Salary Cap Clusterfuck


Sacrificial Lamb: Is a lamb (or metaphorical parallel) killed or discounted in some way to further some other cause. In typical modern usage, it is a metaphorical reference for a person who has no chance of surviving the challenge ahead, but is placed there for the common good.

While there’s been a slew of debate concerning how equitable Filip Kuba’s annual cap hit is – $3.7M, his signing guarantees one thing: the roster as is, has left the team without any financial flexibility.

Here’s a look at the Cap Situation for the Senators roster for next year:

Heatley – $7.5M
Spezza – $7.0M
Alfie – $5.4M
Fish – $4.2M
Kelly – $2.125M
Ruutu – $1.3M
Schubert – $883,330
Foligno – $850K
Sloth Donovan – $625K
Winchester – $550K
Forwards Total: $30,433,330

Kuba – $3.7M
Phillips – $3.5M
Smith – $2.6M
Volchenkov – $2.5M
Lee – $1.275M
Picard – $800K
Campoli – $633,000
Defencemen Total: $15.008M

Auld – $1.0M
Leclaire – $3.8 M
Goaltenders Total: $4.8M

Cap Total: $50,241,330

Expected Cap Ceiling: $56M

Now, let’s humorously assume Bryan Murray follows through and retains both Chris Neil and Mike Comrie. Say for a very modest $3.5 million. I’ll also assume that the 12th forward position would be filled by a callup like Ryan Shannon (RFA), Zack Smith ($580K), Peter Regin ($595K), Cody Bass ($513K) or Ilya Zubov ($850K).

This would leave the Senators with approximately $1 to $1.5 million to improve their roster. Even if the team pared the roster by dumping Schubert and Picard, they team wouldn’t save much money since they’re both inexpensive and would need to be replaced on the active roster. At most, you’d save $300 to $600K.

Lineup:

Alfie-Spezza-Heatley
Comrie-Fisher-Bingo Callup like Shannon
Foligno-Kelly-Neil
Ruutu-Winchester-Donovan

Phillips-Volchenkov
Kuba-Smith
Lee-Campoli

Leclaire
Auld/Elliott

What’s left is an offensively challenged forward core that’s highlighted by two unbelievably one-dimensional first-liners and two overpaid 2nd and 3rd line centers. With a backend that lacks a legitimate #1 or #2 defenceman and can only be described as slightly above average, can we really hope that this same blueline corps will work since it’s worked oh so well this year?

Amen for Daniel Alfredsson and the silver lining that is our first non-flaky young goalie who has the pedigree to be successful. Unfortunately, this silver lining spends more time seeking medical advice than a Roberto Alomar female companion. Despite Alfie and Leclaire, isn’t it a bit naive to assume that these two will be able to carry this lineup next season?

There’s no question that Bryan Murray has his work cut out. He’s already said that he won’t approach any of the players who are signed long-term and are protected by movement clauses (read: Phillips, Fisher, Heatley, Alfie, and possibly, the unconfirmed Kuba). That leaves Chris Kelly, Jason Smith and Jason Spezza as the prime candidates for a salary dump. With all due respect to Smith and Kelly, they likely wouldn’t fetch good returns and would strictly be cap casualties.

While the team would probably be better off letting them go and retaining Spezza, Spezza’s impending NTC – that kicks in on July 1st – is a loaded gun. As unfair as it is, they simply cannot endure 6 more seasons of patience, waiting for him to develop into the two-way player that everyone in this City demands he be. Come draft day, Spezza’s going to get dealt, the team’s going to be lucky if they get equal value and there’s no guarantee that they’ll be any better off than they are now. And if this happens, we’re all going to be revisionists – cursing the day that Murray didn’t expedite the rebuilding process by parlaying Kuba and Neil into prospects and picks.

Coming Tomorrow…A Devil’s Advocate Take On This Piece’s Topic

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