Now we know what Lombardi was talking about
Maybe you remember Dean Lombardi's cryptic comments about Schenn's contract. This is from June 2, 2010:
Lombardi, on prospects " LA Kings Insider
LOMBARDI: [...] To the kid’s credit though, one thing that bodes well for the kid, in fairness to him, he adjusted his contract. As the fifth pick, he could have demanded X, Y and Z on his cap number, but he recognized that he wanted to play here, so he kept his cap number down to ensure that he’s not left off the team because of his cap number. [...] Schenner might be one of the first ones to adjust on his first contract and say, `OK, if I’m going to break in, I might have to start as a No. 4, and I can’t break in as a 4 with a $3-million cap number."
Question: [Schenn's] cap number had been listed at around $3 million. That’s actually not what it would cost you to have him around?
LOMBARDI: "Let’s just say, for now, that he has showed it’s important for him to make this team and not have that as a hindrance."
Well, now we know what he was talking about:
Schenn: Pure Money Move | Frequent Flyers | 10/04/2011
Curiously, on the day that Brayden Schenn had his locker moved from the Phantoms’ locker room down the hall to the Flyers’ big boy room, the Flyers "loaned" their prized prospect to the AHL. We say "loaned" in quotations because he may not actually be traveling far. In fact, Schenn may still end up flying to Boston with the Flyers. It all has to do with the cap. By not skating in Thursday’s opener against the Bruins, the Flyers will save themselves a ton of money on the cap - and make Schenn’s seemingly large $3.11 million cap hit turn into a much more manageable $1.75 million cap hit, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
Schenn would have qualified for a $1.405 million bonus payout - which counts against the salary cap - if he played in all 82 games with the Flyers this season. Thus, by spending Thursday on the the AHL roster, Schenn would immediately save the Flyers that money off the top of the cap.
Bonus: because I know we all like to re-live these things (and because our friends in Philly might be interested), here's the rest of that interview with Lombardi, where he discusses Schenn and Wayne Simmonds...
Question: Schenn would seem to be intriguing, in terms of his potential to make the team. What are your thoughts on the potential of that?
LOMBARDI: "With these young guys, if they’re going to push the envelope, so much of it is about what kind of summer they’re going to have. Simmonds is now your example for what you’re talking about with young kids, or kids who get ahead of the curve. Simmonds, from where he came from, to make the team last year, to where he is now, people forget that this kid slept on a couch and stayed here all summer and would not be denied. So you look back and say, 'Nobody predicted him to make this team two years ago.' I’m only telling you this because you’re asking about Schenn. My answer might be, 'His only shot is to have the type of commitment that Simmonds did.' Because I could go the other way and say, 'Simmonds wouldn’t have had a chance in hell here, but he spent the whole summer here and slept on the couch.' He got his buddy’s car. He would borrow my car at times, because I felt bad for him that he didn’t have a ride. The kid was in here every day, getting better, and he makes the team. So, to answer about Schenn, it all depends on what type of commitment he makes this summer.
"[...] The one thing I’m a little nervous about is, to his credit — and this is one of the reasons I love him, the fact that his draft year, he hurt his shoulder and he refused to miss a shift — he kind of did the same thing this year with the groin and the knee. I don’t think he was totally healthy. The first thing I want to make sure is that he’s healthy. [...] A lot of those higher-profile kids in that Canadian junior program, they play an awful lot of hockey. His groin and his shoulder have been issues. You can see, he’s not the most effortless of skaters anyway. It’s one of the issues he’s got to get better at. But like I said, all power to him, he never uses that as an excuse. [...]
"But I think what he showed this year, him and Clifford, Clifford would be in the same mold. He had a little taste of the minors and stepped right in and did really well, everything from the way he played to… Let’s just say that with Burrows and Bieksa [i.e. assholes on other teams. -ed.], we’re starting to get a few more guys to deal with that stuff. So he will fit in very well when those guys take liberties. [...] With Cliffy here, we’ll put some of this stuff to bed. I got a little off-track there, because it makes me mad.
"Anyway, the other problem with Schenn is that we’ve got that junior quandary. It’s the Moller thing, except it’s a higher level. He wouldn’t be able to go to the minors, so now it’s back to junior. I hate that. But now you’re not making the decision based totally on what’s best for him, in terms of where he should be playing.
I left in the Clifford digression because it's vintage Lombardi. "I got a little off-track there, because it makes me mad." That would make a good slogan for somebody.