"Dude, we need more cap space."

Earlier today Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy wrote a post on an interesting part of the proposed CBA, which would allow teams to trade their unused cap space (up to four million dollars worth, anyway) to teams in need of it. (The info was first reported by Larry Brooks and John Shannon.)

As Greg noted, the concept is actually rather appealing if teams get back picks or prospects in return. A salary floor team could trade some of it’s cap space they aren’t using anyway, and improve their team in the long run. As an Isles fan, I’d say “Yes please” to that.

However, if the swap is cap space for cash, it would feel a little unseemly, a stark reminder that “Oh yeah, teams are businesses.” I don’t want to think that. I want to think my team is working towards WINNING AT ALL COSTS and nothing more. If I can pretend that’s the case while rooting for NYI, then anyone can buy into that idea.

My take on the proposal takes me back to what my mom once told me: “Money doesn’t solve problems for people with money problems.”

Which is to say, if the Calgary Flames are jammed up against the salary cap and trade for space, it’s only a matter of time before they find themselves wedged up against their new cap ceiling. I’m terrible at saving money the same way that some GMs will always spend as much as they’re given. OH LOOK VILLE LEINO’S AVAILABLE HERE’S ALL TEH MONIES.

Where I could see teams utilizing the opportunity best is at the trade deadline. Teams that look like they could make a legitimate Stanley Cup run could trade for some room, add another piece, and be better than the were the day before without touching their roster.

As they negotiate this new deal down to it’s final resting point, you have to believe this option is going to be left in – who wants to get rid of it, the small market teams who get something for nothing, or the large market teams who suddenly have a new option to improve their team?

Exactly. Neither. So “trading cap space.” Welcome to the NHL.

Comments (5)

  1. Would add some very interesting dynamics to the trade deadline. Lets say you’re the Rangers and you want to add Iginla, but you’re right up against the cap. You could get part of Iginila’s cap space from CGY, but you could also shop elsewhere around the league to get it at a better price (and if a team can only sell 4 mil, I wonder if they would allow you to buy 4 mil each from two different teams?). Deals for big name players, even if just UFAs, could end up becoming 3 or 4 team deals depending on how the market developed.

  2. Would the new “trade for space” NHL even have a “salary cap” then – with every team having a different “cap”? How would the small market teams afford to pay their draft picks (somewhere down the road) when they’ve traded away their cap space?

    • I’m with you on this one. That’s not a salary cap, that’s a joke. There will always be teams out there that have self imposed budgets below the salary cap. They’ll sell their space year after year and the end result will be that NYR and other big market teams will continually buy up the space. Meantime, I doubt significant assets will be given for cap space – probably 7th round draft picks and/or cash. It won’t help the small market teams to have one extra ECHL player.

  3. I don’t like the idea of trading cap space for cash (some team trades away space every year and takes their share of revenue sharing just to be a bank vault for an owner), but, I do like the idea of trading cap space with a trade deadline trade (I’ll trade you this pending UFA and the cap space for him for the rest of this season for your bag of pucks and a Lady Gaga MP3.)

  4. The only way this proposal would work is if the team that buy cap space is penalize for the same amount the next year.

    Let’s say you are trading for 3 millions of cap space for the last third of the season, then the next year your maximum cap hit is a million lower than the rest of the league.

    That way, you are allowed to go over the cap for one year but you can’t do it every year. Otherwise rich team would just buy cap space at the beginning of the year from “poor” teams.

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