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McPhee And Creator Weigh In On Salary Cap Plans Post-Eichel Return

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

Every time Jack Eichel steps on the ice his return draws a bit nearer. What felt like it would take an eternity when he was first acquired from the Buffalo Sabres is now right there in sight.

And while there won’t be a more exciting moment during the Golden Knights regular season this year than when Jack plays his first game, that moment will come with some roster consequences.

If fully healthy, the Golden Knights’ current roster sits a little more than $10 million over the salary cap. To get Eichel, Pacioretty, and Martinez all back on the ice, the Vegas front office will have to make some decisions, incredibly tough decisions that will change the makeup of this team.

We’re going to have to make adjustments but we do have a lot of guys that are hurt. We’re looking at that and making sure we don’t do something prematurely. We do have a plan, some alternatives, but we’re trying to hold off until we really see how the injuries sort out over the next 25-30 days. –The Creator

George McPhee echoed those thoughts as well.

We’ll see where we are whenever (Eichel’s) ready. If we have injuries, that’s one thing. If we don’t, then we’ll have to make a few decisions, that we’ve already sort of mapped out. We’ll see where it goes. But we’ve been aggressive so far, and we’ll continue to be, and we’ll figure it out when we get there. –George McPhee on Sportsnet 590

With Max Pacioretty expected to be sidelined for at least another month, it’s probable that when Eichel is ready the Golden Knights will still have enough money in LTIR space to activate him without doing much of anything else with the roster.

It’s after that where it gets very tricky and may require the use of a crystal ball to give this Golden Knights team the best chance to win the Stanley Cup.

The NHL trade deadline is 62 days away and the last day of the regular season is another 40 beyond that.

The next 62 days are easy, and that’s exactly what both The Creator and McPhee are referring to with their wait-and-see mentality. Depending on what happens between now and then, the decisions may be made for them. But those last 40 are where it could get problematic. While the Golden Knights may have their plans mapped out, getting rid of salary requires a trade partner.

The closer the calendar gets to March 21st, the more challenging it will become to find the perfect fit.

It’s a complicated puzzle, unlike any this franchise has seen in the past. The pieces to win a Stanley Cup are all there but it will take a bit of luck and a lot of foresight to put them all together.

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47 Comments

  1. Tim

    Ken I’ve been confused on this issue since the Jack Eichel trade. The article you just wrote said were 10 million over the cap. What I don’t understand is didn’t Alex Tuch’s 5 million come off the books if so how are we still 10 million over the cap.

    • Skeeter Thompson

      Because they would’ve been almost $15M over the cap if they’d gotten Eichel without trading Tuch. That roughly $10M over is with Tuch’s salary taken off.

  2. Chris

    VGK is $10 million over the cap because they picked up Brooks, Amadio, and Hutton while other players were on LTIR. And Dylan Ferguson is technically up with the team at the moment on emergency loan. If Eichel, Patches, and Martinez get activated, that’s 27 players on the team (max is 23).

    VGK started off the season over 2.8M over the cap, but with Tuch on LTIR.
    Then they traded for Eichel (add $10M) for Tuch and Krebs (subtract $5.6M).
    Add Ferguson, Brooks, Amadio, & Hutton (add $2.9M)
    Equals about $10.2M over the cap.

    Some easy maneuvers will happen – Ferguson will go back down to Henderson.
    If they let Amadio, Brooks & Hutton go for low picks or nothing (or decide to make some other minor changes), then the team will be about $7.2M over the cap.

    • Tim

      So then say were looking at Smith or Dadonov plus Brooks, Amadio, Hutton.Howden and more. I hope it’s not Janmark but his 2.5 with the rest would make them cap compliant. Jack better fly like an eagle to make all this worthwhile. The question is will it matter with Lehner in net?

      • THE hockey GOD

        it didn’t seem to matter when MAF was in net

      • knights fan in minny

        i think hutton has filled in quite well

        • Skeeter Thompson

          He has, but there’s no room for him when everyone is healthy:
          Pietrangelo-Martinez
          Theodore-McNabb
          Hague-Whitecloud
          Coughlan (who they don’t want to trade or waive in case they can’t resign McNabb)

          Hutton might make it through waivers. That would be awesome for emergency playoff depth. But the truth is both Hutton and Coughlan are defensive liabilities right now.

