With Kovalchuk safe, Devils must cut salaries

It took 65 days to keep Ilya Kovalchuk a Devil.

Now the hard part begins for Lou Lamoriello.

The Devils general manager must trim $3-6 million in salary cap liability just to start the season, and it’s not going to be easy, or without pain.

With Kovalchuk’s 15-year, $100 million contract approved by the NHL early yesterday morning, tied to an amendment of the collective bargaining agreement clarifying long-term deals, the Devils stand $3 million over the $59.4 million salary cap, with 21 players under contract.

They might, but probably won’t, try to slip by with only 21 players on the roster this season, but short-term injuries and the resultant call-ups could still add another $1-2 million in cap hit. In addition, they’d have to replace any of their cap sacrifices with a player costing at least $500,000.

“Players in training camp could make those decisions themselves,” Lamoriello said. “We have until the first day of the season, that’s all we have to be ready for. We know we have to be below the winter cap. We are below the summer cap.”

The obvious candidates for cap sacrifice are defenseman Bryce Salvador ($2.9 million) and forward Dainius Zubrus ($3.4 million), each a valuable Devil, but each also without no-trade protection. Patrik Elias (no-movement), Brian Rolston, Jamie Langenbrunner, Jason Arnott, Colin White, Aton Volchenkov, Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg all carry no-trade clauses.

Travis Zajac ($3.9 million) has been the subject of rumors, simply because opponents might be loathe to take on contracts like Zubrus’ when players like Mike Comrie can be had for $500,000.

Lamoriello might have to deal with teams like the Avalanche, who are still below the minimum of $43.4 million in cap hit. The Islanders, Thrashers, Blues, Hurricanes, Coyotes, Panthers, Lightning, Stars, Ducks, Predators and Kings all have $9 million or more in space.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the CBA amendment that accompanied Kovalchuk’s approval is the clause whereby the NHL promises to certify any conforming contract that meets both the old and new guidelines. “Effect” is out, as a basis for rejection.

That means that Kovalchuk’s initial July 19 deal, the one for which the Devils face a fine up to $3 million and the loss of draft picks, would have been registered by the league under the same do*****ents that are now going to penalize New Jersey. The cap hit would have been $7.7 million instead of that deal’s $6 million, and Lamoriello said it wouldn’t have happened.


25 Responses to With Kovalchuk safe, Devils must cut salaries

  1. keith_leafs says:

    NJ: Langenbrunner + 2nd 2011 pick
    Tor: 2nd 2011 pick + korbinian holzer

    that would be the only way I would take NJ's garbage. do it burke

  2. palindrom says:

    what if another team offer a little bit more than that for langenbrunner?

    are you willing to upper the antes?

  3. coyotes_bettman says:

    The best GM in the league (outside of Canada – so that I don't kick open that Burke Bee's nest) has been in Cap trouble before and he got himself out of it by dealing a RETIRED player and had to move Mogilny to the minors – I'm sure that he'll make something happen.

    And coming out and saying "New Jerseys garbage"  don't you think maybe Zubrus might be a good fit for the Leafs?

  4. Boston_Bruins says:

    Jeez this site is dead. Ummm… picks for breakout players?

    I have:

    Ennis – I think he'll be a calder candidate, he could put up around 20 goals and 55-60 points

    Ekman-Larsson – I think he'll win the calder, put up around 10 goals and 30+ points

    Bernier – another possible candidate, I think he'll steal the starting job and play around 50 games

    Mcbain – as the PP quarterback I think he could get over 30 points and maybe even 10 goals

    E. Kane – he has big scoring potential, maybe he can jump up to around 25-30 goals and 55-60 points

    Beleskey – played very well in a number of roles and places this season, he could go up to 20 goals, 40-45 points

    J. Johnson – I think he's a candidate for 10-15 goals, 50 points

    Hedman – alot to like here, I'm expecting 30-40 points

    Filppula – I think he could put up 20 goals, 60+ points on the second line

    Sutter – candidate for 30 goals, 60 points

    Pavalec – they brought Mason in but I think Pavalec will hold him off for the starting job and put up some good numbers

  5. palindrom says:

    As i understand,P.K. subban is not on this list because he is already a dominant player:)

    He doesnt need a breakout.

