Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports
The Colorado Avalanche have taken advantage of one team’s cap struggles, and in effect, have created their own. In acquiring forward Carl Soderberg from the Boston Bruins for peanuts, the organization has effectively locked itself out of keeping one of its best fowards.
When the trade went down, Soderberg had yet to sign an actual contract, making the entire ordeal a bit of a gamble for the Avalanche. With that said, the two sides immediately got to work, and by this morning, had settled on a five-year contract that will pay the 29 year old an average of 4.75 million dollars per year.
That’s about market value for a 45-50 point scorer, though it still caught many by surprise. For one, it’ll make it harder for teams to argue that potential trade partners need to retain salary on more talented players (looking at you, literally everybody trying to aquire Phil Kessel).
More importantly, however, it leaves Colorado with just 8.6 million in cap space, all while the team needs to either re-sign or find replacements for the likes of Jan Hejda, Daniel Beriere, Joey Hishon, Freddie Hamilton, and Jordan Caron. More importantly, they have Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie coming up as RFAs next year, along with Erik Johnson, Jamie McGinn, and Alex Tanguay all becoming Unrestricted Free Agents at the samet time.
Oh, and Ryan O’Reilly. While he’s blossomed into a well-respected two way forward, the 24-year-old is becoming an odd man out in Colorado and is likely to be asking for an eight-year deal in the $7.5 million per year range after this season. Trading him now, with one year left at $6 million, would give the Avs room to start preparing for the storm ahead sooner than later, and also allow them to restock the cupboards a bit too.
The Leafs have long been speculated to be interested in the young pivot, and speculation has flared up again in the past few days. While the cap crunch will prevent the Leafs from offering quantity for quality, it’s possible that they could build an offer around a lower-cost contract that offers Colorado a replacement (Tyler Bozak) or a supplement in an area of weakness (Jake Gardiner).
We’ll see how things develop over the course of the day, but from the looks of it, a target has become much more attainable, and everybody else’s contracts look a little bit better. Not bad for a trade that involved a sixth round pick.
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