LATEST NHL BUZZ
With the uncertainty of the new CBA, how GM’s attack the off-season is and will remain the biggest storyline this summer.
“That’s the million dollar question, ” an NHL agent told me on Thursday.
With NHL revenues pushing $3.3 billion, the salary cap under the current system continues to rise and the cap ceiling will be $70.3 million for this summer (per TSN), and that does not include the 5% inflator that would push the cap ceiling to around $73.8 million with the cap floor being $57.8 million.
Teams are being told by commissioner Gary Bettman to operate business as usual this summer,Â and despiteÂ likelihood of the cap returning closer to the $64.3 million mark of this past season if the league gets their wish in the new CBA talks and lowers the players revenue share, there continues to be talk that teams expect to be very aggressive this summer and spend as if the cap will remain in the $70 million range as there are some league executives who believe that teams won’t be punished for next season if the salary cap dips when a new CBA is in place.
The biggest bargaining issue between the NHL and NHLPA is fully expected to be the revenue split where the players currently receive 57%, while owners receive 43% of revenue.
Owners are expected to demand a system closer to a 50-50 revenue split and what would a 50-50 split do to the salary cap? Under the current system with all things tied to the salary cap, a 50-50 split would have the cap ceiling for next season around $62.6 million with the cap floor around $46.6 million. The 5% inflator would push the cap ceiling to around $65.7 million.
That would have a big impact on the Penguins who already have close to $60 million committed to salaries next season.
Expectations are the players will eventually have no choice but to see their revenue share decrease to the 50-53% range, but if the NHL believes the players will take another rollback inÂ salaries like they did last time around, we’re going to have our second NHL lockout in seven years.
BRUINS TO MAKE SURPRISE RUN AT PARISE?
The talk around the league is Zach Parise, who would be the top UFA on July 1, is a somewhat longshot to resign in New Jersey regardless of whether the Devils win the Stanley Cup, due to Parise and his camp having serious concerns about the Devils long-term futureÂ with theirÂ financial woes a glaring concern.
The Devils, Rangers, Wild and Red Wings are among four teams widely expected to go all-out for Parise if he hits the open market.
Among the most attractive teams long-term to Parise’s camp is said to be the New York Rangers. There will be several others to chase Parise but two sleepers to keep an eye on:
The Boston Bruins who are believed to be a team of interest for Parise and the Los Angeles Kings who Parise and the Devils are battling in the Cup Finals and down 1-0 to the Kings. Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com writes “Most people think the Los Angeles Kings canât go after Parise after they splurged in acquiring Jeff Carterâs big contract, but what Iâm hearing is that the Kings still believe they can take a run at the highly coveted Devils captain if he hits free agency.”
RED WINGS AGING CORE
With the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom and a first round exit, it’s no secret that the Detroit Red Wings will be aggressive this off-season in re-tooling their roster.
There has always been a feeling around the league for a few years now that Ryan Suter or Shea Weber would eventually end up with the Red Wings and there’s no doubt theÂ Wings will be all in for Suter if, as expected, he opts to hit the open market.
With just around $44 million committed to salaries next season, many also expect the Red Wings to be all in for Zach Parise.
However, despite players being drawn to playing for head coach Mike Babcock, the Red Wings are not as attractive of a team for top free agents like they were four to five years ago, not to mention Detroit isn’t a great place to live. The Red Wings have an aging core upfront and on the blueline they are not only losing Lidstrom but Brad Stuart has his sights setÂ on returning closer to his family in California.
UFA D-MEN TO CASH IN
Ryan Suter is the big fish on the blueline this off-season and Suter seeking an 8 to 12 year deal will get a huge contract this summer with 8 to 10 serious suitors expected to emerge, and after Suter there’s a drop off to the next group of potential UFA defensemen. However, the mid-tier group are going to be costly and teams willÂ be overpaying. Some buzz on a handful of names….
After Suter, the consensus is Philadelphia defenseman Matt Carle is the No. 2 defenseman. Carle who carried a $3.4 million cap hit in 2011-2012, is seeking a five year, $25-$27.5 million deal, one industry source said. Carle logs big minutes, block shots and is a good puck mover but he’s not a No. 1 type defenseman but he might get paid like one.
Capitals defenseman Dennis Wideman is also likely to land a new deal in the $4 to $5 million range and the same for Barrett Jackman if he decides to hit the open market and not give the Blues a hometown discount.
New Jersey’s Bryce Salvador has seen his stock skyrocket and he’ll be in line for a raise from his $2.9 million salary.
Carolina’s Bryan Allen would be aÂ solid No. 3 pair defenseman on a contender like lets say the Penguins who could use a big body who can clear the front of the net and block shots. Word though out of Carolina is that Allen is seeking a two year deal worth at least $3.5 million per season.
The best option for Pittsburgh to revamp their blueline might be internally.