Pens are in Cap he$$

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Pens are in Cap he$$

Postby Draftnik on Thu Feb 23, 2006 11:04 pm

THN has an article in their latest issue listing every player all teams have under contract for next season. The Pens have ~ $21 committed for next season. They have Crosby listed at $3.7M which may be high. I'm not sure how entry level bonuses work after the 1st season. They also have Recchi at $1.995M which may be high if the Pens don't pick up his option and Recchi chooses to exercise his player option for ~ $1.3. At any rate, the guys the Pens have to pay at least $1M next year are Gonchar (5), Crosby, Recchi, LeClair (1.80), Thibault (1.5), and Roy (1). They also have to pay Cross 893K depending on whether or not next season is a club option. There have been conflicting reports on that. Imagine how stuck the Pens would be if Palffy didn't do them a huge favor by retiring.

The Pens also have to sign MAF, Orpik and Armstrong for sure, Malkin if they are lucky, and they probably will qualify Malone as well.

The teams with more $$$ committed next season than the Pens are Dallas, Calgary, San Jose, Montreal, Atlanta, Philly, New Jersey, Tampa, Vancouver, Toronto, and Anaheim. Most of them are good and even the mediocre teams don't flat out suck.

The team with the least $$$ committed for next season is Buffalo with a paltry $6.1M.


The Pens are going to be up against their internal Cap next season unless they can move LeClair and Recchi at the deadline. There will be no flexibility for them to add a couple of competent mid level NHL dmen for ~ $2M a guy to give the young D and MAF some stability.
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Postby Scott on Thu Feb 23, 2006 11:14 pm

I don't know all the details of those contracts so they might have some hidden details there of...

Malkin falls under the rookie agreement with the maximum rookie salary. Next year it wont be much more than a million if it is in fact a million.

How much is the cap projected to go up next year?
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Postby Draftnik on Thu Feb 23, 2006 11:21 pm

Scott wrote:I don't know all the details of those contracts so they might have some hidden details there of...

Malkin falls under the rookie agreement with the maximum rookie salary. Next year it wont be much more than a million if it is in fact a million.

How much is the cap projected to go up next year?


Malkin would probably cost the Pens $2M because he would hit the team paid bonuses for ~ $1M plus his $1M salary. The Pens would also have to qualify MAF, Orpik, Armstrong, and Malone for ~ $3.5 total.

The Cap may will go up anywhere from $3M to $8M depending on the outcome of a potential escrow change. Regardless of that the Pens won't spend near that amount of $$ because they will lose too much $$. The Pens also can't budget for playoff $$ next year with the team they have coming back, so they will be really stuck from a budget perspective to try and add legitimate NHL dman.
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Postby MrKnowNothing on Fri Feb 24, 2006 12:19 am

The pessimist in me wonders whether it really matters or not.
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Postby NIN on Fri Feb 24, 2006 12:58 am

Fleury is a RFA but top notch goalie prospects are few and far between. If ever there was a player that could go to another team as a RFA its Fleury. I think there are about 6 or 7 teams that would'nt mind giving up a 1st rounder for a proven young goalie and a couple of million. I dont think the Pens will give MAF more than 1.5.
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Postby Sleestak on Fri Feb 24, 2006 1:05 am

MrKnowNothing wrote:The pessimist in me wonders whether it really matters or not.


If you are referring to the franchise future, then it matters the most while we have them here in our town wearing our town's name on their jerseys. I am not going to lie down on this issue and I refuse to not be a fan. The noise all this is creating is unexpected by me and as it appears the local politcians are shocked as well. I am going to be positive here and assume these guys are here to stay.

Keep talking about these issues to anyone and everyone you know. How can it hurt?
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Postby DelPen on Fri Feb 24, 2006 11:15 am

NIN wrote:Fleury is a RFA but top notch goalie prospects are few and far between. If ever there was a player that could go to another team as a RFA its Fleury. I think there are about 6 or 7 teams that would'nt mind giving up a 1st rounder for a proven young goalie and a couple of million. I dont think the Pens will give MAF more than 1.5.


A 1st rounder and a couple of million? And the Pens wouldn't match? Not even CP is that stupid. The only way Fleury is not a Pen next year is if he choses not to sign or some team is dumb enough to throw $3+ million but gives up 3 or 4 1st rounders for him. Besides, there will be plenty of cheap goalies available next year, why overpay for Fleury because that's what a team will have to do to pry him out of Pittsburgh.
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Postby davemess on Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:01 pm

Actually under a Salary Cap system it is a good thing to have guys under contract for next rather than a bad one. Simply because a players salary stays the same year to year under the cap rules.

The team with the least $$$ committed for next season is Buffalo with a paltry $6.1M.

Sounds great to have all that cap space but just look at the guys they have out of contract.