          • THE hockey GOD

            i agree 100% Skeeter, nice assessment

            welcome to the jungle

  3. Barb

    And while they wait, all the players that are on the ledge wondering if they will be pushed off or helped back in, are trying their best to help the team stay in playoff contention . And everyone is asking why the team isn’t winning. Has to be difficult!

  4. Ken,

    What happened wiith the idea of picking up a player permanently on LTIR with a $6M salary? It was indicated this would free up $6M in cap space, though lots of bucks out of Foley’s pocket.

    • knights fan in minny

      i dont think 6 mill will bother foley

    • trade

      it is complicated to carry out, but it is a good option to reduce loss of team depth otherwise. There are at least 5 guys available in that situation, ranging from about $4m to about $6.8 m

      If Vgk don’t do it, then McCrimmon and McPhee should be fired for incompetence, because Julien Brisebois, the clever GM in Tampa, is sitting there happy as a lark as he acquired the contract of career-over Brent Seabrook to give him $6.875M in LTIR cap space. That allows him to keep Kucherov playing .

      go ahead, look it up on Capfriendly. Tampa is using right now $88.4 M of cap space, which is reduced to the cap limit of $81.5 by Seabrook’s $6.875M of LTIR

      • I thought we already talked about this yet here is the same misinformation. TB traded an expensive high cap player Tyler Johnson to the Blackhawks and to get the Blackhawks to take him TB ate Seabrooks owed money. THIS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH SOME CAP LOOPHOLE.

      • Cody

        I don’t think you understand how LTIR works

  5. WmFCoyote

    Could we save any CAP space by getting rid of the incompetant (DeBoer) or the physically challenged (Lehner)?

  6. Mwilliams

    Eichel is not going to save 4 to 5 pucks in net every game as long as lehner is in goal we will not win a cup. Front office should be looking for a starting goalie instead of moving key players.

  7. Tim

    I think the best option would be to keep Patch on the IR until the playoffs his 7 million hit would solve most our problems. I recommended this idea before seems logical to me and the reality is Patch has been out most of the year anyway.

    • Galdom

      I agree with you Tim. There is the thought process out there that you want your roster to get in 10 to 15 games before the playoffs for chemistry reasons. Max Pacioretty seems to get up to speed very quickly when coming back from injury. I think he could pull it off.

    • Cody

      Aaaaaand Pacioretty is back

  8. Why can’t we just increase our cap? It’s make no sense to me,to give away good players for nothing. When are other teams that have higher caps than us.

    • The salary cap is instituted by the league, not by each individual team. You literally are not allowed to play a game if you are over the cap. So, they can’t exactly “just increase their cap.”

    • Cody

      The cap exists so small market teams don’t relocate bc cost certainty

  9. Why not the most obvious solution – there is no reason Eichel has to start until play-off, assuming Vegas is in that situation. He hasn’t played in sometime so another month and a half would mean nothing. Remember he belongs to Vegas for some time at 10 mill a year so why not get him in tip top shape. It very well could be the right time to be patience. His presence on the team isn’t going to fix the goal tending problem which is more obvious than many others. Solve the goal tending issue, stay set and let things settle things down making the clock and cap an asset versus a liability. Do the math it makes no sense to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are times when the obvious solution is the right one and this very well could one of those times.

  10. Eichel will play when he feels he is ready and he will not stay on IR just because VGK would want that, Eichel is a very competitive player. I want a playoff lineup and lines set way before the playoffs simply for chemistry. Get the pain over as quickly as possible because more changes will come BEFORE next season. De Boer being incompetent and the Lehner comments are as nine, get this team playing defense starting with consistent breakouts and fighting for pucks. Stop skating the effing in puck and chip and chase like we do when we are playing well.

    • Vegas is paying him 10 mill a year and he will do what he is told whether he likes it or not. He went thru that my way or the highway with Buffalo so I can’t imagine he would be interested in going thru that again. He might be be everything you say he is or was but that doesn’t change who is in charge. If he is the player all believe he was or is now being in the lineup before season end is not as important as doing what is in the best interest of himself or the knights. I guess time will tell how this all falls out. They have bigger problems than just him being in the lineup.

