Reaching for the floor
Although there is plenty of time remaining this off-season to fill roster spots, sign restricted and un-restricted free agents to new contracts and figure out what the potential rosters will look like come October, the New York Islanders, Atlanta Thrashers and Colorado Avalanche still remain below the NHL cap floor.
Of course, things change during training camp and the pre-season due to the potential of a rookie or two making the big club out of the gate. But with both the Avalanche and the Islanders, even with a rookie or AHLer making the jump, it will not be enough of a payroll addition for them to secure that cap floor number.
This year, the cap floor is set at $43.4 million.
(all numbers below taken from capgeek.com)
New York Islanders:
Current salary cap: $38,986,567
Number of players signed: 22
The New York Islanders earlier today placed Brendan Witt on unconditional waivers. Is this a last hope for a team to take a chance on the veteran blueliner prior to being bought out?
That remains as good a guess as any as to what the Isles will do with Witt. Chris Botta from Islanders Point Blank states the following:
A buyout is probably in his future. The Islanders still carry seven defensemen on one-way contracts for the 2010-11 season. If they buy out this last season of his contract, the Islanders could add the cost as they reach the salary cap floor.
If they do indeed buy him out, approximately $2 million will go against the cap for this season. Any money put onto the team’s cap is important at this time of year when they are that far off from the cap floor.
There are options, such as Chicago Blackhawks netminder Cristobal Huet as an insurance policy to Rick DiPietro. This will give Mikko Koskinen and Kevin Poulin plenty of time to develop as well as Nathan Lawson.
There is also Michael Ryder who only has one year remaining on his contract and looks to have played his last game with the Bruins. Of course, this would mean that Kirill Petrov likely does not make the team out of training camp – something Islanders fans are truly hoping for.
Even with a few options available on how to go about reaching the cap floor number, it remains a guessing game at this point. The only fact is that the Islanders need to add some salary to the payroll in order to avoid league discipline.
Do not forget the mysterious contract of Doug Weight. When will he sign on the dotted line?
And in breaking news, it was reported by various twitter accounts that the team is interested in Eric Belanger, who I feel would be a solid addition to the team.
Current Salary cap: $40,708,333
Number of players signed: 18
With Bryan Little and Niclas Bergfors still un-signed RFA’s, the Thrashers should have no problem reaching the cap floor once they reach an agreement with both players on new contracts.
Current Salary cap: $38,411,667
Number of players signed: 20
The situation in Colorado is a difficult one. The roster seems to be set for October and yet, they remain under the NHL salary cap floor number. However, like the Atlanta Thrashers, Chris Stewart and Peter Mueller remain as restricted free agents without contracts.
Once the dust is cleared and there is pen to paper for the two RFA’s, Colorado should be in good hands (with Allstate?).