Afinogenov, Biron, Briere, Connolly, Dumont, Hecht, Numminen, McKee, Fitzpatrick and Grier are all unrestricted Free Agents.

Kotalik, Miller and Roy are RFAs and probably all looking for major upgrades in their deals.

How many of those guys are they going to be able to keep before they run out of cap space? I doubt if they can get more than two-thirds of that group resigned.
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Postby jmh70 on Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:23 pm

The Pens should still have about $5-6m to throw at a defenseman. I think there will be a few salary dumps before next season that could involve Tbo and a few mediocre prospects (Surovy, etc). Leclair will get dealt before the deadline so, unless we get garbage in return, that will free up some cash. Cross is gone as well.
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Postby Draftnik on Fri Feb 24, 2006 3:08 pm

davemess wrote:Actually under a Salary Cap system it is a good thing to have guys under contract for next rather than a bad one. Simply because a players salary stays the same year to year under the cap rules.

The team with the least $$$ committed for next season is Buffalo with a paltry $6.1M.

Sounds great to have all that cap space but just look at the guys they have out of contract.

Afinogenov, Biron, Briere, Connolly, Dumont, Hecht, Numminen, McKee, Fitzpatrick and Grier are all unrestricted Free Agents.

Kotalik, Miller and Roy are RFAs and probably all looking for major upgrades in their deals.

How many of those guys are they going to be able to keep before they run out of cap space? I doubt if they can get more than two-thirds of that group resigned.


The obvious answer is that it is only good to have players signed to long term deals if they are productive, high character guys. The Pens are stuck with a roster that sucks. Some of their younger guys will obviously improve, but they have several aging vets that already suck and certainly will suck worse next season when they are a year older, slower, weaker, etc.

Hecht is signed for $2.2M according to THN. They will probably deal Biron in the next few weeks. I doubt if Miller & Roy are arbitration eligible. The Sabres will be able to pick and choose which guys they want to bring back and will capitalize on other teams signing UFAs. For example, they got Toni Lydman on the cheap because Calgary signed Hamerlik. They got Numminen for ~$2M as well. Buffalo was smart enough to get 2 dmen better than Gonchar for less than $5M without taking on an untradeable contract. They will have the flexibility to build their roster while a team like the Pens is stuck with a bunch of bad contracts. Many armchair GMs questioned the Sabres strategy last offseason when they let Satan, Zhitnik, etc walk. They did not rush out and appease their fans with reckless PlayStation signings. Instead they let the market settle then cherry picked the bargains.

Buffalo won't run out of Cap space because they have more Cap space than any other team. The fact that other teams are closer to the Cap and signing UFAs to big ticket long term deals has proved again to be a flawed strategy will drive the market down for UFAs and let Buffalo get more value conscious deals instead of assembling a Rotisserie style team of big ticket players. The Sabres will enter this offseason with the same roster strategy they used last offseason. Regher has shown he is ahead of the curve.
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Postby Draftnik on Fri Feb 24, 2006 3:20 pm

jmh70 wrote:The Pens should still have about $5-6m to throw at a defenseman. I think there will be a few salary dumps before next season that could involve Tbo and a few mediocre prospects (Surovy, etc). Leclair will get dealt before the deadline so, unless we get garbage in return, that will free up some cash. Cross is gone as well.


Why would anybody take Thibault for $1.5M? The Pens have ~ $27M committed if Malkin comes. Considering they were projecting losses of $7M when they expected to sell out every game and make the 2nd round of the playoffs with a payroll ~ $31M it isn't unreasonable to expect them to want to cut their losses next season and come closer to breaking even. I'm sure they will raise ticket prices, but they won't project an average of 17K per game and can't realistically project themselves as a playoff team. Even with a payroll ~ $27M they are sure to lose $$$. It makes no sense to add more $$$ when it wouldn't boost attendance or give them enough horses to make the playoffs.
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Postby jmh70 on Fri Feb 24, 2006 3:41 pm

A team with an unreliable starter like Columbus, Anahiem, or LA might want Tbo who has proven (albeit in the past) that he can carry the load. Goaltending by committee isn't a good idea but teams have done it in the past.

Again, there will be salary dumps before next season, with a below-average chance that the Pens use the money to add a d-man.
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Postby davemess on Fri Feb 24, 2006 3:49 pm

I dont think the Pens are in a bad spot

Gonchar, Leclair, Recchi and Tbo if all return only make a combined $9.78 or $9 Mill depending on if the Pens or Recchi pick up his contract. That actualy salary cap figure would be closer to $12 mill but that is also good for the Pens as they could be over the floor but paying less money than the floor.

If the salary cap goes up then it is likely that the floor will also be raised so the team will have to get up there.

Crosby wont be a huge cap hit unless he is able to win top scorer or mvp awards.

