certainly better than staying on the hook for the rest of the contract because Hextall can’t move Vinny in a trade … but of course it requires both sides to agree to it.” Mutual contract terminations are rare but it does happen, as in the case of Damien Brunner and the New Jersey Devils.