Yesterday, part 1 of my draft recap issued a grade for Carolina Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis’ work for the NHL trade deadline. You can also see how Canes and Coffee readers graded Francis in the polls for Thursday’s Coffee Shop post.
Part 2 of my recap of the 2017 NHL trade deadline will focus more broadly on its potential impact on the work still ahead and mostly deferred to the summer for building the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes roster.
No loss of options to improve for 2017-18
Arguably, the most directly Canes-relevant takeaway from the trade deadline is the fact that literally none of the players who could be part of the Hurricanes’ equation for next year came off the board.
Of players with term remaining on their contract at the goalie and forward position, none of Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Marc-Andre Fleury or Jaroslav Halak was moved which means these players will likely resurface when trade winds kick up again in June.
And Ben Bishop who was arguably the biggest name goalie available ended up being traded to Los Angeles where he is most likely just a short-term rental since Jonathan Quick is just returning from injury.
So the upshot is that pretty much any and all of the players thought to be available to help the Hurricanes for 2017-18 and beyond should once again at least be rumored to be available come June.
Ron Hextall potentially sabotages Ron Francis’ patented ‘salary cap helper’ trade for the summer of 2017
As the trade deadline was approaching a somewhat ho-hum move with Philadelphia and Tampa Bay swapping veterans on pricey contracts. Tampa Bay received Mark Streit and the $4 million (prorated) that he is owed for the remainder of the 2016-17 season. And Philadelphia received Valtteri Filppula who is due $5 million annually importantly through the end of the 2017-18 season. Tampa Bay went on to immediately flip Mark Streit to the Penguins, retaining half of his remaining salary.
The move rates as brilliant and incredibly helpful for Tampa Bay’s general manager Steve Yzerman and hard to understand from the side of Philadelphia’s general manager Ron Hextall.
When you net out the trades after draft picks included and salary retained, it breaks down like this:
For Philadelphia: The deal is roughly a wash for 2016-17. They add a veteran overpaid forward and give up a veteran overpaid defenseman. But the big thing is that they added Valtteri Filppula for 2017-18 at a salary of $5 million. My guess is that he would have priced out in the $1.5-2.5 million range had he been bought out and became a free agent this summer. Philadelphia did also receive fourth and seventh round draft picks at a hefty price of about $3 million total if you use my fair value estimate for Filppula’s 2017-18 salary.
For Tampa Bay: They are out only a seventh round pick (gave up a 2017 fourth to Philadelphia and received a 2018 fourth back from Pittsburgh). Cash-wise, the Lightning will need to pay about $475,000 to of Streit’s contract for the remainder of the season but they save about $1.1 million (assumes $600,000 for replacement) from not having to pay Filppula and instead paying a much cheaper replacement. When you net it out, Yzerman pocketed about $625,000 of real cash for the remainder of the 2016-17 season. But most significantly, he eliminated a player who would have had to be protected for the expansion draft because of his no-movement clause and also a $5 million salary obligation for 2016-17. Best bet is that Yzerman would have had to buy Filppula out to avoid protecting him in the expansion draft and to free up money for key free agents that he must re-sign this summer.
The short version is that Steve Yzerman fleeced Ron Hextall in a deal to start solving his salary cap issues next summer to the tune of about $5 million savings.
So what does this have to do with the Carolina Hurricanes? Last summer, Ron Francis’ biggest deal was collecting 22-year old Teuvo Teravainen in return to for taking Bryan Bickell’s salary off of Chicago’s hands. In my book, Tampa Bay easily rates as the team most up against the salary cap for this summer. The situation could have created an opportunity for Ron Francis to collect a decent player for almost nothing (I had a deal for Jason Garrison in my 5 potential deals on trade deadline day.) or possibly even steal 1 of the Lightning’s good young forwards if Yzerman could not figure out how to pay all of them. Yzerman still has work to do, but the probability of him hitting desperate mode this summer to the Hurricanes’ benefit definitely decreased with the trade of Filppula’s $5 million contract to Philadelphia.
The Metropolitan Division became a little bit weaker 4-5 years out
With a number of teams capable of and pushing for winning the 2017 Stanley Cup, the Metropolitan Division leaders were among the buyers for 2017.
Washington went all in for the 2017 playoffs and in the process spent 1st, 2nd, 5th round picks and a good prospect to boot.
New York (Rangers) were at it again spending 2nd and 3rd round picks after shipping 2 2nd-rounders and a recent 3rd-rounder in Aleksi Saarela to the Hurricanes at this time last year.
Pittsburgh spent only the 2nd round pick for Hainsey when you net out the past week.
Meanwhile Ron Francis has managed to accumulate 4 extra picks in the first 3 rounds of the upcoming 2017 NHL draft. My hope is that he will spend some of them this summer to build for 2017-18, but for right now it is great to have so many extra assets to build for the future.