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.
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.)