Monday, June 2, 2008

Unscientific look at fitting under the cap

We really wanted to focus on the Pens Stanley Cup run, but we had some extra time today and fiddled around with the numbers. Go to any website and a lot of places caution that this is the Penguins last chance for a while to be competitive. To be sure, the Penguins have a lot of unrestricted free agents and next year's team is certainly going to be much different than this year's version.

With that in mind, we made two charts. The first is the current outlook of the Pens contract situations. All contract numbers were derived from

(Click to enlarge)

As you can see, we omitted all players that are not signed for next year and didn't include (with the exception of Alex Goligoski) any minor league players (like Ryan Stone and Jonathan Filewich) that could be on the NHL roster next season.

Now here's what could be....Will all of this happen? Probably not. We have no idea if Marian Hossa would accept something like a $42 million six year contract. He could likely fetch more on the open market. But who knows if he would want to take the chance of leaving Sidney Crosby and a great hockey city like Pittsburgh for another hockey oasis like an Atlanta-esque market.

The same could be said for Marc-Andre Fleury and Jordan Staal accepting long-term deals that would "only" pay $4.5 million annually. We haven't negotiated with them and don't know what they're looking for, we're just guessing based off what others in their age range have gotten. Those same words go for Evgeni Malkin. If he wants $10 million, the Pens may very well give that to him. We put $9 million long-term for the sake of argument, since that's about the range of where Crosby and Alex Ovechkin are.

There it is, a rough-draft blueprint of how it all could work (all hypothetical changes have be put in bold). Would it be pretty harrowing to sign 11 players for about $15 million in 2009-10? Yeah. But there are so many variables like the change in salary cap that it's difficult to look that far in the future.

As you could see, we also envisioned Ray Shero dealing Ryan Whitney to a team and then using much of the money currently allocated to him to sign Brooks Orpik. Whether either of those two events could occur is probably very much up for debate.

We're just throwing ideas against the wall here. Don't think we want all of this to happen, or are predicting it. If Hossa walks and signs for $8-$9 million it won't be surprising, it's probably the expected course of action for him to take. We just wanted to show one possible (albeit very unlikely) scenario in which the Pens can retain their core players and still keep some of the important pieces to the puzzle that are currently around.

We'd be very interested as to anyone's thoughts on this matter in the comments. We'll probably have all summer to stew on this issue anyways.....Or main hope (and focus) is that that summer doesn't begin tonight.

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