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How Shea Weber’s Salary Will Impact The Golden Knights

If you’re asking yourself, why did the Golden Knights just trade for a 36-year-old defenseman who has a massive cap hit of $7.85 million per year, missed the entire 2021-22 season, and is not expected to ever play another game in the NHL, don’t worry, you aren’t alone.

The simple answer is Shea Weber’s salary will be placed on LTIR and won’t count against the cap the same way a healthy does. Thus they were able to shed Evgenii Dadonov’s contract and now have $5 million of salary cap space in which to use. And they did it without even having to trade a pick like they did in that horrible deadline deal that got reverted!

While all of that is true, it’s unfortunately not quite that simple, and it’s definitely not as much of a slam dunk as many are making it out to be for the Golden Knights.

Yes, the Golden Knights did just create $5 million more of cap space. This will help to sign free agents like Nic Roy, Nic Hague, Keegan Kolesar, Reilly Smith and/or Mattias Janmark. That portion of it is great.

However, it comes with a bit of a price.

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The first part is easy to understand, they don’t have Dadonov anymore. Like him or not as a player, he did score 20 goals, register 23 assists, and account for 4.2 point shares while being named the Golden Knights’ First Star for accumulating the most “points” from the three stars in VGK home games. He’s gone, and the Golden Knights did not get anything they can use on the ice in return.

The second part is one that doesn’t really matter all but one person, but it does exist. Weber’s contract still has $6 million in actual salary that has to be paid out. There is not an insurance policy on it, so The Creator will have to cut him a check for $3 million this season, and then $1 million each of the following three. Luckily, I think he’s good for it.

EDIT: Recent reports indicate that there is indeed an insurance policy on the contract, which will pay out some, if not all, of the $6 million owed.

The last part is a lot more complicated. It has to do with the fact that the Golden Knights will now operate over the salary cap for the next four seasons with the assistance of LTIR. That has its drawbacks, and while they won’t appear significant now, they could be in the future.

There are four main detriments that a team faces when they use LTIR. (I don’t expect you to understand what any of them mean, heck you can probably even skip over them because I’m about to explain how each works.)

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Golden Knights Used As Example For LTIR Change At League Meetings

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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.

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Why Robin Lehner Isn’t On Injured Reserve (IR) Or Long-Term Injured Reserve (LTIR)

(Photo Credit: Jason Pothier,

The Golden Knights have been without Robin Lehner since February 11th, 21 days ago. They’ve played nine games without him and have another four coming up in the next week. The whole time he’s been unavailable, he’s remained on the active roster as opposed to being placed on IR or LTIR. I’ll explain why.

First, NHL rules state that a player can be placed on injured reserve (IR) or long-term injured reserve (LTIR) retroactively to the date a player was injured. Thus, no matter how long Lehner remains out, the Golden Knights have the option to place him on IR or LTIR at any point.

We’ll start with regular injured reserve. The benefit of standard injured reserve is to open a roster spot for a team. NHL teams are allowed to have a max of 23 players on their active roster at any point. If a player is injured, he can be placed on IR and no longer counts against that 23-man roster. He does however continue to count against the salary cap.

For the Golden Knights, roster space is not something they are in need of. Because they are so close to the salary cap, they have not reached the roster limit of 23 at any point this season. For most of the year, they’ve actually had exactly 20, the league minimum, on their roster.

Of course, if Lehner is not available, someone has to take his place. So far, that has been either Oscar Dansk or Logan Thompson. Since the Golden Knights are under the 23-man roster limit, they are always eligible to add either goalie to the roster at any point. However, due to the salary cap, Vegas actually can’t afford to add either Dansk or Thompson to the roster without exceeding the cap. So, they have been using what is called the “emergency roster exception.”

This is a condition in the CBA that allows a team to add a player to the roster, without it counting against the salary cap, when they are unable to field a healthy roster of 12 forwards, six defensemen, and two goalies. Vegas has used that rule in nine consecutive games, and thus has yet to have either Dansk or Thompson count against the cap despite them serving as the backups for the last three weeks.

Whether Lehner is on IR or not, Vegas has the ability to use the emergency rule to replace him, so there really is no benefit of placing him on standard IR.

Now, let’s move on to long-term injured reserve (LTIR), where the salary cap gets involved. First off, it’s important to understand that LTIR is much more complicated than I’m about to make it and the actual procedures behind it require much more intricate math than I’m about to explain. But, in regards to this article, because of the Golden Knights’ situation, we can over-simplify it and the concepts remain the same.

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