Butler to be bought out

Thursday, July 26, 2012 · 0 comments

The Senators have placed Bobby Butler on waivers. If he clears at noon tomorrow he'll be bought out for 1/3 of the 1.2 million left on his contract. The Sens will save 800,000 in real cash. The cap hit after the buyout will be 75,000 this season and 200,000 next.

Explaining why the Senators have a buy-out option this week

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 · 0 comments

During the course of every NHL calendar year there are two buyout periods. The first comes in the two weeks leading up to July 1st, and the second is reserved for teams that have players that have filed for arbitration. However, if the arbitration is team elected, that team must file against two players to have the option of buying out a contract.

Here is the exact language from the CBA with the pertinent parts in bold and my comments in italics:

11.18 Ordinary Course Buy-Outs Outside the Regular Period.Clubs shall have the right to exercise Ordinary Course Buy-Outs outside the regular period for Ordinary
Course Buy-Outs in accordance with Paragraph 13(c)(ii) of the SPC. Each Club shall be
limited to no more than three (3) such buyouts over the term of this Agreement pursuant
to Paragraph 13(c)(ii) of the SPC. However, in the event that a Club has only one salary
arbitration hearing pursuant to Section 12.3(a)
in a given League Year, such Club shall
not be entitled to exercise such a buyout outside the regular period for Ordinary Course
Buy-Outs. No Club shall exercise an Ordinary Course Buy-out outside the regular period
for any Player earning less than $1 million.

The phrase pursuant to section to 12.3(a) is the key here as it deals only with club-elected arbitration. The only arbitration case the Sens had was for Kaspars Daugavins, who was the party that filed, not the club. Therefore, the Sens are allowed to buy-out a contract if they so choose later this week.

As far as the timing for a possible buy-out? First, the club must put the player on waivers for the purpose of buying him out. If he's claimed, great. If not, you buy out the contract. The buy-out period really starts ticking the day an arbitrator rules on a contract, or the day the two sides that were headed for arbitration settle on a new contract. The club must wait three days before waiving the player. In the Sens case, since Daugavins signed yesterday, the earliest would be Thursday. Starting Thursday the Sens would have 48 business hours complete the process of waiving and buying out a player. See below for the exact language:

Section 13(ii) of Standard Player's Contract:
For Clubs who have Club or Player elected Salary Arbitration filings
pursuant to Article 12, within the forty-eight (48) hour period beginning on the third day
following the later of: (i) the Club's receipt of its last salary arbitration award; or (ii) settlement
of its last case
(provided such award was received or such settlement occurred after 7:00 p.m.
New York time; awards or settlements that occurred or were received after 7:00 p.m. New York
time will be deemed to have occurred or received the following business day for purposes of this

All this means is that the Sens have the option to buy-out a player. The obvious follow-up question is, should they?  You can argue both sides.   

Pro buy-out

(i)-According to http://capgeek.com, once Stephane Da Costa is re-signed there will be 48 contracts counting against the Sens reserve list. The limit is 50. When you factor in the fact a teenaged Mika Zibanejad will also count by being in Ottawa or Binghamton, that brings the number to a very too close for comfort 49. Being that close can really limit in season flexibility (note-signed junior aged players don't count towards 50 limit unless they're pro in North America).

(ii)-The Daugavins signing gives the Sens 13 forwards on one way contracts. That doesn't include players like Silfverberg, Zibanejad, Stone, Noesen, Hoffman etc...who are all still on entry level deals. They're could be just too many forwards in the mix right now for a team that is still "building a foundation", as head coach Paul Maclean likes to say.

(iii)-Money. For example. Does Bobby Butler really fit in? He is set to make 1.2 million dollars in the upcoming final season of his deal. Since he's under 26, he can be bought out for 1/3 of that which would equate to a savings of $800,000 in cold hard cash for owner Eugene Melnyk.

Con buy-out

(i)-Despite already having 13 forwards, 6 defensemen and 2 goalies on one way contracts (I include Cowen in that as he is obviously on the team), as it stands today according to http://capgeek.com, the Sens are still about three million dollars under the salary floor. However, the floor could certainly go down once the new CBA is hammered out. Whenever the hell that day comes..... 

We'll see if the Sens exercise their buy-out option later this week.

If Alfie retires....trade him?

Thursday, May 10, 2012 · 6 comments

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.


