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Jul 12, 2018
Toronto Maple Leafs
2nd Favourite Team
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For an RFA deal, this is fair, nothing to write home about, but definitely not an overpayment. In terms of the value the player will bring over the term, this deal is excellent, as most RFA deals are. Barzal has a lot of leverage at the end of this term, he will essentially just negotiate for UFA money with term, or take his QO or arbitration number and walk himself to UFA status in 4 or 5 years, but NYI likely gets him underpaid for 3 years, then if things are working, he's young enough that UFA money on an 8 year term shouldn't be a risky bet, and if it's obvious he wants out, you an probably still get a decent return. I love this gamble for Pittsburgh. Marino succeeded last year at a level you couldn't anticipate, basically playing like a high end #2 defensemen, but the way he did it seemed very much rooted in skill and hockey IQ, which tends to be more repeatable. His underlying numbers matched up extremely closely to his actual results, which is typically a good sign that it wasn't a fluke, and at this price, he's being paid more like a decent #3, excellent #4 then he is a top pairing guy, so there is room for him to decline quite considerably, without making this an overpay. I also like that they get this price essentially right through his entire prime, without having to pay for any 30+ seasons, which again, lowers the chances of this going south.
It's a bit of a gamble, but if he plays at the same level next season, they will have 6 more years of a guy making about $2M less than he should, which is the type of thing that can really help keep the window open as long as possible.
It's hard to call it a "bad" deal, I don't see Pulock failing to live up to it, it's more that some bad cap management put the Islanders in a position where they couldn't offer the AAV necessary to get some term. They can likely make an appropriate offer to Pulock at the end of this deal, but they took on a significant risk of the player walking away all to save a few dollars now, which is not a good look.
Overall, I still would say this is a "good contract". The Islanders are going to get more than $5M worth of defensemen from Pulock over the next two years, and if a player doesn't want to sign for longer than his RFA term, teams don't have a lot of recourse, so if this was what Pulock wanted, Lou didn't really mess up. That being said, the reality is the Islanders weren't in a position to offer more term and AAV to get him locked up, and putting the team in that position with other bad deals is the real problem here.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>BCAPP</b></div><div>I'd argue most of the league is in cap trouble because of the unexpected flat cap from covid which has given those with cap a very valuable commodity.
We had to dump Johnsson for no value (that's ****ty asset management no matter how you put it) and frankly there was talk of weegar but we can't acquire him now for cap reasons.
Our cap situation isn't terrible but it isn't good. And Marner just makes too much. That and the stupid Kessel retention that's still on the books</div></div>
Marner got too much for an RFA contract, but it's about $1.5M more than he should have gotten for that term. As a UFA he easily gets that deal, and given that the years purchased, he likely delivers strong value on that deal versus a similar UFA (as they would have been signed from 27-33 instead of 22-28). So overall, it still doesn't make his contract "bad" as in they would still get value in a trade for it, and having it is better than not having it. Obviously you would rather have Rantanen at his price, but Marner's contract doesn't do near the damage to Toronto's cap situation that people seem to think.
Going back to the Johnsson trade, while that trade is definitely trading at a loss, that wasn't just because of cap alone, they were trading a depressed asset, as he was coming off a down year. But the fact remains, they got positive value, if a team just had the space but didn't have the player to trade to get even some value back, that is actually a weaker position from an asset management standpoint.
I think what you are seeing is the landscape shifting. Before, teams just circumvented the cap, management didn't really have as strong a grasp on it, so they didnt' like to be too "tight" to it, so instead they just came up with ways to get around it. They basically created an RFA market where it was expected that an RFA would get paid well below market value, then stars would get massive length deals that would likely see the player retire, or become another GMs problem, all of which created this middle teir UFA pool for 28-32 year olds had to get paid to make up for the lesser amounts they got as RFAs, and we saw decent players get paid massive contracts with big term. Teams were able to have overpaid 30+ year olds in the middle of their roster by having superstars on front loaded cam circumventing deals and RFAs on massively underpaid deals, and agencies were fine going along with this as long as that mushy middle part of the market was rolling in.
