Tracking the Storm

Economy Making Deals Difficult

Thursday, 11.20.2008 / 11:04 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Economy Making Deals Difficult

There’s no doubt that limitations caused by the salary cap have caused a decrease in the number of trades made across the NHL.  Add a sluggish economy to the mix, and it’s no wonder why there hasn’t been a lot of movement across the league so far this season.

Paul Branecky
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The issues is that, in addition to some teams not being able to add to their payroll according to the salary cap rules, more and more teams aren’t able to add salary according to their own budgetary constraints.

According to GM Jim Rutherford, that’s been a factor in why he hasn’t yet moved one of his extra defensemen, something he’s been interested in doing since before training camp began in order to lower his expenses.

”The fact of the matter is that other teams are trying to do the same things in trying to manage their business and cut their payrolls a little bit,” said Rutherford.  “As long as teams are trying to do that, it’s pretty difficult to make a deal.”

The recent situation with Josef Melichar provides a good example.  Last week the team waived the Czech defenseman, a healthy scratch for the past four games, but got no takers.

“Us putting him on waivers was trying to free up a contract,” said Rutherford.  “It’s not because we didn’t like him and not because we didn’t like his play, it was just an opportunity to move a player out.  I know there were teams interested in him, but they just weren’t in a position to take on another contract.”

The extra players on the roster can be useful, as the Canes found out recently when injuries hit their defense and extra players quickly found themselves in game action (Melichar has played in 10 games this season).  However, the current landscape seems to be making that depth a luxury that teams can’t afford.

”It’s not like there’s guys in this eight that we don’t like and we think can’t help the team,” said Rutherford.  “It’s just the economics of our business.”

Since claiming a player on waivers or trading players for draft picks is purely a salary add, player-for-player trades where the incoming salary is offset by the departing player actually seem to be a more workable route.

“I don’t think you’re going to see nearly as much of that, especially this year,” said Rutherford of player-for-pick moves.  “Maybe around the trade deadline you’ll see it because the player’s contract will be mostly paid by then and the team doesn’t take on as much salary.  I don’t think that you’re going to see it at this time.”

Rutherford said that moving an extra defenseman is still on the radar, but the team’s recent run of good health makes the situation not as much of a priority as it was earlier in the season when so many forwards were injured.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72