If Alfie retires....trade him?

Thursday, May 10, 2012 ·

I know even suggesting the trading of Daniel Alfredsson in this town could be construed as a career-limiting move but hear me out on this one because it could make sense. My rationale is simple, if he’s going to retire, why not explore the possibility of another team picking up his $4,875,000 cap hit for next season?  Alfredsson, 39, signed his current four year deal after he turned 35 which means his annual cap hit remains on the books whether he retires or not, but not his actual salary. Next season, his salary is a paltry (by NHL standards) $1 million.

The best example of a “cap trade” in recent history is when the New York Rangers dealt Michal Rozsival to the league owned Coyotes for Wojtek Wolski during the 2010-11 season. On the surface, it’s a budget team (Phoenix) taking on a contract that carried an annual cap hit of $5 million, while trading a player whose cap hit was only $3.8 million. However, Rozsival’s front loaded contract only paid him $4 million last season and $3 million this season, while Wolski’s was $3.6 million last season and $4 million this season. The Coyotes cap hit jumped by almost $1.8 million over the life of the contracts, but their payroll dropped because Roszival made less actual cash than Wolski.

The beauty in trading for a retired player like Alfredsson is the team that acquires him would only be on the hook for the cap hit, not the $1 million dollar salary. Two things are certain in the NHL every off season: No. 1, there are always teams looking to move cash, and No. 2, there are always teams just trying to get to the salary cap floor. In the end, owners of “budget teams” care more about actual cash being paid to players. The cap floor is compulsory, the ceiling is irrelevant if you never intend to spend to it.

According to http://capgeek.com/ there were 10 teams (including Ottawa) that finished this season at least $8.4 million dollars under the salary cap. There are three ways to see an Alfredsson trade as plausible: 

One: Some team might see Alfredsson as a way to get to the cap floor without actually spending a dime.

Two: A team isn’t going to park the cap hit for the Sens out of the goodness of its heart. Ottawa could sweeten the deal by flipping picks (ie: The Sens send Alfredsson and a 4th to a team for a 6th round pick).

Three: There are always teams looking to move cash. Especially ones that can’t spend to the cap. The Sens could possibly find a fit for a player they could use that another team would like to shed because he makes too much. Remember, if Alfredsson retires, he makes $0. That can be music to the ears of a budget team if the Sens are willing to take back a player that actually draws a salary.

Keep in mind all of this could be moot for two reasons. No. 1, Alfredsson doesn't retire. No. 2, The Sens likely won't be close to the cap anyway.  However, if it were to happen it would play out like this: Alfredsson tells the Sens he’s retiring, Bryan Murray flips his rights to another team, Alfredsson actually retires and takes whatever hockey operations job is created for him with the Sens. It’s like he never left ... except for $4,875,000 in cap space.



Anonymous said...
May 10, 2012 at 9:48 PM  


Anonymous said...
May 10, 2012 at 10:31 PM  

This is one of the dumbest blogs I have read.

Anonymous said...
May 10, 2012 at 11:24 PM  

Why tarnish Alfie's legacy of only having been a Senator just to clear some cap space? The Sens were 8.4 million under the cap as you mention so you are looking to solve a problem that doesn't exist..

Anonymous said...
May 11, 2012 at 7:26 AM  

Not cool...

Steve Lloyd said...
May 11, 2012 at 8:30 AM  

I knew this would tick Alfie fans off. Keep in mind the blog is more about how to creatively work the cap. I used Alfredsson as the example. As I noted it's probably moot, as barring a drastic change in direction, the Sens won't be a cap team. So, relax. However, I do disagree with those that think his legacy would be tarnished. He will never play for another team. The transaction would be a paper one, and he would immediately begin work within the hockey operations department of the Sens. He'd be the first legacy player to be traded in the NHL that would actually keep his legacy intact, as he would never actually play for the team he was traded to.

Jeff Irvine said...
September 17, 2013 at 5:45 PM  

A reliable source tells me he's off to Detroit, that's the word on the street anyway. - TIPS

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.