Ramblings: Kucherov Gets Paid, Maroon Comes Home (July 11)

Ian Gooding

2018-07-10

 


On Tuesday Nikita Kucherov signed the contract we were all waiting for. “Only” $9.5 million over eight years. You may have thought he could have received $10 or $11 million on the open market. But remember that Tavares salary calculator that showed that JT would pay the least amount of taxes in Tampa Bay? If you think about it, that $10 or $11 million is what other teams would have had to pay if Kucherov decided to go the John Tavares route. So I’m sure he’s happy right where he is. Plus if he’s as serious about winning Stanley Cups as he says he is, he shouldn’t be reaching for the max deal anyway.

On a side note, I know that Toronto can bring the endorsement deals for a star player such as Tavares. But I wonder how much of a competitive disadvantage there will be for teams in Canada, where taxes are generally higher than in the US. I know firsthand that the cost of living in a place like Vancouver (or Toronto, for that matter) isn’t cheap. But even in the salary cap era, the Canadian teams are going to be in tough to compete for free agents because of actual take-home pay.

Back to the fantasy implications of the Kucherov deal. Salary cap league owners now have a year to plan for the nearly $5 million raise that Kucherov will receive. If you think about it, his current contract (less than $5 million per season) is a smokin’ deal for a 100-point player. And as long as he continues at close to that pace, you can probably make room for him in most salary cap league formats. You don’t give up elite players easily, no matter the cost.

There are, of course, the implications as far as a potential Erik Karlsson deal for the Bolts. The heavily rumored player to be on the move to make room for Karlsson’s salary would be Ryan Callahan (to the Rangers). But could the Lightning move any other players? In an interview with TSN 1040 this afternoon, Lightning insider Erik Erlendsson suggested that someone like Alex Killorn or Dan Girardi or Braydon Coburn or even Tyler Johnson could be moved. All those players make at least $3 million per season. To make room for Karlsson, the Bolts would need to trade someone off their current roster anyway. Might not be easy to maneuver, but could still be done.

*

We found out on Sunday that Patrick Maroon was close to signing in his hometown of St. Louis, but on Tuesday that was made officia