Let The Panthers Hit The Floor

Every general manager with a bad contract has likely called Dale Tallon in the last few days.

The NHL salary cap floor is now $48.3 million. The Florida Panthers currently have 11 players signed for the upcoming season and $22,308,709 committed to salaries, according to CapGeek. That includes the newly-acquired huge Brian Campbell contract.

How will the Panthers take on another $26 million?

There are generally two ways to do this easily: trade for some other ridiculous contracts or overpay the players on your team. The league’s other general managers certainly hope that Tallon takes option one and not option two.

Who the hell would want Scott Gomez? Try Dale Tallon! Wade Redden, why not! Jeff Finger? Sure! Shawn Horcoff, Chris Drury and Sheldon Souray? Go for it!

In the next little while every general manager will be calling Dale Tallon and trying to ship him a bad contract. Why? Not only because they’d like to be rid of those contracts themselves, but also because they want Tallon to hit the cap floor without signing anyone else. They want the same thing from Colorado, Carolina, Phoenix and every other team that may have difficulty spending enough this season.

Because if those teams can’t hit the floor by taking on huge contracts, they’ll hit the floor by overpaying free agents. That means players will end up making much more than they traditionally would. Not only will this take players away from their original teams with dollar signs in their eyes, but they’ll inflate salaries around the league.

Remember Brian Burke’s comments about offer sheets back in 2007?

“Edmonton has offered a mostly inflated salary for a player, and I think it’s an act of desperation for a general manager who is fighting to keep his job,” said Burke.

“You go right now from entry-level to what used to be the third contract, thanks to two offer sheets from Kevin Lowe,” he added.

In many ways he was right.

The Florida Panthers could cause the same issue this summer. Who says someone like Max Talbot isn’t worth $3.5 million a season? If the Panthers sign that contract in order to get to the floor, that’s what he’s worth. And that’s what other players like him are worth.

Since the free agent market isn’t incredibly deep this offseason, we expect to see some ridiculous contract thrown out by general managers who want to make a big splash. That’ll make it quite difficult to determine exactly what a player is worth.

So Jay Bouwmeester, give Dale Tallon a call. Not only would it be a nice homecoming, but you’d really be helping us all out.