Cap Crunch?

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
August 01 2014 10:19PM

crunch

The Leafs have added a bunch of new players. They've made some trades. They've retained most of their restricted free agents (no pressure, Spencer Abbott). But now Toronto is two months away from puck drop, and people remember the mess that they got themselves into last year. Are they on a crash course to do it again?

Maybe, but probably not.

The Current Situation

According to our handsome Nations Network friends at NHL Numbers, the Maple Leafs are currently $1.74 million over the Salary Cap. They're currently spending $43 million on forwards, $21.844 million on defencemen, $5.2 million on goalies, $833,000 on Tim Gleason's buyout, $512,000 on Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner's performance bonus overage, and $200,000 from retaining Carl Gunnarsson.

How To "Fix It"

That sounds bad, right? I mean, you can't play while over the Salary Cap! It's in the Collective Bargaining Agreement! Well, there's another thing you have to consider - you can't dress six forward lines in a game either, unless you plan on having no defencemen. The overage comes with the assumption that the Leafs have 18 forwards on the team right now.

Training camp will ultimately decide who makes the team and who doesn't, but we can make a couple of assumptions. First off, it appears that the Leafs won't be icing pure enforcers this year. Frazer McLaren was sent down late in the season, and Colton Orr will probably join him. Sending them to the Marlies shaves $1.625 off the books, and brings the Leafs down to 16 forwards and $115,000 in overage.

The next step becomes a bit of a wildcard. Neither Matt Frattin or Carter Ashton are waiver exempt, and I don't think the Leafs want to risk losing them for nothing. At the same time, recent signings may push them out of the lineup. I also see Trevor Smith as likely to go down, but have my doubts that a team will be quick to claim him.

Assuming that all three are waived (whether they clear or not is irrelevant), there's a potential savings of $2.201 million, bringing the Leafs down to 13 forwards (I expect Troy Bodie to be the extra forward) and giving the Leafs $2 million in wiggle room.

This, of course, is without any potential trades being brought into the mix.

No Massive Rush

The process that the Leafs take to do this maneuvering can be done with more patience than last year. To be blunt, they're closer to making it under while holding a massive surplus of roster players to shed off.

There's still a benefit to getting under by a fair margin, however. Many will point to potential trade deadline acquisitions as the primary reason for this. However, this would require the Leafs to be very competitive at that point, which while not impossible, is unlikely.

More importantly, room should be left for bonus overages. A probable increase in Morgan Rielly's minutes should give him more opportunity to max out his numbers, and the Leafs really don't need to have another carry-over situation next year.

In any event, this is a pretty manageable situation, and it should be an afterthought by the end of training camp.

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I bring news about the Toronto Marlies, opinions about the Toronto Maple Leafs, and a bunch of ridiculous thoughts about everything else.
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#1 Michael Mazzei
August 01 2014, 10:25PM
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Matt Frattin can NOT be sent down to the minors! That defeats the whole purpose of the trade for D'Amigo. Matt Frattin should be in the lineup.

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#2 Adam
August 01 2014, 11:34PM
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Maybe we'll get lucky and Clarkson will be the 7th(sending Bodie down I guess) so Frattin can play? Doubtful, but one can dream

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#3 leafdreamer
August 02 2014, 03:11AM
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So, we're basically gonna lose 3 guys to waivers and that is if the goons are starting with the Marlies?

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#4 WesternDP
August 02 2014, 07:28AM
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This is the Shanahan era... so the decisions are more logical and have a more business-like feel to them...kind of like Detroit.

With that business-like approach, I think they will consider asset management more carefully. What's the point of trading for Frattin if you lose him on waivers?

Both Frattin and Ashton are no longer waiver exempt. I don't think the Leafs will risk losing them.

In a game of asset management you have to ask yourself, "Who is likely to clear waivers?"

The most probable and most simple answer? "The players that have cleared waivers before."

McLaren is already on the Marlies according to capgeek.