      • THE hockey GOD

        i agree, Eichel will need to play at least a month or more in simulated games , on the side before he will be “game ready”. We have the same ole mantra of bring this player up , or bring that player up. Throw them to wolves. Like they complained about with Glass, and Russian D men. Then when they come up and show they are not ready. They move on to next one.

        Patience and discipline, patience and discipline. It’s smart to rush into a hand grenade. A wise man once said “man who eats crackers in bed, gets up next morning and feels crummy all day. ” I believe that one was from the Homer and Jethro Cornfucous Joke book that I found in my corn flakes box when I was 12 years old.

        • THg – does that mean you agree with my assessment? Unbelievable we agree again that is getting dangerous. Maybe the lights are on after all. What do you think the odds are we can come to some kind of understanding concerning goalie performance or lack there of?? This is not a test just an idea!!!

          • THE hockey GOD

            i must have fallen off my boat !! Too bad I hit hard ground in storage yard.

            I doubt we will agree on RL, until he pulls a MAF, the “farce” of franchise, boner move in the playoffs. Stay tuned.
            Same bat time
            same bat channel.

  11. getting rid of Lehner would solve tge teams $$$

  12. Joe

    The reason we’re not winning.. Simple
    Lehner….. He has looked confused, can’t keep up with the play after initial save, just plain looks lost. I want my money back on that one

    • Rick Dames

      Can’t just “get rid of Lehner” Who is out there that can give the Knights a chance to the Cup?

      I wonder if a trade of Lehner, Dadonov, Whitecloud, and a first round draft pick; to a non-playoff bound team with a soon retiring, successful playoff-experienced goaltender, might be of interest to a Central Division MidWestTeam that will not make the playoffs…just a thought

  13. Jon

    So this what the NHL is coming too. Keep players and LTIR even though they are completely healthy until playoffs all to get around the salary cap. Clearly TB did is last year and obviously that is LV plans this year. Can believe the league lets this slide.

  14. Mark Stone: It’s time YOU started scoring. Don’t put the blame on the statement, “We are missing players.” Bull Hockey!

    • THE hockey GOD

      help me Rhonda
      helpme help me Rhonda
      Help me rhonda

      I need a new pair of socks and pants
      But she let another guy come between us
      And it shattered our plans

      Brain Wilson

  15. THE hockey GOD

    yes you got that right Rhonda, the captain has to do more than saying our team got waxed; needs to step up play. These last two games clearly were not on the goalie; anyone saying so is clueless.

    TB played last night with only four d men in line up due to salary cap stupid rules. They expended a lot of energy, logging very high minutes against LA KINGS. They won, but I don’t see the players union stepping in because this is clearly not a safe position for players , or team , to be in , in long room. SAL CAP idiocy must end, it serves no useful purpose if teams are allowed to circumvent it at expense of players health, safety, and welfare.

  16. JDeFranza

    VGK pulling a tampa bay.

    Nobody will have to get traded due to “injuries.”

    😉

  17. Galdom

    Even though everyone is entitled to their opinion on Robin Lehner I have always felt that the team has let him down defensively with so many high danger chances against. I feel like my opinion has been validated after watching goaltender interference episode 15. Both Ken Boehlke and Mike McKenna we’re saying the exact same thing to a tee. I think Mike McKenna especially being a former NHL goalie himself knows what he’s talking about. They both do not think that Lehner is the problem and that the problem is on the way the team is playing defensively.

    • THE hockey GOD

      as an ex Goalie, who played both goalie later, and defense man position earlier, I agree. It’s pretty obvious that there is a big let down in team defense that surrounds him. With Hague and Marty out it’s pretty obvious the the organization depth is lacking in this area. No. 52 and no. 17 just plain are not good enough, yet.

    • Cody

      Lehner is overweight physically and low to no stakes mentally. He’s neither as bad or as good as people claim. He’s also on the downside of his career. Vegas put their chips on the wrong goalie.

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