  6. reinjosh says:

    Yeah it has been. Its the worst part of the year. Hockey is so close but so far still.

    I'm going to split it up between breakout candidates and rookie candidates. To me a breakout player is one who has already played in the NHL but to that hasn't really hit his top flight game.


    Brandon Sutter – I really like this one. Good call. I think he is ready to explode.

    Matt Beleskey – Could be a great second line addition for the Ducks. Another power forwardish type player in the making for a team flush with 2 already elite power forwards (or 1 and one close).

    Evander Kane – Another power forward ready to break out. Bergfors and Kane could make a scary duo.

    Nikolai Kulemin – Yeah its a Leaf pick but I can't help. What he showed at the end of the season is super enticing. Time will tell if it was just a flash or the real thing. A 25 goal, 45-50 point season might be in reach but only if he gets top line status.

    Jakub Voracek – Big fan of his and I thing he could hit 30 goals this season and start to show why he was picked 7th overall.

    John Tavares – Obvious choice but I still think its pertinent to put him here. I don't think it will be as big an explosion as Stamkos but 35 goals is within reach.

    Erik Johnson – He had a pretty good season last year. Almost 39 points and far better defensively than the first year he played. I think he proves he is a number one guy this year.

    Cody Franson – Behind Suter and Weber the top 4 is wide open. 3rd spot is his before the end of the year.


    Taylor Hall – The obvious one on everyones list. If he gets top line status than he has a pretty good chance.

    Oliver Ekman-Larson – If he makes the squad he fills a position they need so badly.

    Viktor Stalberg – This years Versteeg possibly (Leaf fans collectively shudder).

    John Carlson – Behind Green he could be a great second option for the PP time and could get lots of it. If he can play defense even somewhat, he can fit well on the team.

    Eric Tangradi – If he makes the team it will be in a top 6 position and anyone playing with Malkin or Crosby is going to get some serious help, especially for a Calder nod.

    Mikael Backlund – If he clicks with Iginla, he could get some serious assist totals. I believe he is still considered a rookie.

    PK Subban – Could be a nice 2nd option behind Markov just like Carlson behind Green.

    Yes Seguin and Kadri are not on there.

  7. Boston_Bruins says:

    Some good picks there. Yeah I was trying to get away from projecting the bigger names like Tavares and Subban to break out. I like Voracek alot on your list. And don't forget Brassard in Columbus either. I think he has a chance to do something this year as well.

  8. reinjosh says:

    I got yah. I like you Ekman-Larson and Sutter picks alot.
    Yeah, if Arniel (I think he is the coach there) can help them along, Brassard and Voracek and even Filatov could have some nice years.

  9. DannyLeafs says:

    I like a lot of your picks, here are some not mentioned yet.

    Benn – I really like his upside, during the second half he was scoring like a 30+ goal player, and I think Dallas has had a bit of a streak with break out players and it could continue.

    Giroux – Not sure if people haven't mentioned him because they consider his playoffs a break out, but I think he could be a 25 goal 60 point (ish) forward next year.

    Eberle – There is something about this guy, he gets knocked for not being big enough, he then plays great, people go "well he won't do that at the next level" then he goes to the next level and just keeps scoring. I think he may outscore Hall this year.

    Berglund – I wanted the Leafs to push for this guy big time as a buy low, I know he had a real step back season, but I think this year he could establish himself as a top center. I think 30 goals 70 pts is possible (I know I am going way out on a limb, but he has all the tools)

    Sam Gagner – I think with all the youth and talent in Edmonton they may just let the kids play and mesh, and Gagne being their best playmaking center will likely get a ton of opportunites to pick up points, 60+ if he stays healthy.