Colton Orr has cleared waivers before and with that relatively large salary (there are cheaper enforcer options)...he will clear again. Trevor Smith has cleared before. Troy Bodie, (as much as I like him) has cleared waivers many times before so he is my bet to be the third one sent down.

So that leaves you with 14 forwards and everybody is a bonafide hockey player: Kessel,Bozak, Van Riemsdyk, Lupul, Kadri, Clarkson, Komarov, Santorelli, Booth, Winnik, Kontiola, Frattin, Holland, Ashton.

My guess is that they might go with just 6 defensemen because their 7th defenseman in Granberg or Percy is still waiver exempt, just bring them up as needed.

Add in 2 goalies and you are at 22 players, one below the opening day roster limit.

Some people will worry about the lack of toughness, but against most teams they will be tough enough. Clarkson and Polak have fought some tough customers. Also not very well known in the fact that Danniel Winnik is 210 lbs and will stand up for his team. He won't knock people out, but he will stand up for a smaller guy and has an impressive dance card that includes Derrek Dorrset, Ryane Clowe, Troy Bodie, Travis Moen and Cody McLeod: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGsQeZmyrZQ

If a forward gets injured, Bodie will be the first one called up.

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#5 leafer2013
August 02 2014, 08:27AM
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Just wait until HOlland starts the season on the marlies and people go on about how smart rationale Shannyhan is being.

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#6 A rye morning
August 02 2014, 09:20AM
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When that space shuttle crashed years ago, they actually named a breakfast cereal in memory.

Space Shuttle Crispies.

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#7 leafer2013
August 02 2014, 09:21AM
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A rye morning wrote:

When that space shuttle crashed years ago, they actually named a breakfast cereal in memory.

Space Shuttle Crispies.

What a loser you are for saying that.

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#8 WesternDP
August 02 2014, 09:23AM
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The comment at 7:28 today did not come from me. Whoever is writing under my name, please use another.

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#9 getrdone
August 02 2014, 09:29AM
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Jeffler, If I read your article correctly you stated " this would require the Leafs to be very competitive at that point, which while not impossible, is unlikely". Where do you draw that from? until the last 14 games the Leafs were competitive. Do you think this lineup is less talented than last years lineup? The players the Leafs have added more than adequately replace the ones that left. Winnik, Booth, Santorelli, Kontiola and Komarov will replace those who left nicely and the team is deeper with this bottom six than the team last year. Along with the defense upgrade will give the top six much more support than last year.

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#10 Gumby
August 02 2014, 10:00AM
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@WesternDP

Winnik and Clarkson are brutal fighters, just saying...

Although what a beast Polak is though, hockeyfights.com + Roman Polak = fun ways to pass time in the offseason

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#11 WesternDP
August 02 2014, 10:10AM
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WesternDP wrote:

The comment at 7:28 today did not come from me. Whoever is writing under my name, please use another.

fake

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#12 WesternDP
August 02 2014, 10:43AM
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Gumby wrote:

Winnik and Clarkson are brutal fighters, just saying...

Although what a beast Polak is though, hockeyfights.com + Roman Polak = fun ways to pass time in the offseason

I agree somewhat, but at least Winnik shows up.

Clarkson isn't a heavyweight and is outclassed by the larger guys...but how many teams will dress a true heavyweight this year?

Clarkson does ok sometimes especially against the guys close to his size.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lV2vit6c4eM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WmNkILNFAA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th6j0sxCKd0

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#13 CMpuck
August 02 2014, 10:44AM
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Does anyone in the depth chart behind Kadri really matter all that much, we'll lose a terrible player or two. Why stress over loser players?

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#14 Jeremy Ian
August 02 2014, 11:17AM
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Should teams bump up against their cap? On the surface, it looks like leaving little wiggle room, dangerous. That's short-sighted.

It is seldom a good idea to have excess capacity. That means resources (in this case, revenues you can spend) are idle. In a competitive setting, you want all available resources invested in the drive to winning.

There are two ways to get rid of slack.

