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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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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
K. Versteeg 63 11 22 -6 33
E. Staal 63 10 23 -3 33
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81