Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Alex Romanov are jeopardizing the signing of a star player in July

Published March 25, 2022 at 7:09 PM

The Habs currently have the highest payroll in the NHL. Even if a cleanup was done at the trade deadline, it's no less than $92.27M that the CH players are sharing. It's a good thing Kent Hughes is on the long-term injured list (LBLT)...

However, the club's new assistant GM, the excellent John Sedgwick, said at a press conference a few weeks ago that dealing with the long-term injured list (LTI) full time was not "optimal". He said it is much easier to have a game on the payroll than to use the injured list. In a recent interview with Simon-Olivier Lorange of La Presse, Sedgwick explains why:

"There's a misconception that a long-term injured player's salary - that is, a player guaranteed to miss 10 games or 24 days - is simply wiped out during his absence. This is inaccurate.

When a player is placed on this list, his team gets relief based on the club's payroll, the player's salary and the cap. They will then be allowed to exceed the cap by the value of that relief.

If you're dumped at this point, remember this: it's advantageous for a team to be as close to the salary cap as possible to take advantage of maximum margin."

In his interview, Sedgwick revealed another problem that is looming over the Habs. This one is due to the recent great performances of Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Alexander Romanov.

Indeed, these three players are eligible for performance bonuses that could add a total of 1.475 million on the team's payroll for next season. When you know that the team's budget for the 2022-2023 season is already 79.8 million (for 15 players), there is something to worry about.

Do the math: $81.5M - $1.475M = $80.025M

As Lorange points out, teams can exceed the 10% cap during the summer. So Kent Hughes would have $8-10 million in leeway during the offseason to complete his roster.

To date, the CH has seven unrestricted free agents without contracts, including Rem Pitlick, Alexander Romanov and Samuel Montembeault. Fans who want to see the CH hit the jackpot on the free-agent market, with Kristopher Letang for example, will be rather disappointed...

Getting rid of Weber's salary as well as that of one or two big earners would greatly help the club. Sedgwick says it would be nice but it's not necessary. He's seen it before and can handle it.

"From my perspective, it would help, but it's not necessary." - John Sedwick

It appears Hughes was reportedly close to trading Weber's contract last Monday at the trade deadline. The whole thing was reportedly aborted. Rumors even mention that it would be the league that would have refused the whole thing.

In short, all this trouble with the club's payroll almost makes us miss the days when Marc Bergevin kept 7-8 million under the cap.

Via La Presse
March 25   |   429 answers
Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Alex Romanov are jeopardizing the signing of a star player in July

Which player will be better at his position?

Caufield15035 %
Suzuki21349.7 %
Romanov6615.4 %
Latest 10 stories