First, pay for a handful of expensive players till you hit the roof. Benefit: should (if you've done your homework) improve the per capita quality of your roster. Risk: injuries leave you with few options (our center problem for a spell last season). Or (as the Leafs did last summer) invest in bad contracts and overpay. So, the strategy of raising the per capita bar in the moment backfires.

Second, spend your money on too many players, as long as the marginal cost of each additional contract is less than the marginal improvement of the player. Yes, this means there are more bodies around than are necessary. But you have reserves in case of injury and chips to trade with for either player upgrades or (even better) some draft picks.

The Leafs pivoted from the first model to the second. Smart.

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#15 CMpuck
August 02 2014, 11:48AM
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Wouldn't it be heart breaking to both lose Frattin to waivers and to see D'Amigo score 3 goals in 40 games for another team?

When will management treat recyclable assets like the mega stars they are?

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#16 Gumby
August 02 2014, 12:20PM
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WesternDP wrote:

I agree somewhat, but at least Winnik shows up.

Clarkson isn't a heavyweight and is outclassed by the larger guys...but how many teams will dress a true heavyweight this year?

Clarkson does ok sometimes especially against the guys close to his size.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lV2vit6c4eM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WmNkILNFAA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th6j0sxCKd0

Don't get me wrong, I love Winnik's playing style... He could just benefit from a few boxing classes.

Thanks for the Clarkson links tho, enjoyed that. I guess you're right that he goes up against bigger guys more often than not, perhaps that's why I think he gets thrown around a lot.

Hope that guy can put it together this year. In fact, I think we all do.

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#17 WesternDP
August 02 2014, 06:21PM
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Gumby wrote:

Don't get me wrong, I love Winnik's playing style... He could just benefit from a few boxing classes.

Thanks for the Clarkson links tho, enjoyed that. I guess you're right that he goes up against bigger guys more often than not, perhaps that's why I think he gets thrown around a lot.

Hope that guy can put it together this year. In fact, I think we all do.

Clarkson will turn things around and make fans like you eat his words.

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#18 jasken
August 02 2014, 06:50PM
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It's not hard really trade Phaneuf for a 3/4 rd draft pick, retain 1.5mil of his bs salary and bring up granberg/percy or whoever develop them at NHL level with limited ice time and you have roughly 4 mil to spare problem solved.

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#19 Gardiner-Reilly
August 02 2014, 08:51PM
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CMpuck wrote:

Wouldn't it be heart breaking to both lose Frattin to waivers and to see D'Amigo score 3 goals in 40 games for another team?

When will management treat recyclable assets like the mega stars they are?

Dude, what's your issue? The reason losing Frattin to waivers would be "heart breaking" as you put it is because the Leafs could have easily traded D'Amigo for a draft pick but instead they picked up a player. That means they should use that player because if not, they've basically missed a good opportunity to get a draft pick and have given a player (D'Amigo in this case) away for nothing.

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#20 WesternDP
August 02 2014, 08:52PM
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WesternDP wrote:

Clarkson will turn things around and make fans like you eat his words.

another fake post

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#21 steven86
August 02 2014, 09:53PM
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How are we over the cap? We have 1 useful forward line. One line of you useful defence. The rest of the team is ahl/journeymen. It going to be another long season......

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#22 steven86
August 02 2014, 09:56PM
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jasken wrote:

It's not hard really trade Phaneuf for a 3/4 rd draft pick, retain 1.5mil of his bs salary and bring up granberg/percy or whoever develop them at NHL level with limited ice time and you have roughly 4 mil to spare problem solved.

Is this a joke? Who's going to cover his nearly 30 minutes a night? The kids? Give you head a shale, he might not be an elite defender but he's the best we have

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#23 Gardiner-Reilly
August 03 2014, 12:07AM
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steven86 wrote:

How are we over the cap? We have 1 useful forward line. One line of you useful defence. The rest of the team is ahl/journeymen. It going to be another long season......

