THIS IS THE POST THAT ONCE AND FOR ALL WILL STOP ALL OF THIS "WERE GONNA SUCK NEXT YEAR" GARBAGE. Here we go...
Move 1: Dump Defensive Salary: Matt Walker is gone. He might not even see this year. That move just has to happen because 1.7 on a seventh defense-men is horrible. The second part of this move is the tougher part. Our third, fourth, and fifth D-men make 3.4, 3.2, 4.0 respectively. They are Carle, Coburn, and Meszaros. One of them has to go. 3.2 for a fifth D-man can only work when Ville and Claude are still on their first contracts. They get the big deals next year, and it costs us a fifth D-man. The third part of this is the most important. We have four legitimate NHL ready (by next year) young defense men. Oscars Bartullis has Stanley Cup experience. He's still very young. He's making .6 million and he's got a 1-way deal for this year and then two more years. He's the PERFECT seventh D-man. Could he be a third pair guy? Yes. Then we have our three top Phantoms: Marc-Andre Bourdon (2 years, .875), Erik Gustaffson (3 years, .900), Kevin Marshall (2 years, .845). Hopefully two of these three (possibly more if you include guys like Jancowsky and Lethivouri) to become NHL ready. If we keep Coburn and Carle together, assign each kid to Timo and Prongs and that is a solid defense.
Move 2: Resign our top offensive guys: Jeff Carter, Nikolay Zherdev, Ville Lieno, and Claude Giroux all need to be resigned. Carter won't sign for more than Richards. He's good for 5.5 million, IMO. Zherdev (or someone at his level if we go somewhere else) can get 3.5. Lieno (unless he kept his PPG totals like in the playoffs) is good for 2. Claude, I have at 3.5. He could go for more, but when you see the whole plan, it leaves room for everything.
Move 3: Fill out the offense. Right now (under my plan) we have Richards, Carter, Briere, Hartnell, Zherdev (or a 3.5 million dollar replacement), Lieno, Giroux, JVR, Betts and Shelly all signed for next year. That's ten guys, we need three more (two of which to start). Betts and Shelly need a fourth line partner. Nodl's deal for .850 is done after this year. I think that if he gets NHL time and shows progression, he's good for .8 TOPS. If not, there are plenty of fourth line guys we can grab for around that number. Ash went for that. Betts is under there. Guys will take minor pay cuts to win. Powe needs to be signed, lets say (over exaggerated) a cool million. Then for our 13th guy (whoever it is) makes .800. If we want to get crazy, we can free up the "Nodl money" and that .800 and all the rest we have and grab a "Gagne" for say... 2.5... it can be done.
Move 4: Goalies: Leights IMO will be gone if Bob plays well. 1.5 for a backup, with Backlund only making .900 is stupid. Boosh is gone. In my plan, we have Bob/Back for 1.75+.900. Nice deal if Bob is legit, or Backy takes his spot. If all four goalies suck this year (Boosh/Leights included) then you take Zherdev's 3.5 or Lieno's 2.0 and you get a goalie.
Move 5: Watch our continued success throughout the 2010's
CAPGEEK.COM CAP CALCULATOR
James Van Riemsdyk ($1.654m) / Mike Richards ($5.750m) / C Giroux ($3.500m)
Ville Lieno ($2.000m) / Daniel Briere ($6.500m) / Scott Hartnell ($4.200m)
Andreas Nodl ($0.850m) / J Carter ($5.750m) / D Powe ($1.000m)
Jody Shelley ($1.100m) / Blair Betts ($0.700m) / Nikolay Zherdev ($3.500m)
/ 13TH FORWARD ($0.800m)
Kimmo Timonen ($6.333m) / Chris Pronger ($4.921m)
Braydon Coburn ($3.200m) / Matt Carle ($3.437m)
Erik Gustafsson ($0.900m) / Oskars Bartulis ($0.600m)
Marc-Andre Bourdon ($0.875m) / 8TH DGUY ($0.800m)
Sergei Bobrovsky ($1.750m) /Johan Backlund ($0.800m)
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled using the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $59,400,000; CAP PAYROLL: $60,921,429; BONUSES: $1,765,000
CAP SPACE (23-man roster): $243,571
All of that is EXCLUDING the fact that the salary cap could go up. Yeah, our bonuses bring us close, but I exaggerated everything except Claude. That team is great. Yeah our 3rd D-Pair isn't as good... NOW... but if they progress, we have some major potential back there. Those forward spots leave the same thing as now. Maybe Nodl plays great on the third line this year and wins that third line spot next year. Who knows?