No preface, it’s the NHL Trade Deadline day or for hockey fans, a day as exciting – perhaps even more so – as Christmas Day. And we’re hoping that it will be busy day… particularly the big network stations like TSN and Sportsnet who have their entire hockey crews on site twirling their thumbs on their smartphones doing just like us, waiting to 3:00 pm Eastern, the true deadline, when most of the deals will be announced.
I’ve touched about it in this very blog before, but I could see the Edmonton Oilers being a good trade partner to the Canadiens. Thanks to departed GM Peter Chiarelli, the Oilers are cash-strapped to the ceiling and are, once again, well on the outside of a playoffs’ spot. They
should MUST unload some salary but the challenge that they have is their highest contract – aside from Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Oscar Klefbom – are all under-performing. The other issue is that in order to lower their cap, they have to keep their quality young labour and that’s why they should keep Jesse Puljujärvi, who has been somewhat of a deception so far.
The Canadiens have been trying hard to unload Marc Bergevin‘s biggest mistake, Karl Alzner, and his $4.625 million cap hit. In spite of what some people want you to believe, Alzner is not finished folks. His foot-speed is just not adequate for the man-to-man defense that Claude Julien has implemented on the Habs. In a zone defense, where he doesn’t have to follow players around, he can still be very efficient, not counting his short-handed and shot blocking abilities. Here is how Alzner’s salary is structured:
We know that Bergevin dodged a bullet when the Oilers gave Milan Lucic an extra year, beating the Canadiens’ offer of five years when the former Bruins became a UFA. So the interest was there. However, since then, Lucic has never been able to live up to the $6 million cap hit he was awarded by Chiarelli. He’s still decent defensively, can still skate well for a big boy and he is physical and intimidating. He just isn’t putting up offensive numbers. Here is how Lucic’s contract looks like:
In order for them to rid themselves of bad contracts, teams in today’s NHL have to be creative. We’ve touched on some of those creative ways for the Canadiens to unload Alzner’s contract before so let’s explore this option now. What if the Canadiens and the Oilers used some creativity and sort of helped each other out? For example, what if each team kept, let’s say, 50% of the players’ salaries? This is what it would look like:
Is this something Bergevin would be enticed to do? Could he possibly get an incentive from the Oilers – other than their 1st round pick or Puljujärvi – to do it? Would Lucic waive his no-movement clause to go to Montreal? Speaking of NMC, here is what CapFriendly.com describes would happen:
The clause can travel with the player even if he consents to being traded or is claimed on waivers:
- This requires that the acquiring team sign an addendum to the contract ensuring that the clause does in fact travel with the player (written by the player’s agent)
- If the acquiring team refuses to sign the addendum, and the player waives his clause anyway, at that point the clause may be nullified
Of course if you’re Bergevin, Lucic MUST agree to waive his clause otherwise, no deal. I think that this is something that could work but who am I to say? What we know is that those two teams will have to be creative in order to rid themselves of those salaries as buying them out would handicap them for longer than this type of trade. Last but not least, this is not necessarily a trade that has to happen right now, at the trade deadline. Or perhaps they could look at another possibility that we’ve discussed before, a deal around Kris Russell?
Regardless, let’s enjoy Trade Deadline day… although the action will likely happen at around 3:00 pm Eastern time. Go Habs Go!