NHL Salaries

NHL trade deadline dominated by retention of limited space



When CEOs say they want to make deals that will work for both sides, they’re not always telling the truth.

What CEO wouldn’t want to have a counterpart every now and then?

But as the 2021 NHL trade deadline approached on Monday, altruism among general managers was the order of the day. This allowed the general managers of buyers and sellers, as well as the mid-level teams, to get exactly what they wanted.

With rival teams having already met or exceeded the salary cap cap, a tremendous amount of salary cap space retention has occurred, even among teams that were not in the core trade. More than $ 22 million of salary cap space has been kept in transactions made on or before the deadline day.

Most notably, the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to acquire Nick Foligno from Columbus while keeping the Blue Jackets at 50 percent, and the San Jose Sharks are retaining half of what was left. Toronto also got Calgary goaltender David Rittich, with the Flames keeping 50 percent.

Columbus took advantage of his ability to keep a salary cap because he was able to secure a first-round pick among the Maple Leafs and also the Tampa Bay Lightning, which involved the Detroit Red Wings and ended up getting the defenseman. David Savard of Columbus. for a first-round pick, but adding only a quarter of its hit cap to their ledger.

The Boston Bruins even allowed the Buffalo Sabers to keep half the maximum load of former league MVP Taylor Hall in a trade that sent the 2010 No.1 pick to Boston.

This is the NHL when not only are the top teams maximizing their cap, but the cap on the cap is expected to remain stable as we continue to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and teams are still operating below full capacity. In Canada, the North Division teams weren’t even allowed to have fans.

“Just look at the trade we made. They were possible if we kept the money, and they found another team to keep half of the half we withheld, ”Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said on a video conference Monday. “So this is it. It was tough, and they had to do these three-team trades to get them under their cap.

“It was a challenge at the deadline and it will continue to be a challenge the next offseason as well, because the way the business side works, obviously some guys have the arbitration rights and that pretty much determines where their wages are going to go. And sometimes there is no way around that and with the success of the players the salaries keep increasing.

If you’re wondering why teams like the Sharks and Red Wings would get involved to help people like Toronto and the reigning Stanley Cup champion in Tampa Bay, you don’t need to look any further than the Draft. the NHL. San Jose is recharging, Detroit is rebuilding itself. For the cost of a few million, the Sharks were able to purchase an additional fourth and fifth round pick. The Red Wings got two fourth-round picks, including one from Colorado, after agreeing to retain half of defenseman Patrik Nemeth’s cap hit.

While militarizing cap space to take bad contracts and rack up choices as sweeteners has been a strategy for years, grabbing choices as a reward for keeping pay has become the thing this year.

“When you’re in that phase of trying to rebuild and reset your team, [cap space is] something that [if] you have to use, ”Sharks general manager Doug Wilson told The Athletic. “We have tried to share this with many teams.”

While some experts complain that teams benefiting from the capping retention craze are legally bypassing the cap and violating the sanctity of the system, the alternative would be for teams to be handcuffed and not trade. Limited teams would have to swap players for players and would operate on the spot rather than improving. Teams that are not in contention would be stranded by letting their unrestricted free agents walk without receiving competition.

In fact, all space retention is in the spirit of the collective agreement, as it promotes parity and mutual assistance between teams, regardless of their stage in their individual team building processes.

So those who don’t like it should get used to it. This will be the only way to have movement on the trade deadline or during the offseason, even when the cap eventually increases. And it’s an approach that benefits all who are willing to get involved.