Bergevin’s Poker Face Lands Eric Staal + Cole Caufield’s Timeline

Author’s Note: I am not the most well-versed in the Salary Cap but this was done to the best of my research and math abilities. If there is an error, (thank you for reading) please let me know so that I can update it for accuracy!

If nothing else, Marc Bergevin has made this season an entertaining one. Despite sitting in front of the media and telling everyone there was not much he could do, Bergevin struck early yet again. With the additions of Eric Staal and Cole Caufield (signed to an Entry Level Contract, ELC), Bergevin must be against the cap now right?

With Staal on the roster, where do the Canadiens stack up against the Salary Cap?

Montreal Canadiens Salary Cap

Projected Cap Hit – $80,987,882
Projected Cap Space – $512,118
Current Cap Space – $1,414,421
Deadline Cap Space – $2,284,834
(Source – Capfriendly.com)

You can find a full explanation of the cap differences here, but as a quick breakdown. The top two are projections based on the team’s current roster at the moment. Which does not include Paul Byron nor Nick Suzuki. The bottom two represent the cap space available based on the full season value of the contracts.

It is important to remember that the Salary Cap is a collection of Daily Cap Hits (DCH). Again this was explained in the article hyperlinked above, but the three numbers in-play are:

116 – Total number of days in the NHL calendar (Jan 13 – May 8, assuming fixed date)
40 – Number of days between today (Mar 30) and the end of the season (May 8)
27 – Number of days between the Trade Deadline (Apr 12) and the end of season (May 8)

This is why the Canadiens love to use the Taxi Squad (TS). When a player is transferred to and from the TS, the cap hit added or subtracted from the Projected Cap Hit is:

Player’s AAV  /  116  x  Days Remaining in the NHL season

Quick recap, the Canadiens have $512,118 remaining on the cap with Eric Staal on the roster. This roster does not include Nick Suzuki, Paul Byron nor recently signed Cole Caufield. Not that anyone noticed the signing or anything.

This article will not include any trade scenario impacts on the cap. It will strictly look at the Canadiens cap situation under the following two (2) assumptions. Nick Suzuki will be added back to the roster Tuesday (March 30) and the Active Roster will remain constant from that point on. This would mean that Byron remains on the TS, saving the team $1.075M against the cap. (Source – Capfriendly.com)

We know that Caufield will report straight to Laval, much to the demise of many Habs fans. Strictly from a Salary Cap standpoint, the Canadiens cannot fit Caufield’s contract under the cap. Not that this is an issue yet since he will be required to quarantine for 7 days upon arriving in Montreal which may not be for another couple of days. 

With this in mind, what is the earliest that the team could fit Caufield under the cap?

Salaries provided by Capfriendly.com

Keeping our assumptions in mind, Caufield will be able to join the Canadiens on April 11th. Adding Suzuki to the roster (and keeping him there) would leave the team with $214,416.97 in Cap Space:

Projected Cap Space ($512,118) – Suzuki’s Remainig Cap Hit ($297,701.03 – March 30).

At quick glance we can see that Caufield’s Remaining Cap Hit on April 12th would be $205K and his DCH is ~7.6K, ipso facto, April 11th. Logically speaking, if Caufield arrived in Montreal tomorrow, this would put him with the Rockets on April 5th. So he would be forced to remain in Laval for six days or three games played. Anyone who has watched the way that Bergevin and John Sedgwick have managed the roster, knows that this will not be the case. The team will likely continue to utilize the Taxi Squad to save money against the cap. 

Let’s assume the same usual suspects will rotate trips to the TS (Suzuki, Kotkaniemi, Romanov and Evans). This would result in an average daily savings of $7,397.63 (the Average of their DCH). The team will need to make up $89,318.55, the difference between Caufields Remaining Cap Hit ($303,735.52 on 3/30) and the team’s Remaining Cap Space ($214,416.97).

With this in mind, along with Caufield’s DCH, how long before Caufield fits under the cap?

Project Cap Space (w/ Suzuki on roster) = $214,416.97
Average Daily Savings = ( $7,974.14 + $7,442.53 + $7,708.34 + $6,465.52 ) / 4 = $7,397.63
Cole Caufield’s Remaining Cap Hit (as of March 30) = $303,735.52
Cole Caufield DCH = $7,593.39

Days Needed to Fit Caufield = $303,725.52 – $ 214,416.97 = $89,318.55
= $89,318.55 / $14,991.02 ( $7,397.63 + $7,593.39 )
= ~ 6 (5.96) Days

Assuming that Suzuki, KK, Romanov and Evans are all on the Active Roster for game days, Caufield would fit under the cap on April 11th. This timeline can be shrunk in a couple of different ways if need be, but what’s the rush?

Lost in all of this is Paul Byron more or less being permanently left on the TS. Using the same assumptions as we did for Caufield, in theory it would take an additional 15 days to fit Byron under the cap. This seems like a good time to point out that the team only has enough space to add two of the three as they already have 21 players on the roster

I’m not normally a conspiracy theorist, but the numbers tell me that someone’s got to go. Without making a move Bergevin is quite literally against the cap now. At least he has some time to see how things play out before rushing to make any decisions. Allons-y!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Hot Sauce Family! This week on the Chtib & Zhang Podcast, the duo discuss UFC 260, Lamelo Ball’s injury, the Habs and Zhang expresses his love for the Kardashians.

Special thank you to Capfriendly.com

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