[6/30 UPDATE] Can You Afford Kovalchuk NOW?

Less than 22 hours until you know what. The cap figures have shifted a bit since three days ago, due to buy-outs (Cheechoo, O'Sullivan), waivers (Moreau), trades (Ellis) and signings (Leighton). I also chose to sort one of the charts by "cap space per player remaining to be signed assuming the team is crazy enough to use its bonus cushion" (the last column). This levels the playing field a bit by recognizing that, at this time of year, GMs sometimes go insane.

I am cut/pasting my explanation/definitions/instructions from the previous post:

What I have done is, take a team's current cap hit, add in a very low estimate for any RFAs the team is generally thought to be re-signing, and then add in $8.5MM cap hit for Ilya Kovalchuk, and see where that gets you, cap-wise.

The teams in red are the ones who can't sign Kovalchuk without making substantial moves first.

The teams in orange are the ones who shouldn't sign Kovalchuk but could almost do it, if willing to flirt with cap hell, and willing to fill out their roster with minimum wage employees.

Teams in yellow can do it and will still have $1-2MM left over per player they need to sign.

Teams in green have more than $2MM per player left to sign (or else would already have a full roster), and so are obviously in the best position of all the teams.

Atlanta is in black, because he's not signing there.

Columns: CAP = cap hit; SGN = players signed; C-Sp = cap space; /P22 = cap space per player left to sign to get to a roster of 22; /P20 is the same thing but for a minimum roster of 20; LTS = left to sign; LTS22 = number of players left to sign to get to a roster of 22; C-Sp(bonus) = cap space when adding in the bonus cushion; #FA = the number of RFAs or UFAs I am subjectively determining the team is likely to sign; $FA is a ballpark (minimum) that those players are going to cost; (FA) suffix means the calculation assumes the free agents previously estimated; (IK) suffix indicates that the calculation includes Kovalchuk at an $8.5MM cap hit. BC! suffix indicates the number assumes the GM has insanely decided to spend his bonus cushion.

The first chart is sorted by draft rank, with the best teams at the top. I did it this way because it is assumed Kovalchuk wants to sign with a "contender." There is a lot of information here, but the most important stuff is in the last four columns. Those show what each team's cap situation would be like post-Kovalchuk (with minimal RFA signings), in terms of cap hit, cap space, players left to sign and cap dollars left for each of those players needing to be signed.

Click on each chart to see a bigger, higher-resolution version that won't hurt your eyes.

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Now here's the same chart, sorted by cap-space-including-bonus-cushion.

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Lastly, here's the most-detailed version of the chart, with all the columns. Again, click through for the bigger better version.

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Some observations

  • As you would expect, Edmonton has helped itself by waiving people, not that there's any chance he's going to sign there. (There might be, for all I know; I assume nothing...)
  • Toronto has ascended into the yellow, benefiting entirely from my decision to sort by cap-space-including-bonus-cushion. And, yes, if they make moves to buy out people or otherwise dump salary, they could make it work. Never rule out Burke.
  • Columbus, by virtue of picking up Moreau on waivers, has dropped nearly into the red.
  • Philly has risen a bit due to the Leighton signing, which (I am assuming) makes it less likely they will be signing Nabokov or Turco.
  • Of the green teams, Phoenix, Colorado, Nashville and Dallas are generally thought to be not in the UFA/Kovy/spend-money-you-don't-have market. I resist crossing people off lists because of what's supposed to be true according to what GMs say to reporters. But it's worth noting that half the green teams probably aren't in the market.
  • I still can't shake the feeling that these things never pan out the way people think they're going to. (tick, tock...)
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