|Will Brian Burke Catch Patrice Bergeron|
when Pheasant Hunting with Peter Chiarelli?
Joe Haggerity of CSNNE.com reports Bruins shopping Blake Wheeler ($2.2 mil cap) around the league to free up cap space for the imminent return of Marc Savard and Marco Sturm. Coincidently, Brian Burke told us he received two solid trade offers. There are reports about Brian Burke and Peter Chiarelli going pheasant hunting this week. By the way, Toronto Maple Leafs plays Boston Bruins this Thursday.
When Boston offers Blake Wheeler to Toronto, I imagine Brian Burke asking about Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic, and Patrice Bergeron. Let's hope Chiarelli is not holding a gun at the time.
Putting all kidding aside, Chiarelli might be open to discussing Patrice Bergeron. He is over-loaded with centres: Marc Savard ($4,007 mil cap), Patrice Bergeron ($4.75 mil), David Krejci ($3.75 mil cap), and Tyler Seguin ($3.55 mil cap). He covets Tomas Kaberle ($4.25 mil cap). Hockey experts believe Chiarelli will be the highest bidder when Kaberle becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
Patrice Bergeron has the highest cap salary amongst Boston centres. Next year, it goes up to $5 mil. This is $400k less than Phil Kessel's cap salary. This week, Burke expressed his desire for a first line centre with a $5 mil cap salary.
Tomas Kaberle's NTC (No Trade Clause) will be the only obstacle if Burke and Chiarelli reach this common ground. Of course, some will be incredulous at the thought of Kaberle waiving his NTC to leave Ron Wilson for Boston Bruins. As you know, I am not one of them.
We may end up with Blake Wheeler and Patrice Bergeron for Tomas Kaberle and "another Leaf" by December before Brian Burke's Christmas trade freeze starts on ninth of December.
Who is the "another Leaf"? This deal will trigger Toronto moving two forwards from its NHL roster, one to Boston and the other to the minors. John Mitchell ($725k cap) to Boston makes the most sense because he is a bottom six forward with cap friendly salary. Chiarelli will try for Mike Brown ($537k cap) but Burke is not the one with the cap problem. Maybe even Tim Brent or Mike Zigomannis.
Who goes to the minors from Toronto? Three forwards have two-way contracts: Tyler Bozak ($3.725 cap), Mike Zigomannis ($500k cap), and Tim Brent ($575k cap). Tyler Bozak is the only one who does not have to clear recall waivers when called up.
Who becomes the seventh defenceman when Kaberle leaves? Choose between Matt Lashoff ($550k cap) and Keith Aulie ($733k cap) from Toronto Marlies. Matt Lashoff is on a one-way contract and must clear recall waivers. Remember, Toronto must eat half his cap if someone claims him.
What are the cap implications of this type of deal?
For Boston, it frees up almost $2 mil in cap space. Just over $2.8 mil if they assign Brad Marchand ($821k cap) to the AHL to make roster space for John Mitchell. Assigning Michael Ryder ($4 mil cap) to the AHL brings the cap savings up to $6.8 mil. This makes NHL roster spots available for Marc Savard and Marco Sturm, keeps Boston within the salary cap, and reduces their bonus cushion down to $500k. Important note, assigning Tyler Seguin to the OHL instead of Marchand to the AHL brings Boston's bonus cushion down to zero.
For Toronto, they have $3.9 mil in cap space if you factor in the expected bonus payouts. This amount is reduced by $699k if the trade is done by 1st of December or $661k if done by eighth of December (day before Brian Burke's Christmas trade freeze). This leaves $3.2 mil cap space, enough to do another big deal after Christmas.
Enough to allow Toronto Maple Leafs fans to sleep nestled on snug in their beds, with visions of sugar-plums dancing in their heads.
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