Hi everyone. This is my first post. I have found this topic to be most interesting so I will throw in my 2 cents worth. Speculating generates many questions and right now there are questions we do not know the answers too.
1. What will be the NHL salary cap next year and what will be the self imposed cap set by Karmonos and JR ?
The NHL cap has gone from 39 to 44 to 50.3 mil the last 3 years. The canes self imposed cap this year was 44 mil and they will finish this year around 48 mil. I am guessing the NHL cap will probably fall somewhere between 56 and 58 mil for next year. Hopefully the canes self imposed cap will be somewhere between 48 and 50 mil. Also the new collective barginning agreement(CBA) will be up for renegotiation at the end of the 010-011 season. I read an article in the hockey news that most GM's do not carry many contracts past the year of a new CBA.
2. Do we sign are 5 RFA's easily or will it be a battle ?
I think the first order of buisness for JR is to resign Ruutu, Eaves, Larose, Gleason, and Seidenburg. All five are eligible for arbitration if they choose to be a pain. JR must sign all five before june 25. If they do not he will be required to make a qualifying offer to any that do not resign by June 26th. He must do this to have right of first refusal and draft pick compensation. The qualifying offer for each would have to be a 1 year contract for the following amount.
Ruutu-3.75 mil Eaves-1.93 mil Larose-997,000 Gleason-2.35 mil Seids-1.64 mil
Once that happens, other teams will give offer sheets that JR has to match to keep the player or the player will be lost to another team and we will recieve draft pick compensation. If no other teams make an offer sheet then the team can go into arbitration. So to avoid this mess JR must get these guys resigned by June 25th. So get them signed JR. Give Ruutu 2.2 to 2.5 for 3 years, Eaves 1.3 to 1.5 for 3, Larose .8 to 1 for 3, Sieds 1.2 for 3, and show Gleason that we traded JJ for him because we want him. 2.4 for 5 years. The only one I see as a possible problem may be Ruutu. If I can figuere out what will be on that qualifying offer then you now his agent has.
3. Is there another D-man out there that JR is drooling for?
This is the question that may cause the trading of one of our top 10 forwards. I agree with several other posts that Cole is our most tradable resource. And I am a big Cole fan. If Brindy's and Willy"s knees are good to go, and JR has someone in mind, I think Cole is gone this summer. Here is my reason. Cole becomes a UFA at the end of next year. He will be 30 and looking for that final contract to get him into his mid 30's. I say he will be wanting something around 5 to 5.5 for 5 to 6 years. Well our franchise player Staal becomes a RFA next year also. Hopefully JR can get him for around 7 mil for 7 or more years to keep Staal a Cane for good. So my opinion is that JR will not tie up that much money in 2 players, so Cole will be the man out. If Brindy or Willy's knees become a problem he may hang on to him until next years trade deadline or if he cannot swing a deal for the D-man he wants. If Cole would be willing to stay for 4.5 for 5 years I think JR would keep him. And if he stays injury free, I predict Cole will have a huge year next year with it being his last year in his contract.
4. Do we resign our UFA's ?
SAMSONOV !!!!!!!!!! Yes! This could turn out to be interesting. Hopefully Sammy will have a soft spot in his heart that we gave him a second chance and we can get him for 2.8 to 3 mil for 3 years. Unfortunately agents will probably get in the way. Sammy's point per game stat while with the canes at this writing is .89p/pg. That ranks right there with Staal-.97 Whitney-.94 Cullen-.88 Brindy-.86 Willy.83. So if comparable numbers give comparable contracts then JR may have to dish out 3.5 for 3 years. Still think that is a good deal but hopefully some other GM doesn't go crazy and offer alot more.
Hedican. Time to retire or go elsewhere. Frees up 2.4 mil and we bring up Borer at .512 mil. Show Borer we want him as a cane because he becomes a RFA next year.
Wesley. Love the guy. Great positional defenseman. But age is starting to show. If JR does NOT bring in another d-man, then i say give him his usual 1 year deal at 1.4 mil. If JR does bring in another d-man then Wes should "retire" along the lines of neidermayer and selaane and if we start having injuries with our d-men next year let Wes "unretire" to fill in the gaps.
Letowski. If Cole stays, let him see what he can get elsewhere. If Cole is gone resign him for .9 for 2 years.
5. Do we really need to take up a roster spot with an enforcer??
You bet your *edit* we do !!!!!!!!! I think this year proved to Lavi that his no fighting rule was wishful thinking. The NHL is not going to do anything to stop the fighting nor the goons in hockey. Each team has to stand up for itself. Unless there is another one out there we want, resign Brookbank for .7 for 2 years and let him play his 3 minutes a game and be ready to drop the gloves.
6. What about the River Rats ?
These guys saved our season this year. Would love to see them all remain canes, but I doubt if that happens. I think Conboy will still be willing to take a 2-way contract. He is a UFA. Up it to about .65 mil for when he is called up. I do think his versatility of being able to play forward or d is a plus, but I do not see him making the 23 man roster in september. Not so sure that Coins and Bayda would be willing to take 2 ways again. If Cole is still here I think one of them may get resigned for .6 to .8 mil for 2 years. If Cole is gone then they both have a shot at being resigned. However if our run continues deep into the playoffs, then other GM's are definitly going to notice both of them and we may lose both since they are UFA's.
7. Do we bring in a UFA to back up Cam, or resign Crackers ?
We all know that Lavi likes Crackers, and the fact that he does not complain publicly about playing time and he has a good relationship with Cam. So I guess it will have to be a choice for JR to make. Resign Crackers at 1.4 or let him go and resign Leighton for .7 to .9 mil. I do NOT forsee JR giving up 2 to 3 mil to bring in some other UFA goalie and having close to 6 mil paying for 2 goalies.
8. Will JR shock us all and make more trades over the summer?
Who knows. The man is a genuis. I can see him skocking us all. I do see any of the following being traded if JR can get what he wants in return. Cole, Larose, Kaberle and even Ruutu and Eaves if there resigning becomes a pain. Brindy and Williams are not trade material right now. If other teams thought we were trying to trade them they would not bite due to their knee situation. I forsee Brindy retiring as a cane but do agree with many of the other post that his minutes should decrease. Williams is still young enough to make a full recovery with no problems.
I am sure JR will try to sign players as low as he can, so some of my estimates may be to high and some may be to low. So here is how I see the canes roster next september unless JR gives us a wild summer ride.
I promise my next post will not be as long.
Our Roster if Cole is here, Samsonov is signed, and no other trades are made. Salaries based on salary cap hit.
Staal-4.5 Cole-4.0 Brindy-3.6 Whitney-3.55 Willy-3.5 Sammy-2.8 to 3.5 Cullen-2.875 Walker-2.5 Ruutu-2.2 to 2.5 Eaves-1.3 to 1.5
Larose-.8 to 1 Brookbank-.7 Aucion-.6 to .8 Bayda-.6 to .8
Corvo-2.625 Gleason-2.4 Kabs-2.2 Wallin-1.725 Sieds-1.2 Wesley-1.4 Borer-.512
Ward-2.667 Leighton-.7 to .9
Cap Hit Low End 48.954 mil High End 50.954 mil