A few years back UFAs started getting squeezed more as more and more teams started avoiding these massive UFA mistakes, which slowly dried up that market, but RFAs and agents started taking note, and RFAs started demanding closer and closer to fair market contracts. Throw in an 8 year cap on contracts, recapture rules, and more front offices having a deeper knowledge of the cap, and the market shifts dramatically. Teams are less afraid of running with less than a 23 man roster, they are more comfortable using waiver rules (also the removal of re-entry waivers had a bigger impact than people realize) to create and accrue cap space over the course of a season.
The landscape today has shifted dramatically. Just this offseason some of the biggest contracts we have seen were for RFAs. Anderson got more money committed to him than any UFA forward, and Matt Murray got the highest AAV of any goalie signed. Neither one of those players is even close in terms of being the most skilled at their position, Anderson has only 22 more points in his career than Hall had in his best season. Pietrangelo got a big contract, but even that isn't far above what recent RFA defensemen have signed (Trouba and Chabot, who aren't close to as good as Pietrangelo).
My point is, that while teams are spending closer to the cap, it doesn't mean they are in trouble. Bad contracts cause trouble, good contracts don't. Just because things are different, if it's happening right accross the market, it doesn't create a competitive disadvantage, in fact, trying to manage the cap the way it used to be would likely cause more of a disadvantage.
We may even be seeing the start of that type of shift. Vancouver and NYI are two teams that seem set on doing it the way it used to be done, overpaying UFAs to add veteran experience in the middle/bottom of the line up, and expecting to squeeze RFAs in order to make it work. So far, both teams have lost a young top 4 D because of not leaving sufficient cap space for their best players. Both teams have taken a step back this off season explicitly because of cap concerns. It will be interesting to see how that shakes out in the coming months.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>BCAPP</b></div><div>I guess this getting into semantics they sold low on Johnsson because they couldn't afford his cap. They're having aess than full roster. You can accurately point out that others have it worse but they are not in great shape.</div></div>
It's not really semantics though. Over half of the teams in the league will be carrying a 22 or fewer player roster. Approximately 91% of all of the leagues cap space is currently in use, and there are some truly awful teams that don't have much cap space.
Arizona, San Jose, Anaheim, and Minnesota are weak teams with little to no cap space.
Winnipeg, Calgary, and Montreal will all have to ice a 21 or 22 player roster to be cap compliant, and none of those teams are better than Toronto with Montreal and Calgary having some very ugly contracts that make their future cap situation not look nearly as clear.
There are some bad teams that won't be spending to the cap like Ottawa, Florida, LA, and New Jersey, but those teams are essentially rebuilding and waiting out some awful contracts (well Florida is just a tire fire).
There are definitely teams with a far better cap scenario than Toronto, but there cap situation is better than at least half of the league, they don't have any terrible contracts, and they have a competitive roster. It's hard to see a rationale where you think their cap situation creates a barrier to being competitive.
Space alone doesn't make a team have a well managed cap as it often means teams just don't have assets. The point is, if you can look at every player on the roster and think "I would rather have that player than just have the cap space they use up" that team doesn't really have a cap problem.
This signing isn't that bad on it's own, I mean Ceci is a bottom pairing caliber D signed for bottom pairing money so it's not awful. He is viewed as awful because he is a bottom pair talent who can kill some penalties who has played, and been paid like, a top 4 option.
That being said, the fact that this move is probably the best move GMJR made all summer is pretty disheartening.
Pittsburgh spent a lot of longer term assets and didn't get any better. Kapanen is younger than Hornqvist, but he hasn't been as effective. Matheson is a worse contract than Johnson, maybe he's an improvement, but it doesn't move the needle considering how much term and dollars they took on. Ceci is a bottom pair D, but he again, does not move the needle.
So all in all, their cap situation got worse long term (Matheson plus Johnson's buyout will commit roughly $6M annually, and for that money they basically have a bottom pair D), they traded a 1st and decent prospect, so their prospect cupboard is basically empty, and they really aren't any better.
They literally could have done nothing else, and signed Craig Smith, and a depth D, and they would have improved more without complicating their future cap or giving up assets for the long term.
That's an ugly offseason.
