NHL teams had to finalize their opening today. Many of them were wrestling with salary cap issues as the deadline neared.
So there has been plenty of roster movement the last few days. Some teams made moves to clear cap space while some teams with flexibility added needed depth.
Here is the rundown:
PANTHERS LOAD UP
Florida made the big move by signing former Bruins goaltender and noted Tea Party enthusiast Tim Thomas after his successful tryout. But the team didn’t stop there.
The Panthers added winger Brad Boyes and offensive defensemen Tom Gilbert and Ryan Whitney with bargain deals. GM Dale Tallon took full advantage of the buyer’s market created by the one-time lowering of the salary cap. Boyes, Gilbert and Whitney will earn a combined $2.8 million this season, or what it used to cost to sign one mid-level free agent.
YOUTH IS NOT SERVED
Some of the top young players in NHL camps won’t start the season with the parent club. For instance, the Lightning opted to send explosive winger Jonathan Drouin back to his junior hockey team in Halifax. That is not good news for goaltenders in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
The Coyotes sent Max Domi back to London of the Ontario Hockey League, where his considerable offensive skill will remind nobody of daddy Tie. Other cuts include AHL-bound forwards Ryan Strome (Islanders), Brandon Pirri (Blackhawks), Mika Zibanejad (Senators), Tyler Toffoli (Kings), Brett Connolly (Lightning) and Gustav Nyquist (Red Wings). Hurricanes defenseman Ryan Murphy is also headed to the AHL, but he may return immediately after Carolina gains cap compliance.
CAROLINA ADDRESSES CAP CONCERNS
In addition to demoting Murphy at least temporarily, the Hurricanes sent Zac Dalpe and Jeremy Welsh to Vancouver for forward Kellen Tochkin and a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft. That yielded a net cap reduction of about $850,000 for the Canes. Some of that money could go to forward Radek Dvorak, who had a nice camp while participating on a PTO.
ANAHEIM ADDS DEPTH
The injury-depleted Ducks sent winger John Mitchell and a fourth-round pick to Washington for center Mathieu Perreault, who was an odd man out with the Capitals. The Ducks needed help with new wave forwards Jakob Silfverberg and Emerson Etem opening the year on the injured list.
WASHINGTON GAINS CAP SPACE
By moving Perreault, the Capitals gained $1.05 million of badly needed maneuvering room. That should make it possible to get bring Tom Wilson into the mix and gain some badly needed heft. The Caps are playing in a much tougher division this season after vacationing in the Southeast in recent seasons.
JOE COLBORNE GETS TO PLAY
That wasn’t going to happen much in Toronto this season. So Colborne, a Calgary native, was thrilled with his trade to the undermanned Flames for a fourth-round pick. New Flames hockey czar Brian Burke likes big guys and at least Colborne has that going for him.
TORONTO CLEANS UP ITS ROSTER
In another move designed to create more cap flexibility, the Maple Leafs put not-so-frisky veteran John-Michael Liles on waivers. The offensive defenseman cleared, so perhaps Toronto will essentially pay another team to take him at some point this season.