Devils Shorten Bench; Slide Under Cap
It was no secret that the New Jersey Devils have been scrambling to get under the cap the past few days. Sitting at roughly $3.5M over the limit, Lou Lamoriello has to do something before the deadline of 3 PM on Wednesday afternoon.
There was a lot of speculation and excitement over a possible major waiver move (i.e Brian Rolston, or Dainius Zubrus) or a trade of a big-name top six forward to free up some space, but as the deadline passed, there was no word of a major move. Other teams in the league knew that the Devils had their back against the wall, and no GM was willing to take on any contract to help their cause. But before 3 PM on Wednesday even had a chance to pass, the Devils made a move, and a decision that will fit them under the cap.
So what was done, exactly? How did the Devils slip underneath the salary cap without making a major move?
Just as the Devils did with Alexander Mogilny back in the salary cap’s baby years, they put a player on long-term injury reserve. The lucky man this year is defenseman Bryce Salvador, who sits at a $2.9M cap hit this season. Salvador was placed on LTIR after receiving yet another concussion this pre-season. As is the case with most concussions, there is no word on when he will even resume skating, let alone return to the Devils’ lineup.
But wait, the Devils are $3.5M over the max salary, not $2.9M. How can they now fit under the cap?
It’s simple. The Devils are going with a 20-man roster as opposed to the more typical 22. That puts the Devils below the cap – for now. This is not a long term solution, it’s a move made out of sheer desperation. Be thankful, the outcome could have been much worse. On the plus side, the only impact player the Devils lose from their lineup is Salvador, who is injured and unable to play anyway.
After weeks of speculation, and predictions of doom and gloom, the solution has been found. Keep watching the Devils cap-situation as you can be assured that moves will be made to shed salary. It’s not likely that the next move the team makes is a major one, though. You can put those rumours of “Zajac to (your favourite team)” to rest for now…
This move is important for the sole reason that it gives the Devils something they didn’t have before – Time. Now that they have time, the team can sit back and wait for a deal to fall into place. Other teams in the league may be more willing to work with the Devils now that they are officially ‘under the cap.’
To Dainius Zubrus, and Brian Rolston: Your jobs are safe – for now; At least until Bryce Salvador fully recovers, which could be months away. There is no timetable for his return, so don’t expect anything major to happen soon. Eventually a move will have to be made to shed some salary.
If the Kovalchuk ordeal tought Devils fans anything, it was the gift of having patience. Fans will need to reach back and find some more of that leftover patience before they get to see the end of this cap situation.