We’ll never know if the Golden Knights were trying to mimic the 2021 Stanley Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning. When Vegas’ front office pulled the trigger on the Jack Eichel trade, speculation grew across the league that the club would attempt to field a team over the cap in the postseason. Things have changed dramatically for Vegas since then but it didn’t stop NHL GM’s from leaving anonymous notes in the league’s complaint box.
There’s been a lot of white noise around Vegas in how they’ve treated LTIR this season. Last year’s Tampa, this year’s Vegas. At least in perception. Gary Bettman and Bill Daly could not have been more unequivocal saying Vegas has been transparent. There’s no issues with the way they’re handling their LTIR and their business. –Pierre LeBrun on TSN
The noise was loud enough that the topic of LTIR maneuvering came up yesterday at the GM meetings.
Now, is there validity to say that we get to the playoffs and we’ve got a cap of $81.5 million and fundamentally that means we should only be able to dress $81.5 million in the playoffs? Sure, that makes sense. I think you’ve gotta go back and study it. –Brad Treliving, Calgary GM to Sportsnet
It was reported that the league broached the subject out of concerns that some believed Tampa bought last year’s Cup. Sure, adding Nikita Kucherov to the lineup on Game 83 is unfair but it would be next to impossible to prove Tampa stretched out injuries.
In fact, two-time Stanley Cup-winning GM Julien BriseBois wasn’t bashful about his feelings. His club won back-to-back championships, you think the speculation or finger-pointing matters to him?
If we hadn’t won the Cup last season, perhaps we wouldn’t be the poster child, but I’d rather win the Stanley Cup and be the poster child anyway, knowing that these situations have happened in the past. In 2015, we played against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Final and they had the example of Patrick Kane at the time and won the Cup. The situation we had last year with Kucherov—there’s 32 teams and it happens; there are many teams in LTI –Julien BriseBois, Lightning GM to Sportsnet
It’s possible several teams will be over the salary cap in the playoffs. Which drives front offices to ignore cap manipulation.
Ken Holland of Edmonton was the GM that brought that discussion. He didn’t accuse of anybody of cheating and he was very careful to make that point. He likes the idea of, in the playoffs you can have whatever amount of money on your roster but when you dress your lineup for the game you got to be under the cap. He had a lot of support in there but the league made it very clear it was a CBA issue.-Elliotte Friedman, Sportsnet
BriseBois refutes that league GM’s try to cheat the cap. He believes the combination of injuries and a tight salary cap make it difficult to compete for the Stanley Cup without adding reinforcements. Take it for what it’s worth.
It’s not a question of teams purposely trying to take advantage of LTI. It’s more of a function of the salary cap not going up and clubs already having financial commitments to players that have to be respected, and that puts enormous pressure on everyone. We’re no different than anybody else when you look at the cap for all the other teams. Most teams have had to go above the cap at one point or another this season. –BriseBois, Lightning GM to Sportsnet
There is limited evidence the Golden Knights or any other team planned on loop-holing their way to the Stanley Cup Finals. However, this season GM’s were quick to risk late season cap suffocation.
The problem is a lot of people don’t like it and they want to change it but I’m not sure that there’s a solution that everyone is going to agree with. It’s one thing to say but it’s complicated to actually do. –Friedman, Sportsnet
Unfortunately, next season’s $1M cap bump won’t solve any future trickery.
One last note from the GM meetings involving Vegas, the failed Evgenii Dadonov trade drama hasn’t been put to rest. It’s believed that the Golden Knights front office may act on their frustrations with the Ottawa Senators.
It’s possible that Vegas might lodge a complaint about the way this all went down. There won’t be any NHL punishment towards the Senators but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be some sort of complaint process. –Friedman, Sportsnet
The complaint will likely have no impact but Vegas’ frustrations will be on record.