I was responding to a post about contracts when I started to have a thought about the future of this club, and building towards being a long-term cup contender. I think it is something that as fans maybe is a bit out of sight out of mind right now. The actual salary numbers are really the only concern right now because of the budget. However with back-loaded deals this team`s cap number is about 6 million more than the budget. I am by no means suggesting Joe has not considered this, or that the back-loaded deals were not a wise move to help keep this team together. However I do think this team is walking a dangerous line when it comes to the long-term future.
I feel this team has probably a 3-4 year window with the current core of veterans; Morrow, Ribs, Richards, Robidas. And I am doing this based on the assumption new ownership is in place this summer and Richards is re-signed. That being said I am using this chart to show the current cap number of this team and the current contracts. I will also use a projected cap hit number for players such as Benn, and Grossman and the raises they will require in the near future. I am going to use the 2012-2013 season as my example. I want this to be an indication of where this team is headed in terms of cap numbers not the front to back roster, as that would be impossible to predict. I am going to take out a few low salary players(Petersen, Woywitka) and substitute a couple of this franchises prospects(Larsen, Glennie). So although some of the bottom half of the lineup players may be different come this time I think it is safe to assume that there will be a player with a relatively similar salary in their place. Really this is to show the impact of the key players and how their salary structure could affect this team.
Current Cap Hit Projected Cap Hit(Last column on the right)
|Forwards||31.135||09-10 10-11 11-12 12-13 13-14 35.342|
|Sutherby, Brian||0.812||186.0||0.812||0.775||0.850||UFA||0 .850|
So a summary of the data listed above;
I have given Richards a cap friendly number of 7 million,I feel this is a reasonable guess to a cap number on a shorter 5 or 6 year deal.
I added a 5 million No.1 D-man, I believe this is the biggest guess in my chart. This is what most consider a need to get this team up to championship caliber. It is also the type of cap figure that is hard to guess. It could be a value player from a trade or a lower end top pairing guy and the cap hit could be shorter. Or its possible this team ends up with a big name guy with a big contract and the cap hit. So I felt 5 was a good middle of the road estimate.
As for raises; Jamie Benn, I simply took the cap hit from the James Neal Real Deal(couldn't resist). Langenbrunner, this is a player I am not certain will stay or not. Regardless I believe that a top6 right winger, or quality checking line/ penalty killing veteran will be in the 2.4 range. Burish, either Burish or similar type bottom half player 1.5. Wandell small bump to 1.5 (Unless he has a significant breakout year next season I cannot see it being much more than that). Glennie, simple entry level deal. Grossman, Fistric, Goligoski. Larsen all realistic raises I believe(Keep in mind cap hit and the possibility of back-loaded deal when considering the size of the number)....up for debate however. Lastly Bachman, I believe your looking at him or another young prospect on their entry level deal.
So you end up with a final number at 61.817. Now there are a few things to consider when thinking about what I have put out here. First and probably most important is the potential for a new CBA and being completely unsure of what will happen to the salary cap. I believe this is the most important thing to consider as a GM in the NHL going forward. In the years since the salary cap was instituted we have seen the figure jump from 39.0 million in 05-06 to 59.4 in 10-11. In 5 years thats a 20 million dollar jump, or 4 million annually. Early projections have the salary cap bumping up another 2 million, to 61.4 million in 2011-2012. However there is nothing to say the owners don`t negotiate the cap back down in a new CBA, or that cap structure does not change drastically all together. For me that is the biggest hurdle going forward. You also need to consider that these numbers already have the Stars very near the projected cap if it keeps growing at its current pace. And I believe I went on the safe side of these projections, and the numbers could very easily be larger to keep the current group of players together.
I kind of threw this together as I went and figured out the numbers as I went along with this. My conclusion is that this team is in great shape going forward. Even with the back-loaded deals Joe has put this team in a position to be strong regardless of what happens with a new CBA, or the Richards and Ownership situations. As long as he stays away from the 7-10 year deals I love how this team is setup. If there is a drastic change in the cap situation there is no Brian Campbell, Wade Redden albatrosses that are preventing this team from adjusting and keeping most of the core together. Now this is obviously all based on a ton of speculation, and guessing at the hands of a bored numbers geek. So this is not meant to be taken seriously or be any kind of indication as to what this team will look like in 2 or 3 years. It was just a way to see how they may be setup in the numbers game.