Sens Capology 101

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 · 0 comments

Reports have indicated that the salary cap could rise by nine hundred thousand dollars for next season. For the purpose of this blog let's assume that the cap will be set at 57.7 million. With that, here's a look at what The Sens are dealing with:

One way contracts

Spezza 7m, Kovalev 5m, Alfredsson 4.875m, Michalek 4.33m, Fisher 4.2m, Cheechoo 3m, Kelly 2.125m, Neil 2m, Ruutu 1.3m, Shannon .625m
TOTAL 34,458,333

Kuba 3.7, m, Phillips 3.5m, Lee .875m, Carkner 700m
TOTAL 8,775,000

Leclaire 3.8m, Elliott .850m
TOTAL 4,650,000

TOTAL of committed one way salary for 2010-11 season is 47,883,333

There are four players that are restricted free agents that need new contracts. Based on what they made this past season, Peter Regin and Jesse Winchester must be offered 10% increases in order to retain their rights while Nick Foligno and Chris Campoli must be offered 5% increases. Regin, Winchester and Campoli have arbitration rights. Here is what it will take(bare minimum, knowing it will certainly take more) to get all four resigned.

Foligno 825,250, Campoli 708,750, Regin 682,000, Winchester 632,500
TOTAL 2,848,500

The Sens will still be dinged with buy out cap hits on Daniel Alfredsson and Ray Emery.
Alfredsson 700,000, Emery 562,500
TOTAL 1,262,500

Next. Let's assume that 3 entry level players on two way contracts make the big club. Erik Karlsson (big reach there), Bobby Butler and Zack Smith.
Karlsson 1,300,000, Butler 900,000, Smith 533,333
TOTAL 2,783,333

Another thing to keep in mind is the possibility of a one of the young defensemen (Cowen, Wiercioch, Gryba) jumping up and having a big camp, but we'll leave that alone for now.

Adding up our four totals that has Ottawa spending 54,777,666 on 15 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies.

That leaves Bryan Murray with just 2,992,334 in cap space.

Keep in mind that the 54,777,666 assumes that the four RFA's to resign at the minimum. Not happening.

This number will be cut a bit as we know that Murray will not carry 15 forwards. Recent history has shown he will carry seven defensemen and maybe 13 forwards. Another cut will likely come in the form of buying out the remaining 3.5 million (3 million in cap dollars) on Jonathan Cheechoo's contract. That would mean a cap hit on each of the next two seasons at 1.16m rather than three million in the 2010-11 season.

So, the point being. Unless there are other substantial moves looming, the math tells us Bryan Murray doesn't have a hope in hell of resigning any of the three key unrestricted free agents in Anton Volchenkov, Andy Sutton or Matt Cullen.

Out on the Shield

Friday, April 23, 2010 · 0 comments

No matter what happens in this series, you can't say the Sens mailed it in. Down 4-0 in game four there was no quit at Scotiabank Place and down 3-1 in the series there was no quit last night at the Mellon Arena. Reeling off three straight wins against the defending Stanley Cup champions might still be improbable for this banged up group, but last night's effort in enemy territory means Sens fans can hold their heads high when talking about their team's character.

How would you like to be a Devils fan today having to explain away that lethargic effort on home ice to lose to Brian Boucher's Flyers in five games? The Sens have at least served notice that if they're going out, it will be on their shield.

Non Contact Hockey?

Saturday, April 17, 2010 · 0 comments

I cannot believe some of the stuff coming from the Pittsburgh papers today on the hit Andy Sutton delivered on Jordan Leopold. Here's a sampling:

Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Penguins should get more good news today. If the NHL doesn't suspend Sutton for at least one game, it will be a crime because he led with his elbow".

"Many Penguins players, though not all, felt Senators defenseman Andy Sutton went too far with a head-shot blow on defenseman Jordan Leopold late in the first period. Leopold landed on the ice, hands at his sides, and was assisted to the dressing room by a team trainer".

"Despite launching his elbow into Leopold's head — and the NHL has been making headlines lately because of its desire to crack down on head shots — the league won't be suspending Sutton because he did not extend his elbow in the collision".

Number one: After watching the replay several times, it's abundantly clear that Sutton never leaves the ice until after he's made contact with Leopold.
Number two: Sutton's triceps only makes contact with Leopold's head after he's driven it through Leopold's shoulder.
Number three: Sutton has four to five inches on Leopold. Not to mention Leopold was even shorter at the time of impact as he had his head down while in a semi squatting position.

We all feel bad for Jordan Leopold. We never want to see anyone get injured, but the only thing Andy Sutton was guilty of on that play was being big and strong. Did anyone really piss and moan when Craig Adams caught an unsuspecting Daniel Alfredsson with a huge hit just before Christmas? Even Alfredsson admitted that it was his fault saying he has to be more aware of where he is on the ice. If we're going to take the high impact collisions out of hockey then count me out. I'll just go to the Ice Capades.

