There weren’t any “hockey trades” during this year’s NHL draft weekend. Every trade was either focused around pure draft pick swaps, or salary cap dumps. The draft pick swaps happen every year, but the cap dumps were much bigger and bolder than we have seen in years past. There were three main deals that I want to go over, and then discuss how the thinking behind these trades should be applied to our fantasy teams.
To Toronto: 2020 Sixth round pick
To Carolina: Patrick Marleau (AAV – $6,250,000), 2020 first round pick, 2020 seventh round pick
Our first trade involved a first-round pick lumped together with an unaffordable salary in order for one team to clear cap space. On Toronto’s end of the deal, they can part with a first-round pick to make this happen for two reasons. First off, they know they will be a playoff team (and possible Stanley Cup contender) for years to come, so the first-round pick will not be in the top 20 selections, reducing its value. Second, the cap space freed up was not done so willy-nilly, it was done to create room for Mitch Marner. The usage of cap space to upgrade from Marleau’s cost vs talent to Marner’s, was worth a late first round pick who wouldn’t see NHL ice likely for another three years.
On the Carolina side, they had cap space to spare, would be missing veteran leadership if Justin Williams retires, and were subsequently able to ship out Calvin DeHaan’s cap hit (AAV – $4,550,000) at no impactful cost to the team. The Hurricanes filled a need, added a first-round pick, and on the whole, added less than $2 million in salary.
Two different teams in two different places, both coming out on the positive end of the deal.
To Nashville: Steven Santini (AAV – $1,416,666), Jeremy Davies, 2019 second round pick, 2020 second round pick
To New Jersey: P.K. Subban (AAV – $9,000,000)
Unlike Toronto, Nashville wasn’t strapped for cash to re-sign their own players this summer, but they did see an opportunity to re-allocate their cap space. Subban’s $9 million cap hit was expendable with the emergence of Dante Fabbro on defence, and a greater need for scoring up front (specifically on the power play). What Nashville can do here is use 90 percent of the savings from parting with Subban’s contract, to bring in a free agent such as Matt Duchene. In doing so, they have a star player going out, a star player coming in, close to neutral salary, and get the secondary pieces from New Jersey as a bonus. If Duchene does not sign, then at least they will have the flexibility to pursue other options.
On the Devils’ side of things, they filled a massive hole in their lineup by only parting with small pieces,