None of the younger guys are going to cost much more than a 10% raise and the removal of their two-way options.

I think the team will be forced to go out and spend $6 to 8 Mill on 2 o 3 guys just to get over the Floor.
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Postby BCHill on Fri Feb 24, 2006 4:03 pm

You want to throw away some of the teams most productive players who are making a relatively low dollar amount.

I think you are too locked into the old NHL where a team could have a very low budget. There is currently a cap minimum. That minimum is currently set at $21.5 million, and will likely go up next year. The current minimum translates to an average of $1 million per player on a 22 man roster. $2 million for Mark Recchi? A steal! If he gets paid his player option amount it's pure highway robbery. Player minimums are now at $450,000 and will rise next year. How many nhl minimum wage player do you want on the team?

The Pens current payroll is just over $24 mil right now. They can't even afford to get rid of Gonchar unless they pick up salary while doing it.

If they have a large number of players committed for next year it only means they don't have to give out a lot of raises.

Personally, I think fans look at players salaries too much and should let the team do their own books and the fans should just watch the games. Don't worry about what the players are being paid. That's why the team has accountants and a GM.
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Postby Draftnik on Fri Feb 24, 2006 4:04 pm

davemess wrote:I dont think the Pens are in a bad spot

Gonchar, Leclair, Recchi and Tbo if all return only make a combined $9.78 or $9 Mill depending on if the Pens or Recchi pick up his contract. That actualy salary cap figure would be closer to $12 mill but that is also good for the Pens as they could be over the floor but paying less money than the floor.

If the salary cap goes up then it is likely that the floor will also be raised so the team will have to get up there.

Crosby wont be a huge cap hit unless he is able to win top scorer or mvp awards.

None of the younger guys are going to cost much more than a 10% raise and the removal of their two-way options.

I think the team will be forced to go out and spend $6 to 8 Mill on 2 o 3 guys just to get over the Floor.


The current floor is ~ $21M. The Pens are already ~$ 10M over it. The Cap will go up, but Saskin is recommending the NHLPA amends the CBA to keep the increase down to ~$5M in return for lowering the escrow %. Brooks published a few columns on the subject in the past several weeks. The Ross & Hart awards would be bonuses paid from the NHL pool, not the Pens, so they don't count against the Cap. Under any scenario it looks like the only way the Pens can bring in a few competent dmen is to willingly absorb substantial losses next season.
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Postby Draftnik on Fri Feb 24, 2006 4:26 pm

BCHill wrote:You want to throw away some of the teams most productive players who are making a relatively low dollar amount.

I think you are too locked into the old NHL where a team could have a very low budget. There is currently a cap minimum. That minimum is currently set at $21.5 million, and will likely go up next year. The current minimum translates to an average of $1 million per player on a 22 man roster. $2 million for Mark Recchi? A steal! If he gets paid his player option amount it's pure highway robbery. Player minimums are now at $450,000 and will rise next year. How many nhl minimum wage player do you want on the team?

The Pens current payroll is just over $24 mil right now. They can't even afford to get rid of Gonchar unless they pick up salary while doing it.

If they have a large number of players committed for next year it only means they don't have to give out a lot of raises.

Personally, I think fans look at players salaries too much and should let the team do their own books and the fans should just watch the games. Don't worry about what the players are being paid. That's why the team has accountants and a GM.


I don't begrudge payers making big $$$. The team payroll is important to consider IMO relative to the profitability of the team. Pens fans should know this better than any other fans. The Pens really have never recovered from their bankruptcy brought on by that imbalance. If you have a roster loaded with bad contracts on players that are in a downward career trajectory you can't make moves to improve. The new NHL is all about flexibility and not being locked into bad contracts. My thinking has nothing to do with the old NHL because in the past the Pens could have moved their bad contracts to teams that could add players at will since there wasn't a Cap. If the NHL didn't have a Cap Gonchar would certainly be traded to a team willing to absorb his bloated contract.


Look at players like Danny Markov & Toni Lydman. While the Pens were locking themselves into a long term obligation with a soft, no character player like Gonchar that will be a huge liability for years to come, competent NHL dmen like those 2 were given away because Philly and Calgary had to move contracts for Cap reasons when they signed UFAs. Buffalo and Nashville were smart to not get irrational and sign high priced UFAs and by staying nimble they cherry picked some bargains.

If the Pens had a roster loaded with guys on upward trajectories it would make sense to have them locked up. As it is now the Pens will be bring back much of the same squad next season that is last in the NHL this season. If they had the choice the Pens certainly would choose to get rid of most of the vets, but they can't because the Cap won't allow other teams to take their contracts, so the Pens are stuck.

It makes no sense to think the Pens having to bring back most of their team is a good thing since the team sucks.
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