Okay, so I will assume the forward group you are referring to is the 1st line. In that case, in what world do Kadri and Lupul fall into the category of ahl/journeymen? Even the L.A Kings would gladly take either of them. Lupul is a 50-60 point producer in a regular uninjured season. If 50-60 points is an ahl/journeyman that would make JVR also a journeyman (although I think he'll get more than that). Kadri got 50 points last season and will only be getting better. I predict he gets at least 60 points next season. Meanwhile in the bottom six, mostly the players are there for their potential upside. Santorelli got 28 points in 49 games last season. That averages out to just under 40 points in a full season. That's easily a 2nd-3rd line player on the vast majority of teams. Booth got 19 points in 66 games in a terrible year for him. I expect him to get around the same numbers as Santorelli next season (just under 40 points in a full season). Holland is certainly not a journeyman. He is still very young and most teams would love a prospect like him. He has the upside to be a potential 2nd line center. Certainly a 3rd line center on any team when he matures more (possibly even now). Frattin is in the same situation as Holland. Winnik is not a journeyman because he was on a loaded Ducks team last year. That should be convincing enough not to mention his 30 points which make for a useful player on any team. Clarkson can't be as bad as last year. I think he'll get at least 30 points. Really the only one you could argue might be a journeyman on offence would be Kontiola but that's why the Leafs have too many players. Not all of these players will be playing for them next season. And I believe that Kontiola has potential as shown by his numbers in the ahl when he was in his early twenties (almost a point per game production), his khl play (around .75 points per game), and international play (at the Olympics he got 10 points in 7 games!)

Onto the defense. With the exception of Polak the Leafs don't have a journeyman or ahl player on defense. I guess you could argue Franson but keep in mind he finished in the top 10 for defensive scoring in the shortened season and still got 30 points in a terrible year for him last year. I'm no fan of Franson's but 30 points as a defenseman is pretty good and considering what a bad year it was for him, expect many more points this season from him. I'm hoping 40 points but maybe that's just dreaming.

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#24 jasken
August 03 2014, 12:52AM
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steven86 wrote:

Is this a joke? Who's going to cover his nearly 30 minutes a night? The kids? Give you head a shale, he might not be an elite defender but he's the best we have

No its not a "joke" you seem to think he is irreplaceable or something. You think Reilly and Gards aren't going to push for those jobs. Robidas if healthy and returns to form is a top dman, having him guide Gards all positive, it will be Polak/Reilly/Phaneuf battling for second pairing my money goes to Reilly/Polak. That being the case 7 mil for Phaneuf to be 3rd pairing with Franson I dont see the sense in it.

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#25 Gardiner-Reilly
August 03 2014, 06:46AM
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steven86 wrote:

Is this a joke? Who's going to cover his nearly 30 minutes a night? The kids? Give you head a shale, he might not be an elite defender but he's the best we have

You can Eat my second pair!!

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#26 A rye morning
August 03 2014, 06:56AM
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If I were going to name a breakfast cereal after the Leafs, it would probably be Shreaded Weep.

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#27 Gardiner-Reilly
August 03 2014, 08:31AM
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Gardiner-Reilly wrote:

You can Eat my second pair!!

Nice Troll.

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#28 STAN
August 03 2014, 09:24AM
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There is a good chance that one or two players not mentioned above make the team out of training camp. That would allow SHANONIS™ to make trades for picks and get well below the cap.

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#29 WesternDP
August 03 2014, 12:09PM
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WesternDP wrote:

I agree somewhat, but at least Winnik shows up.

Clarkson isn't a heavyweight and is outclassed by the larger guys...but how many teams will dress a true heavyweight this year?

Clarkson does ok sometimes especially against the guys close to his size.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lV2vit6c4eM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WmNkILNFAA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th6j0sxCKd0

Another Fake.

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#30 Fred-65
August 08 2014, 11:04AM
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The one point that seems to be missing is the fact that TO has 6 NHL defensemen signed. No team goes into the season with only 6 NHL D. Most dress 7 and sit one in the box.....so you're going to need to add D to the roster. Most teams go with 8 D, 13 F and 2 goalies. So the fact is they have more signings to make

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