The most reasonable statement coming from Pittsburgh was offered by fellow hard hitting d-man Brooks Orpik(who knows but for the grace of god go I). "it seemed like a pretty good hit to me, to be honest. You never want to see anybody get hurt, but that was someone, from watching video, he likes to step up like that in the neutral zone. If anything, maybe Leopold was in a vulnerable position, leaning forward"."Sutton's a guy who plays hard. I don't think he was out there to hurt guys."

Exactly. Leopold put himself in a bad spot and compounded his problem but not being aware of who was on the ice, and not keeping his head up. Contact Hockey 101. As far as the back and forth Sutton had with a Pens fan....errrrrr.....reporter after game, check out the latest from Ian Mendes.

The Curse of Heatley?

Thursday, April 15, 2010 · 0 comments

After whining his way out of Ottawa, Dany Heatley continues to stick it to the Sens.

-Aquired from San Jose for his Heatness: Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo and a 2nd Rd pick.
-Signed to help offset the loss of his Heatness's production: Alexei Kovalev

Cheechoo: essentially cut from the team just before the Olympic break
Kovalev: late in an inconsistent season tears ACL, season over
Michalek: tears ACL late in the season, tears it completely in game one of the playoffs, done
2nd Rd pick/Andy Sutton: beware the curse of the Heater....I'm just saying

BTW. The annual cap hits for Kovalev, Michalek and Kuba account for around 23 percent of the 56.8 million allowed per team under the CBA. Yikes. We'll see if this team can overcome.

Sens-Pens prediction

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 · 0 comments

First off. I generally hate predicting anything. Because really?! Who the hell knows? With that out of the way, here we go:

Senators checkmarks

-Core players have experience of getting to a Stanley Cup Final.

-These same players were part of only two teams to beat the Pens in the last three years(Detroit). The likes of Alfredsson, Fisher, Kelly, Spezza, Phillips and Volchenkov won't be sucked into to giving the Pens too much respect.

-Speaking of core players, when Pittsburgh swept Ottawa 2 years ago, Fisher and Kelly missed the whole series, Alfredsson played in two games on one leg and Spezza gutted it out on a sprained MCL.

-The team has only played four playoff games in the last two years. Fatigue is not an issue.

-Top to bottom this is the meanest blueline the franchise has ever had.

-An 11 game winning streak doesn't happen by accident. This team knows it has the ability to get hot and beat anybody.

Penguins checkmarks

-Home ice advantage

-They are battle and title tested. Two straight finals and one Stanley Cup. 'Nuff said on that.

-Crosby, Malkin and Staal make the Penguins the deepest down the middle in the league.

-Crosby is just flat out a winner who decided he can be a 50 goal scorer too.

-If he really is healthy now, Malkin should be well rested between his time off with injury and Russia's poor showing at the Olympics. Ya, he was named playoff MVP last year, not Sid. Scary.

-Marc-Andre Fleury is in the conversation of being the best big game goalie in the game today(See two finals and one Cup in 2 years).

-Sergei Gonchar is already everything the Sens hope Erik Karlsson will become. An elite puck moving, point producing defenseman.

Sens X's

-Half the roster has little or no playoff experience. Including both goaltenders. Zero games for both

-High end skill is not as good as Pittsburgh's high end skill

-Missing a top four defenseman and a top six forward hurts any team. No matter what you might personally think about Kuba and Kovalev, the minutes they play will have to continue to be absorbed by committee.

Pens X's

-Injuries to Chris Kunitz and Matt Cooke hurt the team in the grit and "agitator' dept.

-Playing into June for a 3rd straight season is improbable. The question is, will attrition rear it's ugly head in round one?

-Is Malkin truly healthy or he is just gutting it out. How effective will he be?


-I don't #*$%ing know! But Sens in 6.

Kovalev's contract and cap future

Saturday, April 10, 2010 · 0 comments

With another year left on his contract at 5 million dollars, Alex Kovalev has suffered a serious knee injury which will require surgery. At 37 years of age the question of what's next has to be asked. Should Kovalev's injury be too much for him to overcome at this stage of his career the Sens won't be on the hook for the 5 million dollars, their insurer will. This is a piece from September 2008 on that explains the process:

