Exploiting the salary cap: my plan for 2011-12

On top of what could be pretty obvious, I think the rebuilding plan should continue (especially when kelly and kuba could be bigger assets then than now) but instead of spending to the cap floor, I have an idea that could be useful in the long term.

Eugene Melnyk has deep pockets, and has always spent within the cap every single year since the lockout. He really is the only reason why Ottawa still has a team. The team exists in a market that has high demands, and he is willing to lose money to bring a competitive product. What I am suggesting requires Mr. Melnyk to have one more year of spending close to the cap for long term benefits which would also give a short term edge to competitors by using the salary cap to his advantage. The answer is simple: Offer cap/financial relief to other teams.

This is obviously contingent upon how much the cap next year will be, but this is still a novelty opportunity. Think about some free agent contracts that expire in 2012: Chris Drury >7 mil, Brian Rolston >5, Daymond Langkow 4.5...needless to say there are a lot of contracts some GMs wish they never signed, not because the player is bad, but because his contract has handicapped the team.

There are two ways to help rebuild: #1, the team looking to offload the contract may move picks/prospects simply to free themselves of that debt when trying to sign key RFAs and UFAs. Second, and more likely, trading these players at the deadline, where their cap hit will be a fraction as a rental will yield even more future assets.

The main drawbacks are that you will not be giving key icetime to a young player, that you may not get a high draft pick by intentionally improving the quality of your team, and its taking a risk on an older player who is declining or has injury issues. My answer to all of these, a veteran may give useful info to a young player, and after the deadline that player will have that key ice time; the assets you get in return may offset the difference between a top 14 vs a top 5; teams don't actually pay money for an injured player, that is handled by insurance.

Do you think Glen Sather would be willing to move Chris Drury, who is oft injured and playing his statistical worst season when trying to sign Brad Richards and resign Dubinsky? What about the devils in trying to sign Parise and sign or trade for a key defenseman? Losing Rolston's or Salvador's contract would be a godsend. And there would be a handful of teams willing to trade a significant asset to get Chris Drury, a stanley cup winning center, 88 points in the postseason.

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