Thread: Larry Brooks: Rangers Slap Shots column notes
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06-20-2010, 10:53 AM
Change is good.
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It's simple:

Brashear is a 35+ player, which means that if we keep, his $1.4MM in salary counts against the cap no matter what. Doesn't matter if we play him, demote him, buy him out or he retires - we still take a $1.4MM cap hit for the season.

There are exactly two ways to avoid this problem: 1) Brashear does something to void his contract or 2) the Rangers trade him. Obviously, solution 1 is completely outside the Rangers control and Brashear, as a declining bruiser not likely to get another contract, is hardly likely to cooperate (and if collusion were proved, it wouln't matter anyway). So that leaves trading him and making him someone else's problem.

Brooks's solution therefore makes a lot of sense. There are a bunch of small budget teams in the league who a) care a lot more about real money costs than cap numbers and b) have internal caps well below the league cap. So you find one with a player who is fairly crapulent, who has a real cost significantly higher than the $1.4MM owed to Brashear, who has one year left on his contract - and, importantly, who is not a 35+ player. Witt from the Isles is a good example.

So, you trade Brashear for Witt (or someone similar). The Rangers take on Witt's contract, which has a cap hit of $2.5MM and a real money cost of $2.5MM. They demote him to the AHL, thus maintaining the real cost, but eliminating the cap hit entirely. (To be clear, the Rangers do not buy out anyone.) Meanwhile the Isles take on Brashear's contract. They then buy him out, thus bringing the real cost down to $867K (and only $433K per year over two years), but maintaining the cap hit of $1.4MM.

So, here are the net effects to both teams:

-Rangers: cap hit reduced by $1.4MM; payroll increased by $1.1MM (Witt's $2.5MM minus Brashear's $1.4MM).

-Isles: cap hit increased by $1.4MM (since they had demoted Witt to the minors); payroll decreased by $1.633M (Witt's $2.5MM minus Brashear's buyout number of $867K).

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