Quite obviously, this season and the 2014 NHL Draft are providing very little hope for us fans, so I decided to bank those hopes on a good off-season. This off-season, and the next, are both crucial to the future of our organization; Murray will have to pull out all the stops to get everyone we want resigned. I decided to make my ideal (but hopefully still realistic) situation for the off-season.
According to CapGeek, the salary cap for next season is projected to be at $71 million. This leaves us with approximately $22 million to spend this off season if we are spending to the cap, which we won't be. Hopefully, with the new TV deals kicking in and Murray's pleading, we can (or, well, I did) estimate that we will spend around $15-16 million in addition to our current roster.My main source for this post was CapGeek, so most of the information is from there. I will be focusing on free agents, and, unfortunately, I am not too good at predicting the value of contracts. I gave it my best try to keep it realistic but also relatively cheap, I think. I apologies in advance if one of my contracts is completely wrong in value estimation, I really am sorry and hope you can point it out and fix it.
RFA: Lehner, Gryba, Hoffman UFA: Michalek, Hemsky, Kassian, Lawson, Corvo
Lehner : Resign Hopefully, the recent display of sub-par goaltending will lower his asking price. Either take a leap and pay him longterm and take the risk that the end of the season wasn’t just a blip, or give him a bridge deal, something like 2 million AAV for 3-4 years. Assumption: $6.5 million deal for 3 years (1.9 million for next year)
Gryba: Resign It’s unclear whether Ceci will remain with the club and we are short of right-handed D-men. He’s a solid third pairing guy and I would suggest to pay him $900, 000 AAV on a four year deal ($900 000 for 2014-15)
Hoffman: Resign Definelty proven himself as a top-9 maybe fringing on top-6 NHLer and he has a wicked shot. Sign him accordingly and hopefully for a while. I would say either give him a bridge two year deal to prove himself at around 1.2 million AAV, or sign him longer term at a middle/end heavy deal with AAV of 2 million for 4-5 years. (1.2 million for 2014)
Cap space used up thus far for 2014-2015: $ 4 million (approx)
Unrestricted Free Agents
This leaves around 10-12 million for UFA signings, but assuming that we can’t get all of the RFA's as cheap as we want, let’s leave aside 9-10 million for UFA’s.
Kassian: Let Go (Bye Bye Good Luck Charm) Lawson: Let go, we have enough upcoming goalie prospects, and Hammond has proven himself to be a good AHL starter. Corvo: Let go (we pretty much already have)
Hemsky: Resign This is a must do. One of the few players with good skill who has demonstrated good chemistry with Spezza. Hopefully his stats come down a bit near the end of the season to lower his value a bit (it’s just because he’ll be hitting a lot of posts, obviously). The guy is 30 but usually European players are better adapted to play later on in their careers (just one of my personal observations, I don't have any statistics to back it up apart from a few examples such as Lidstrom, Alfie, Selanne and a few others), so lock him up for 4-5 years at 4.75 AAV front-loaded deal. (5.5 million for 2014)
Michalek: Two options
- Resign if he takes a large pay cut (i.e. 2.5 -3 million dollars for 3-4 years) I feel like he’s having a bad season but can be better. This isn’t a bad option and definitely worth exploring.
- Let go if we decide to spend bigger money on a good defensemen: Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen (I would love this guy, he’s right handed too which helps), Nikita Nikitin etc. (Anyone have any good suggestions?). Essentially bring in a top-4 d-men who could help the d-corps become much better. We would have somewhere around 4.5 million to spend on a UFA defensemen, which could get something pretty good. Hoffman or eventually Prince/Puempel can fill the void on left wing, although this does leave a hole in our forward group and filling that isn't easy (it took until March for the spot in our top-six this year to be filled).
Other ideal situations:
- Resign Spezza for $7 million AAV
- Resign Ryan for $6 million (this is a max, hopefully for less) AAV
- Dump Chris Phillips in a trade, we don’t want his salary or his actions on the roster (if Gryba is the third pairing right-handed D-man, then a pairing of Phillips - Gryba would sink our season alone) and too many left-handed d-men in any case. On that hand, maybe dump Boro-cop, but it might be selling low which won’t get much in return.
- Resign MacArthur at around the same price as Hemsky, but hopefully cheaper
- Resign Craig Anderson at around $4 million dollars
- Possibly resign Marc Methot. His current price, or around that neighbourhood ($3 million) is a good price. He’s clearly not that amazing when not playing with Karlsson.