Reader’s Request: A Detailed Exercise in Moving Andrew MacDonald and Others

Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)

Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)

Here at the end of July, we find ourselves beginning the summer dog days. It’s a bit too early to guess who might get a spot of out of training camp or what prospects look more legitimate than their draft status would indicate. That said, it’s the perfect time to let our imaginations run wild. Of course the best source of an imagination running wild is twitter. And on twitter, I was asked this question by a reader and friend of the blog.

I can roll with this. Let’s establish the value of each player first, then work backwards to find a partner.

Via Own the Puck

Via Own the Puck

Up first: Luke Schenn who’s HERO chart indicates he’s a 2nd pair UFA defender. Cap hit is 3.6M expiring in 2016 with UFA status. As my first rule of making a trade is never lose a player without being able to replace the asset, Radko Gudas would slot into the spot vacated by Luke Schenn.

Via Own the Puck

Via Own the Puck

Brayden Schenn comes in as a third line forward, signed to a 2.5M Cap Hit through 2016 with RFA expiry status. While he’s a third line player at 5v5, his powerplay scoring, which brings him to second line values does mean he serves a valuable powerplay purpose as well.

Andrew MacDonald has been covered twice before, he’s a replacement level talent with a god-awful contract, but also that the only way you’re moving him is to throw him in with another asset. For the sake of anyone’s sanity, let’s just leave this link to Cap Friendly instead of printing the contract terms.

Scott Laughton is one of the Flyers upper tier forward prospects who as mentioned Monday, will be the offset to Andrew MacDonald.

So, the final tally in the trade is:

1 Middle Six Forward prospect on an ELC
1 Albatross Contract Defender
1 Second Pair defender, who is very good penalty killing
1 Middle Six Forward, who is very good at the powerplay

Total Cap Hit: 11.1M in one-way contracts and an 863K ELC.

So, in order to move 12M in salary, you need a team willing and able to take on money AND has roster spots open.

Enter the Winnipeg Jets who currently have 12.1M in cap ceiling space and a roster that’s got quite a few players on the wrong side of age 25.

Effectively in this deal, taking MacDonald is the reward for Laughton and probably an additional second round pick. For these three assets, the expected return would likely be a 7th round pick. This is because you’ve paid off the team to take on a known albatross.

The Schenn Brothers would be required to make up the bulk of the return then. This is where the Flyers have to hope for some major luck. Dustin Byfuglien is a pending UFA with a modified NTC. Assuming he can’t be brought back, are the Schenns enough to get Byfuglien back? Probably not; as the Jets have 9 defenders signed to 1-way contracts plus Jacob Trouba.

But, like the Flyers, the Jets are loaded with some low pair defenders. The Flyers could offer to take some extra contracts back to help the Jets free up roster spots.

Let’s start with Adam Pardy.

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Via Own the Puck

Looking at his HERO Chart, it’s hard to understand why the Jets refuse to use Pardy who’s developed solid shot suppression skills. Given the Flyers issues with suppressing shots, Pardy would be an instant upgrade, especially if paired with the offensively minded Michael Del Zotto.

Assuming Byfuglien wants out, he would be the center piece of the return.

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Via Own the Puck

Byfuglien would instantly slot in on the top pair with Mark Streit, allowing Medvedev-Gudas-Manning to the be the 5-6-7, or opening up the Flyers to pawn off Gudas for a mid to late round pick just to drop the contract.

The Flyers could then take on the contract of Chris Thorburn solely to bury him in the pressbox. Meaning the final return is:

1 Top Pair Defender on an expiring deal
1 Second Pair Defender on an expiring deal
1 Less terrible contracted 13th Forward with term

Total Cap Hit taken back: 7.4M

The Jets would take on short term money, but actually get younger, the Flyers would free up money and gain long term flexibility.

Also, the freed up money in Philly could be used to bury RJ Umberger in the AHL or retain salary on a Vinny Lecavalier trade.

Now, I was going to end this column here, but the Vancouver Canucks had to go out and make a trade that screams “we want grit” and the fact is, the the Flyers package comes with grit. So, let’s again talk about what’s going out, grit-style.

Brayden “I finally won a fight against a New Jersey Devil” Schenn.
Luke “Hitting Machine” Schenn.
Andrew “Blocks Shots Instead of Holding the Line” MacDonald.
Scott “Compared to Mike Richards by Pierre” Laughton

This seems like a moment to be thankful for despite the Canucks having only 1.3M left in cap space.

Let’s assume that (Former Flyer) Dan Hamhuis doesn’t fit into the long term plans in Vancouver with the core getting a bit older.

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Via Own the Puck

Hamhuis carries a 4.5M cap hit through 2016. He’s a top pair defender and with Mark Streit, would form a respectable enough top pair.

Now comes the hard part: finding a way to make the money work.

Jannik Hansen is one player who the Canucks might part with if he’s replaced with Brayden Schenn.

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Via Own the Puck

In terms of talent, Hansen is slightly better than Brayden Schenn at 5v5 but Schenn is younger which would give the Canucks a piece with which to transition from the Sedin based core to the next core. The Cap Hits would directly offset.

The Flyers would still need to find a way to take on some cap hit to make this work.

Luca Sbisa isn’t that good, but the Canucks seem to be convinced he’s good so offering to retain the salary difference between MacDonald and him is unlikely.

Chris Higgins is beginning to show some decline, but his cap hit isn’t enough to make this work.

If the Flyers added some extra assets, say Nick Cousins and a 2nd round pick, they might be able to pry the aging Radim Vrbata, but the Canucks would likely want a first round pick.

Vrbata is still an effective player, even at age 34.

Via Own the Puck

Via Own the Puck

Another way to work this would be to find a third team with cap space capable of absorbing a big contract in the short term.

For instance, Nashville could use Vrbata’s scoring talent, and could likely chip in some assets to make it happen. If the Flyers parted with Cousins and a third round pick, Nashville could use their own store of assets to attempt to pick up the difference in some sort of complex three-way trade.

This exercise really shows the complexity of moving bad contracts in a hard cap environment. It’s incredibly difficult to move pieces around because with money and roster size regulations, there’s just no feasible way to make all the moving parts align can be. Sure it’s possible, and I would venture MacDonald does get moved eventually, but the price to do it won’t be pleasant.

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