    Frolik – With Horton gone, and Booth recovering and likely taking some time to get back into rhythm, Frolik is primed to start taking a more top teir offensive role. I think a 30 goal season is possible.

    Lucic – Yes, despite the fact I think he is somewhat overrated, and the fact that he already has a big salary, he hasn't really broken out, I think this year he hits around 25 goals, close to 50 points, and really gets close to being the player Boston fans hope he can be.

    Mueller – He will get every chance to build on what he did at the end of last season. 30 goals is possible.

  10. DannyLeafs says:

    Here are some players I think will bounce back this year.

    Boyes – I think he will easily build on his 14 goals last year. Maybe no 40 goal season, but I think he will get back to 25+

    Backes – I think he will also bounce back, and also get back to 25+  goal hockey. This has more to do with the fact I think St.Louis will bounce back as a team. Backes played well last year, but the team was weak offensively, which hurt Backes.

    Ryder – I think he will bounce back if given the opportunity. He had a rough year in his personal life, but I think a year off and some stability will do a world of good.

    Mason – I don't think he will be amazing, but I think he will be solid this year.

    Kovalev – The addition of Gonchar in Ottawa will make their PP one of the best in the east. With Kovalev and Gonchar on their off sides making tape to tape passes, I think Kovalev will pick up a ton of PP points this year.

    Jordon Staal- If it's true he will be turned into a winger this year, I think he could get back up around the 30 goal mark. Wasn't sure if this was a break out of a bounce back. It really isn't either, but since Staal had had an excellent offensive rookie season, and never really built on it, I think a 30+ goal season from him would be more of a bounce back (not that he ever played bad, just not as impressive offensively as people hoped)

  11. DannyLeafs says:

    Here are some players I think will regress this year.

    Plekanec – I really thought his contract was a little much, and he has flirted with being a solid point producer before only to regress. With that big long contract he just signed I think fans will expect to much. When he falters he will be under a ton of pressure, and I think it will get to him as it did so many others.

    Foster – I wanted the Leafs to get this guy, and make no mistake about it, I think he was a great pick up for the price, but I don't think he has much of a chance of repeating last years success.

    Henrik Sedin – Again, I think he will have a great season, but he will likely regress to under 100 points, which would be a huge step back from an art ross winning hart trophy season.

    Jussi Jokinen – His shooting percentage was a little too high for a sniper with 30 goals. I think it will even out this year, and he will dip by close to 10 goals.

    Burrows – I don't think he will be able to repeat his 37 goal performance from last season. I think anything over 20 is a bonus for a 2 million dollar agitator, so I don't think it would be fair to expect another high 30 goal performance.

    Moulson – I don't see another 30 goal season from a surprise player on a weak team that did nothing to improve.

  12. Boston_Bruins says:

    Some Good picks here. I don't see Staal bouncing back offensively though because I think he's pretty much saddled into that checking role behind Crosby and Malkin (I haven't heard anything about him being tried as a winger but I have seen some rumours that they might put Malkin on the wing and have Staal play as his center, in which case he'd definitely rebound). And after being nominated for the Selke it might be tough to switch things up there.

    Boyes and Backes definitely. St. Louis looks like a team that should make the playoffs this year, which we'll mean they'll be going along for the ride and should rebound.

    My biggest rebound pick is Brent Burns. Tons of injury issues but he's too talented to ignore when he's playing. When he was just hitting his stride before the injuries I thought he looked like a guy that could eventually put up 50-60 points if not more and be a candidate for the Norris. Probably won't get there, but I think 40 points is within reason this year.

  13. Boston_Bruins says:

    Yeah I like all of these. I'm going to avoid the Sedin's like the plague for fantasy drafts because of how highly they'll be rated.

    Another guy I'd add is Brad Richards. Honestly I'm shocked that he put up that many points last year. I know it's a contract year for him, but I still doubt he repeats those point totals. I also think Kesler will come crashing down (at least in point totals) to something in the 50's to low 60's.