This deal seems like a solid value, and not committing term can be very important for a D who is purely offensive. It isn't a steal but it's probably a solid value.
The thing that seems strange to me is that UFAs have been heavily squeezed, as well as RFAs who haven't been overly consistent, but RFAs with good upside and prior success seem to be getting paid pretty much full value. Highest goalie salary goes to Murray instead of Lehner or Markstrom, Josh Anderson gets more term and money then Smith, Toffoli, Dadonov, and most certainly Hoffman. DeAngelo is now getting more than Shattenkirk or Barrie. This is all without any of the biggest RFAs signing yet this offseason. It seems to be a bit of switch.
I wonder if RFAs have a little bit more ammo than they usually did with the pandemic. With the high escrow and holdback, taking a low bridge deal can't be very appealing, so if a team is trying to squeeze you, maybe holding out and playing overseas just doesn't seem like as much of a risk as it did previously.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>HabsForEver</b></div><div>We paid a 3rd round pick and still had 8 picks in this draft. It's not like we needed that 3rd round pick. It's never good to give up assets, but Bergevin has proven he can get draft picks quite easy so losing one isn't a concern. Allen's cap space this year doesn't matter as our team is already set.
Bergevin did all of his moves early because he wasn't sure how the offseason would've went. Obviously hindsight is great, but Bergevin doesn't have that. He accomplished what he wanted too early so he didn't have to get into bidding wars. We also don't know who wants to play in Montreal so you can check half of those goalies off the list before even making an offer.
I don't agree with you whatsoever. We traded a 3rd round pick for a very good back up goalie, Domi played on the 4th line in the playoffs and clearly didn't have a spot on the team so I don't know what kind of value he truly had. Guys like Anderson aren't available for trade very often so you give up whatever you have to and you sign him to whatever is fair. If Anderson can put up 25+ goals and 40+ points, this contract is a steal all day long. There's risk to the signing, but when you miss the playoffs 3/5 years, you have to take some risks. Edmundson had a bad year on Carolina, but that's because he wasn't given the opportunity and was forced to play a defined role, If you ignore his season on Carolina and was judging him based on how he played on St.Louis, this contract would be a steal. Again, it's another risk, but if you want to become good, you have to take chances.
You're acting like these guys can't be traded, if it comes down to somebody like Ylonen becoming a top player in the league, you can easily trade somebody for nothing and a spot (and cap space) open up.</div></div>
Banking on being able to just trade away awful contracts is an absolutely terrible plan right now.
Also, it didn't take hindsight to see there were going to be opportunities created by a flat cap and upcoming expansion draft. It is literally why I hated the Allen trade from day one, and my wording was even that it's not just the pick, it's the strategy it implies.
Bergevin is rushing a rebuild before his team even showed it was a near playoff team. They probably are now, but they aren't a contender as currently constructed, and now they have a lot of money tied up to players who probably aren't going to be worth their contracts right when young players are going to need new ones. Ask the Canucks and Islanders how that feels.
So Gallagher goes from being one of the most underpaid wingers in the league to ... a very reasonable salary and term. That's a good deal for Montreal. Gallagher plays a style that has him taking abuse, so there is always a bit of risk, but if you are going to take that risk, Gallagher is the type of player you take it on. He is one of the best even strength wingers in the NHL, full stop. He loses some value for not being a PP driver, but there are a lot of wingers in the league who aren't really any better, but get the advantage of playing on a stacked PP.
If Gallagher stays healthy as the younger players develop, it would not shock me if he has his best statistical seasons ahead of him. Not because he will get better, but if he gets complimented with some higher skilled players, he can likely pick up some additional points (especially on the PP), that he isn't getting right now. He's like Zach Hyman, except he's also capable of creating a lot of chances for himself out of nothing.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>HabsForEver</b></div><div>He has below average career numbers because he was the starter. We aren't expecting him to be a start nor are we paying him too be one.</div></div>
Allen's contract this season is bad, St. Louis was in a bind, by trying to get ahead of the Market, Bergevin paid a price that he didn't have to. He could easily have forced St. Louis into paying an asset to move Allen, and they could have gotten just as capable a back up with nothing more than cap space.