NHL Insurance Plan Covers Player Contracts For Seven Years

The NHL's insurance plan insures player contracts for seven years, and "beyond that, if the player gets hurt, the team is on the hook for the full amount of his contract," according to Luke DeCock of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. As part of the plan, which the NHL purchases through New York-based insurance broker BWD Group, NHL teams are "required to insure a handful of players through a 'temporary total disability' program administered by the league." Each team "pays a premium based on the salaries of its five highest-paid players, but is free to allocate that coverage how it wishes." NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said that "typically, a team will extend coverage to as many as seven players." Insurance coverage "kicks in when a player misses at least 30 games," and insuring a player under the league program "costs about 5[%] of his salary." But Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford said, "When you get to a certain dollar amount, the premiums keep skyrocketing. I wish it was easier to get each (player) insured, but we can't do that." DeCock noted individual teams "are free to pursue additional coverage, but the heavy premiums make it a losing proposition." Rutherford said that "seeking private insurance to cover a longer deal is prohibitively expensive." The Hurricanes this season "will pay almost $1[M] for $19[M] of coverage through the league program, but even that process isn't simple," as insurers "may balk at something as specific as an individual body part." Rutherford said that the Hurricanes "were able to insure [RW] Justin Williams last season despite a previous injury to his right knee." Williams missed more than three months with a knee injury and the team received insurance payments, but they "wouldn't be able to insure that knee again this season"

Since Kovalev only signed a 2 year deal and he is the third highest paid player on the club, one would assume the Sens put contract under their umbrella when they allocated insurance coverage. So with that covered off the next issue is the salary cap.

In lay terms, the CBA states that any multi year contract given to a player when he is over the age of 35(as of June 30 of the League Year in which the SPC is to be effective) cannot come off the books. It doesn't matter if the player is injured, retired, or sent to the minors(To be fair, if the player is in the minors then the club saves $100,000. Still not the kind of discount that will really help matters).

So in other words, the club is are granted a long term injury exemption by the NHL. Something that infuriated other G-M's in September of 2006 when the Devils G-M Lou Lamoriello was granted the exemption to get out from under Alexander Mogilny's contract.

The precedent is there.

Now all of this is based on the "what if" scenario that at 37 years of age Kovalev can't return from this knee injury. It's a big what if. If things do get to that stage though, G-M Bryan Murray does have the tools within the CBA to get out from under Kovalev's contract in real dollars and in the cap world. Food for thought.

Info on new Sens signing

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 · 0 comments

Yesterday the Sens made an unconventional signing by dipping into Tier 2 Junior A to grab David Dziurzynski( Dur-zin -ski ). The 20 year old forward agreed to a 3 year entry level contract after wrapping up a an impressive season with the Port Alberni Bulldogs of the BCHL, racking up 74 points and 79 PIMs in 57 games. Last year, While playing in the AJHL in his hometown of Lloydminister(best name for a town ever,) Dziurzynski had 185 PIMs in just 54 games. The 6,3 205 pounder isn't shy.

At this level, Dziurzynski has proven he's got the goods. He shows nice speed and skill on this beauty.

The question remains why would the Sens feel compelled to sign a 20 year Tier 2 player? The same reason they signed Bobby Butler and Jesse Winchester. It costs them nothing(in terms of an asset) to take a look. The club knows Dziurzynski is a bit of project as he will start next season in the AHL. However, even though they didn't need to spend an asset to acquire him, the Sens are spending real money (500,000, 550,000, 600,000 if he plays in NHL, 50,000, 52,500, 57,500 if he plays in the AHL) and using one of the 50 contracts they are allowed to have out under the CBA.

I've attached the official release at the bottom of the post. I also exchanged emails with the Bulldogs play by play man. Here is how Evan Hammond describes Dziurzynski:

He uses his size well. Large wingspan allows him to protect the puck well, at least at this level. He is primarily a passer "I'm not a goal scorer" he used to say during his interviews throughout the season. Once he started shooting the puck more and being a little more selfish, he ended up leading the team in goals in the playoffs.

Here is a link to the Alberni Valley Times story.

For more info on how this story came together in BC, check out Evan's blog.

Here is the release from the hockey club.

Senators Sign CJHL Forward David Dziurzynski

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 6, 2010) - Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray announced today the club has signed free-agent forward David Dziurzynski to a three-year entry-level contract.

Dziurzynski, 20, recently completed his third season in the Canadian Junior Hockey League and first with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the British Columbia Hockey League. The Bulldogs acquired his rights in a trade from the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in July 2009.

During the 2009-10 season, Dziurzynski helped Alberni Valley place first in the BCHL's Coastal Conference, scoring 21 goals while adding 53 assists and 79 penalty minutes over 57 games. He had 26 multi-point games, six of which were three-point games, four at four points and one contest at five.

The native of Lloydminster, Alta., led the Bulldogs in playoff scoring with nine goals, 10 assists and eight penalty minutes in 13 games. Alberni Valley fell four games to three to the Powell River Kings in their first appearance in the conference final.

The 6-3, 205-pound forward played the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons for the AJHL's Lloydminster Bobcats. Dziurzynski scored 12 goals and added 25 assists for 37 points while also serving 185 penalty minutes in 54 games in 2008-09. He had eight goals, 12 assists and 82 penalty minutes in 52 games for Lloydminster in 2007-08.

About this blog

Welcome to my Healthy Scratches blog. You can hear Jason York and myself weekdays from 3-6 on Team 1200. I use this blog to expand upon some of the things we talk about on the show, and anything else that really pops into my ample head.