...Is it too soon to play with next season's roster? After all, there's still plenty o'game to go here, and no-one knows which players will emerge as goats and heroes in the city. (Actually, if Vancouver can pull this off, pretty much everyone on the team is going to have a statue in Stanley Park. We know this, right? I digress.)
In a time of cooler heads, I figured we've all got a few days to kill before the final round (WOO!) starts up, so why not have some fun with numbers?
CAPGEEK.COM CAP CALCULATOR
Henrik Sedin ($6.100m) / Daniel Sedin ($6.100m) / Alexandre Burrows ($2.000m)
Mason Raymond ($2.550m) / Ryan Kesler ($5.000m) / Mikael Samuelsson ($2.500m)
Jannik Hansen ($0.925m) / Manny Malhotra ($2.500m) / Chris Higgins ($2.000m)
Victor Oreskovich ($0.650m) / Cody Hodgson ($1.666m) / Maxim Lapierre ($1.200m)
/ Jeff Tambellini ($0.650m) / Aaron Volpatti ($0.612m)
Alexander Edler ($3.250m) / Dan Hamhuis ($4.500m)
Kevin Bieksa ($4.500m) / Keith Ballard ($4.200m)
Aaron Rome ($0.750m) / Andrew Alberts ($1.250m)
Chris Tanev ($0.900m)
Roberto Luongo ($5.333m) / Cory Schneider ($0.900m)
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $61,000,000; CAP PAYROLL: $60,037,499; BONUSES: $850,000
CAP SPACE (23-man roster): $962,501
As you can see, I've worked with some basic assumptions:
1) The cap will increase to $61 million flat;
2) The RFAs will take a small, but reasonable, bump to their salaries;
3) Of the UFAs, Erhoff and Higgins will price themselves off the team;
4) No other players exist besides those in the Canucks' system.
As for the others, I went with a combination of what I thought we could keep, who is due for a promotion, and who would stick around, Cup or no.
With goal covered, let's start at the defence. Does Bieksa deserve $4.5 million? No, but I don't think Hamhuis does either, and he's set the high water mark. Erhoff could certainly get that and quite possibly more, so I think that's where he goes. Tanev certainly deserves a full season at this point, and Sauve could just as easily take that #7 spot. If Ballard does get moved (there are seven teams he can designate as "acceptable locations") like I hope happens, then I'm perfectly happy to trade some growing pains from a young defence in exchange for getting young guys some experience.
The forwards are pretty simple, what with the top seven being set. I'd like to keep Higgins, even though I think he's a bit overpaid: he does that "occasionally dangerous" thing really well, and is a pretty solid combination of grit, skill and speed. Oreskovich has played himself into another contract, though only as a fourth liner. Good speed and good size, and he's not an idiot. A little more finish and he'll get a bigger raise, but not before. Hodgson's time has (finally!) come to stick with the big club. As for Lapierre, he's a useful agitator who knows when to bring his game and can be moved up the line-up for limited times, but he can also be replaced and is a RFA. I like Tambellini's speed, and if he could ever get consistency in his game he could move up, but for now he and Volpatti are the 13th and 14th forwards.
Volpatti? Yeah: he's signed, he's a BC boy, and he's steady enough for 5-8 NHL minutes a game, if needed.
Sure there's not much money left over, but all sorts of things could happen here: Bieksa (or Erhoff) could sign for less; Ballard could be traded for someone Vigneault feels like using (Hey! Now there's room for Erhoff!); Manny Mo might not be able to make it back to hockey (erk!); a sudden influx of UFAs offering services for cheap if only they could play for the Stanley Cup winning team (could happen!)...
All told, I'd go into a season with that bunch. How about you?