We got into this whole journalism racket because we were told there would be no math.
So you can appreciate that trying to figure out salary cap considerations causes us to go lunging for our abacus, and that we are more or less completely reliant on the eccentric, highly-paid boffins in the FI quants division.
All this musing about how much dough Tomas Plekanec could pull in next year got us to thinking.
We're reminded of Brick Top, the guv'nor in Snatch (call us crazy, but French Immersion has a soft spot for Guy Ritchie's Cockney noir thing), who of course said to a beefy henchman: "It can get you in a lot of trouble thinking, Harold. I shouldn't do so much of it."
After deploying our rudimentary accounting skills, it's hard to see how the pieces fit together for Bob Gainey under the cap next season, what with Carey Price attaining RFA status (to say nothing of the Halaks, Pouliots, D'Agostinis, S. Kostitsyns, Lapierres, etc.) The Habs have $44.8-million committed in salaries for 2010-11 (per capgeek.com), and have 13 players under one-way NHL contracts. Assuming a slight increase in the cap next year, as seems likely, that leaves something in the order of $13-14 million for the remaining 10 guys on the roster.
Although that might be a slight overestimation, as the Habs have dressed 20 players on several occasions this year - perhaps a sign of a Molson austerity regime?
Assuming $4.5-million per year for Plekanec, and that Price and Jaro Halak (also an RFA) average out at something near $3-million each (which sounds optimistic), that leaves, er, nothing for the remaining players.
So unless the NHLPA is about to unveil a brave new era of volunteerism, it will be decision time for the goalies. Speaking of which, a GM we talked to recently reckoned Halak, even on current sparkling form, is probably worth a second-round pick at best at the moment. He will fetch a roster player if traded nearer the draft.
Assuming one of them leaves - one scenario is that the Habs will hang on to Halak as long as possible as a hedge against someone signing Price to an RFA offer sheet - it would free up some money, but not very much if it's to be spread among seven or eight guys.
Good tidings, then, for the Ryan Whites and Ben Maxwells of the world, not so good for vets like Metro the Moss Park Magician, Paul Mara and Marc-André Bergeron.
Here we go thinking again, but it all kinda makes Comrade Georges's $1.5-million next year seem a bit of a pinch, eh? And we quite like Roman Hamrlik, but at $5.5-million for 2010-11?
Anybody interested in a slightly-used enforcer or an aging former first-overall pick who still has some miles left on the blue line? Anyone?
Fun times ahead.