Friday, 9 December 2011

Kaberle thoughts and effects on the Cap for '12-'13

If you somehow have been living under a rock, the Canadiens today acquired Tomas Kaberle from the Carolina Hurricanes.

Of course, fans in Montreal are up in arms. "He was terrible in Boston" they'll tell you, "...and worse so far in Carolina". The stats would help the Fans' case in these matters (53gp, 1g, 17a -6). Not exactly awe inspiring numbers.

Is it a move of desperation? some will tell you emphatically "YES". I would happen to agree, but for different reasons.There is inherent risk in taking on a player at 33 years of age who's last 53 games haven't exactly been awe-inspiring - but I believe it's a calculated risk.

Kaberle is 33 years old, he'll be 35 when his contract runs out. (Younger than Spacek is now). He had 38 points in 58 games with Toronto last season (22 on the power play). His cap hit for this season is $416,667 more than that of Spacek. 47 pts per season has been the average for Kaberle (which was his exact total with TOR/BOS last season). In my estimation, he cannot hurt - especially on the Power Play.

Kaberle is soft is something that often comes up. I haven't seen him enough to judge, but he's being brought in to Montreal specifically to help with the Power-Play. He's not being brought in to be a number 1 defensive option. I doubt we'll see him kill penalties. If he helps the power-play at all this has to be considered a good move. There are 53 games left in the season.I believe if Kaberle puts up 25-35pts in that span, then he's a good pickup.On his career average pace, he should get around 30pts in the remaining games.

So we've discussed this year, the bigger issue is the future. What does adding 2 more years at a $4,250,000 cap hit mean for the Montreal Canadiens? It's hard to be certain since the CBA is about to expire, but for the purpose of this exercise we'll have to assume the new CBA will look similar to the current one, and we'll keep the Salary Cap at the exact same $65,878,843 that it's currently at. We'll also be looking at a 30 man roster for this excercise, so the numbers won't be exact since players will move up and down from Hamilton.

For the 2012-2013 season, the Canadiens have 12 players under contract at a total cap hit of: $43,502,143. That leaves them with $22,376,700 to sign the 10 current RFA's and 6 UFA's on their roster.

When it comes to the RFA's the team is only required to offer a Qualifying offer to lock their rights up. A player can hold out for more money, but it's unlikely. We'll start from the net out. Carey Price is making over 1 million dollars, so he only needs to be offered the same salary - so 2,750,000 it is. Alexei Emelin, PK Subban, and Rafael Diaz are all in the same boat, they need to be offered 105% of their current salary - meaning $1,033,410 for Emelin, $918,750 for Subban and $945,000 for Diaz. Frederic St-Denis would need an increase to 110% so he'd be at $665,500.

Moving on to the RFA forwards, Petteri Nokelainen, Ryan White, Aaron Palushaj, Andreas Engqvist and Lars Eller need Qualifying offers. Eller, like Price need only be offered his current salary - $1,270,833.
Engqvist and Palushaj are in the 105% bracket so $945,000 and $927,500 respectively. White and Nokelainen need 110% so $687,500 and $605,000 respectively.

Ok. so now we've re-signed all 10 of our current RFA's.  We've got 22 players under contract for 2012-2013 at a cap hit of $54,250,636. Leaving $11,628,207 for Unrestricted free agent signings. 

The Canadiens have 6 impending unrestricted free agents. Some will be back, some won't. Some will get huge raises, some will get pay decreases. The 6 free agents to be are:  Hal Gill, Josh Gorges, Chris Campoli, Mathieu Darche, Travis Moen and Andrei Kostitsyn.

With Markov, Kaberle, Emelin, Diaz, Subban, Weber and St-Denis under contract, I can't see the Canadiens signing all three UFA defense men. In my estimation, Campoli will be the odd-man out. Hal Gill due to age will take a pay cut and Josh Gorges will get a raise. Let's be generous and say Gorges doubles his salary, and Gill takes 75% of his. We'd be looking at cap hits of $5,000,000 and $1,687,500.

For the three forwards, Moen, Darche and Kostitsyn: I can't see Darche back in any way. I think putting Kostitsyn and Moen in the same generous categories as Gill and Gorges is fair for the sake of the exercise. Using that formula Kostitsyn would be back at a cap hit of: $6,500,000 and Moen at $1,125,000.

So now we've re-signed all our RFA's and kept 4 of 6 UFA's for a total cap hit of: $68,563,136 which puts us $2,684,293 over the cap. The cap generally has been going up and realistically Kostitsyn is not getting 6.5mill and Gorges isn't getting 5mill. The point being it can be done, everyone can be signed. Relax.

The long exercise serves to show that it can all be done, fans can't worry about the cap hit, what fans need to do is sit back, relax, and see if Kaberle helps the anemic power play. Give him a few games, see how it goes. The more I think about it, the more I'm optimistic that it just might work out.... 

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