Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Could Somebody Please Explain This to Me?

Ok, I've been waiting on this posting because of the pending Scott Gomez arbitration decision. Now that has been settled and things look like they're going to move. People like this clown and Eklund continue to insist that the Capitals are interested in acquiring Vladimir Malakhov.

Now what I need explained to me is why the Washington Capitals would be interested in helping the Devils get rid of their "dead money." Last year, the Devils and their "genius" of a GM, Lou Lamoriello, got themselves into the mess they're in right now with very ill-advised two year contracts for Alexander Mogilny, Dan McGillis and Malakhov. Mogilny and McGillis were demoted to the AHL last year and Malakhov has been suspended and is considered to be "retired." The Devils don't even list these players on their roster, yet because all three Malakhov and Mogilny were over the age of 35 when they signed their contracts, they will count against the Devils salary cap until their contracts run out. This is why their combined salary of $9.3 $7.1 million is considered "dead money."

Malakhov's $3.6 million is the largest of the three dead salaries but his case the most complex and therefore dangerous too. A team who takes on Mogilny and/or McGillis would have to pay their $3.5 million and/or $2.2 million salaries respectively, even if they were not on the NHL squad. However, because Malakhov is considered to be suspended, his salary would count against the salary cap, but the team would not have to actually pay him. The problem is though; Malakhov still has one year left on his contract. While he is suspended, that contract does not does not run, he would still owe one year of service to whoever holds his contract. This precedent was set by the Alexi Yashin holdout. That means that Malakhov's contract would be "dead money" to whoever holds the contract for one year after the suspension is lifted.

The reason that the Caps are interested in Malakov that most people cite is that the Caps are not at the NHL salary floor of $28 million. Where this comes from, I don't know. As I said this past Sunday, this must be news to the guy who signs the paychecks. TSN.ca and NHLPA.com have incomplete rosters for the Caps. For instance, neither list Boyd Gordon who made $900,600 last season. The Caps resigned him a couple of weeks ago now and do you honestly think he took a pay cut? These sites also fail to list players such as Mike Green and Jakub Klepis who are also expected to contribute more this season. While those salaries won't break the bank, they need to be taken into account for salary cap purposes.

This isn't the first time the Devils find themselves in this situation. Last season that incompetent boob George McPhee took Jeff Friesen off Lou's hands before the season started for nothing more than a third round draft pick. The Caps then traded Friesen to Anaheim at the deadline for a second round pick. Why wouldn't the Caps take an actual player off the Devils roster this time around? Why would they waste cap space (which they do have plenty of) on a player who they don't want playing here anyway. $5 million for Scott Gomez is probably more than the Caps would be willing to pay, even for one season. Though I fail to see how it is the job of the Caps to help the Devils clear out their dead money and keep the players they want. This should be interesting to watch in the coming days.

UPDATE: My good friend Sparky from Washington Hockey.com points out that McGillis was not 35 when he signed his contract. McGillis is 34 right now, so his $2.2 million contract still counts against the Devils cap as long as he is in their system, which he currently is. But should he retire his cap number will no longer count against them unlike Mogliny and Malakhov who are on New Jersey's books until their contracts run out.

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