**Amendment**. Mark Stone to join even a shorter list

Saturday, April 21, 2012 · 1 comments

***Amendment to post. The source info goes by calendar year and therefore doesn't account for early birthdays. Therefore, the teenage list even more exclusive. It's actually 10, not 17. Apologies.***     

It appears Mark Stone will be suiting up for the Ottawa Senators tonight for game five of eastern conference quarterfinals against the New York Rangers. If he does, he'll become just the *11th* teenager to have their first NHL game be a playoff game. Here's the list:

18 year olds: (4)

Gaye Stewart         1942
Rod Brind'Amour   1989
Mike Modano        1989
Jarome Iginla          1996

19 year olds: (6)

Gerry Couture        1945
Marcel Pronovost   1950
Gary Leeman         1983
Bob Halkidis          1985
Dan Vincelette        1987
Daniel Marois         1988

Mark Stone?           2012

Source: http://www.quanthockey.com/

Zibanejad and Silfverberg

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 · 0 comments

With the post season set to begin for the Senators tomorrow night in New York, there is still a lot of buzz amongst the fan base regarding the availability of two of the organization's top prospects. That "buzz" picked up again yesterday when Mika Zibanejad (who turns 19 next week) spent the entire practice skating with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek on the Senators top line. However, the plan was, and is, for the 6th overall pick in the 2011 Draft to head to Binghamton and play in the B-Sens final two games of the season this Friday and Saturday http://senators.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=627322. Yesterday he skated with Spezza and Michalek, this morning he was with Mike Hoffman and Jack Downing.

What happens with Zibanejad next is where it gets interesting. Senators assistant G.M. Tim Murray is sending Director of Player Development Randy Lee along with pro scouts Jim Clark and Rob Murphy to watch Zibanejad play. Murray says it's not about whether or not the young forward can rack of up some points, but he and the brass want to get better handle on his energy level and pace of play. Zibanejad suffered through a tough season in the Swedish Elite League where he battled through an illness and also received a concussion. Sending 3 scouts to watch him play this weekend is all about gauging whether or not it's worth it to at least make him available to Paul Maclean at some point this post season.

If you are concerned about Zibanejad burning up year one of his entry level contract (by playing one more NHL game), don't be. To quote Tim Murray:

"The burning the year here for me doesn't mean anything, he's a top end player that's gonna get his money, he's gonna get his term down the road...but in saying that it is a big decision and you want to be sure that he does bring you that jump, that life and that energy. They're going to keep a close eye on him down there (with Binghamton) and just see where he's at from a physical standpoint."

It should be pointed out that under the terms of the C.B.A, there's a big difference between the 10 game threshold and the one that comes at 40 games. When a junior aged player hits the 10 game mark, year one of his entry level contract burned, but that doesn't put him any closer to unrestricted free agency. That year is burned at the 40 game mark which is the threshold for an accrued NHL season. When players enter the league the clock starts ticking on their wait to becoming a unrestricted by either spending 7 years in the league or hitting their 27th birthday, whichever comes first. In some cases, burning year one of entry level could actually be beneficial. More from Tim Murray:

"Actually by burning the year we get rid of potentially the one year of bonuses that he could make. As I talked to his agent yesterday, neither side is sure who gains by burning the year...He's got 3 years of potentially decent bonus money, you have to assume that he would achieve that in his third year..but there is the potential that he doesn't max out his full earning power by burning a year. That's not a reason we'd do it (play him to burn year 1), I'm just giving you both sides of the story."

Meanwhile, the organization's top prospect is continuing his dominant season in Sweden. Jakob Silfverberg has Brynas up 1-0 in the finals. A series that could end as early as this Sunday, or at the latest April 21st. Tim Murray has been contact with his Silfverberg's agents since the start of the Elite League playoffs:

"We've made it clear we want him here. They're going to do their due diligence and get his release from the national team is what I'm told. When he's done there...he wants to be here. Legitimately, I could see him getting in the line-up. He's a helluva player. It's not like you're putting a kid in the lineup, he's 3 years in the elite league...he's the second youngest MVP (Peter Forsberg) ever...Apart from being in the American League, his development has been outstanding and we believe that he's ready for the next step."

Note: Due to his age, Silfverberg burns year one of his entry level deal this year regardless.

Here is the link for our interview with Tim Murray:

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.