The issue isn't Allen on his own though. It's his rapid approach this offseason. Montreal had tonnes of cap space, several players on expiring contracts, tonnes of picks. They could easily have waited to see how this unknow flat cap market shaped up, and done really well for themselves. Toews was just moved for two 2nds, Schmidt for a 3rd, several teams have good RFAs that could be offersheeted, or pressured into trading, and there are still decent UFAs on the market. Montreal could retained salary on some expiring assets, making for very good assets in the trade market, and filled holes with value signings, and well below market trades.
Instead, they blew their cap space on paying an asset for Jake Allen, using a big trade chip to overpay Josh Anderson on a risky long term deal, and traded a pick to get the signing rights to a defensemen who is a 3rd pair guy at best, all so they could massively overpay him on a 4 year deal. This was a massive opportunity, and Bergevin's biggest coup was getting Toffoli.
Bergevin must feel like this team's window is the next 2-3 years, and maybe he's been given a short leash so it's going for broke. Either way, this team's cap is very poorly managed. If the young players are good enough to actually make them contenders in the next 2-3 years, having Edmundson, Petry, Anderson, Price, and Weber on their current deals when you have to pay them is going to force them to take a step back.
This team is probably better next year than it was last year, but that might still only make them a bubble team, and they are betting that they are much better than that, I just don't see it.
I really dislike the Jake Allen trade, giving up an asset in a cap dump for a goalie who is considerably overpaid didn't seem like a good move given the goalies available this summer.
But the trade is done, the signing is fine. Jake Allen hasn't been a very good goalie, but he did have a good year last year in a reduced role, so making $2.8M seems like an OK fit. I know it's a lot to add to Price's contract, but that contract is bad on it's own, you don't make things worse by not getting an decent back up if that's what's needed. Also, Montreal needs to expose a goalie, so they can now expose Allen as he will meet the criteria. So overall, it's fine.
I hate what Bergevin has done this summer in terms of strategy, but I wouldn't let that paint my view of each move as if they are all automatically bad. Bergevin is a weird GM, he has made some of the best, and worst trades and signings I have seen in the last 3-5 years. I never know what to expect.
I think Pietrangelo's deal is right around fair market value. Chances are he out performs in the next few years, but gives back some of that value later on. The problem is always that fans and teams never really remember the good years when the player has declined below what the cap hit is worth, but today, I think this deal is fine for Pietrangelo, but it's right on that line of fair.
Where this kind of goes off the rails for me, is that they didn't get much better, and they took on additional cap space. Pietrangelo replaces Schmidt at 5 on 5 and on the PK, however the gap in those areas isn't large, at least not $2.9M worth. If Pietrangelo doesn't get PP1 time, it will be hard for him to justify the additional cost and risk over Schmidt. If he does, I doubt he can act as enough of an upgrade on Theodore to justify the cost.
Vegas is still a very strong team, and Lehner was a great value add, but losing a reasonable (but overpaid) 2nd line center, and upgrading Schmidt to Pietrangelo, I don't know that they are really any better than they were. So it feels like a lot of moving parts to make a splash, but not necessarily like a firm plan to improve in any particular area.
Vancouver wins this deal. I know Vegas knows they are shedding cap space, but even if you take into account Vegas getting Pietrangelo, Vancouver still improves more. It's not that Schmidt is as good as Pietrangelo, but Vancouver adds Schmidt to a gaping hole in their line up, while Vegas just upgrades Schmidt to Pietrangelo. Schmidt is more of an improvement on nothing, then Pietrangelo is on Schmidt.
Personally, I don't think Vegas gains very much overall. The D they got is better, but a year older, and signed for 2 years longer at a nearly 50% raise over what they had. Part of what you pay AP for is his power play ability, but I am not convinced he takes the spot from Theodore, so they may not get full value for that. I don't think the gap between Schmidt and Pietrangelo at 5 on 5 is worth the extra $2.9M in cap hit, and the more risky years at the end of the deal.
Either way, Vancouver needed a good all round defensmen, and they get one for a 3rd who is on a solid contract. Good move for them.