  14. Boston_Bruins says:

    It's tough to project for Lucic. On the second best offensive team in the league he put up 17 goals, 42 points in 72 games (19 goals, 48 points pace) on the top line, and then he had his development stunted with a series of injuries last year. Apparently he's completely healthy and raring to go this season though, and he played very well in the playoffs as well. Still, I'm not expecting that yet from him, although I don't think I'd be shocked if it happened.

    Frolik is a great pick. kulikov is another guy I like pn the Panthers, even though they brought in Wideman for PP time.

  15. alpalstewart says:

    I think Sam Gagner should make the list. he's gonna play a big part of the oilers rebuild. expect 20 goals 45- 50 assists

  16. alpalstewart says:

    Zajac and Salvador to Colorado for prospects and a 2nd rounder.

  17. hockey_lover says:

    Only in Montreal is Subban a dominant player. Outside of montreal, most people look at him as a prospect who has played TWO whole NHL games and had a hot playoff series but is still, largely, unproven.

    But, go ahead and keep thinking he is dominant. Im sure a Norris trophy win this year is all but a given.

  18. reinjosh says:

    I think Richards still has it in him. Him and Eriksson really clicked (Eriksson is going to improve again I think. Great player totally overshadowed by playing in Dallas) and for whatever reason he just plays really well with the younger guys. I doubt he can ever play in a big market but on a young team in a smaller market (Dallas is becoming that)  he is fully capable of 80.

  19. reinjosh says:

    Its like many people who are Toronto fans. Take a little kernel of hope and make it into a popcorn mountain.

  20. reinjosh says:

    Zajac isn't being moved. It doesn't make sense for New Jersey to move him. Colorado doesn't even need him. You already have Statsny, Duchenne, O'Reilly, Mueller, Porter and Winnik. Center isn't a position of need for you.

  21. Boston_Bruins says:

    A Norris would be nice… I guess. I'm expecting him to break a couple of Orr's records this year. Only a couple though. Ease him into the NHL.

  22. reinjosh says:

    I know rookie camps and tourneys start soon so here's a list of rookies that I'm excited to see. There are multiple teams in the list.

    Sandre Olden – A guy that scored 4.2 points per game at the U18 chamionships is a guy with huge potential. Can't wait to see if it was just because of crappy opponents or if he has a huge ceiling.

    Greg McKegg – 4th Highest scoring OHL prospect in this years draft (behind Hall, Seguin and Skinner) and with serious drive. Could be a huge pick.

    D'Amigo/Kadri – I'm hoping they get put together. I would just love to see what kind of damage they could do together.

    Juraj Mikus – Huge ceiling and a pretty good rookie season in the AHL plus huge height make for a enticing player.

    Marcel Mueller – The huge unknown. I'm looking forward to seeing how he plays in the NA game. Was Burke's rave review about his justified or is he just hay in a hay stack.

    Koriban Holzer – Another European prospect. Want to see what he can do.

    Other Teams

    Joe Colborne –  Huge size and really similar to Thornton.

    Jacob Josefson – Really solid two-way game and could join the Devils as a third line center or even beat out Arnott for the second line spot.

    Oliver-Rousell – A real solid puck-mover who has shown the ability to be able to fulfill all aspects of the defensive game when called upon. A sort of poor-mans version of Ekman-Larson

  23. reinjosh says:

    Yeah I'm thinking 53 goal rookie season 83 assists, and 136 points. 3 shy of Orr's record.

  24. frankinboltonleafs says:

    I've read that the air is thin in Denver….hmmm.

  25. nordiques100 says:

    they`re about 3 mil over.

    they move Zubrus and Salvador, it clears up 6.3 mil and leaves them with about 3.3 mil to fill 4 roster spots. 3 forwards, 1 dman. they may have to piggyback some picks back for like next to nothing.

    they could spend about 800K to re-sign Mike Mottau, who is solid and someone they know well.

    up front, maybe sign Potulny, Park and McAmmond for 500K each. that would leave them a mil in space. 

    not glamourous but really what choices do they have? none. they cant get crazy with Parise to re-sign next summer.

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