Marc Savard (Steve Babineau/Getty Images)
Marc Savard hasn’t played in nearly four years, but it appears the cash-strapped Boston Bruins may be looking at a way to ship him to a team in need of reaching the salary cap floor. Savard, 37, takes up a space on the Bruins long-term injured reserve list. In Toronto, there’s speculation Phil Kessel’s poor second half has hurt his trade value.
Post-concussion symptoms have all but ended the playing career of Boston Bruins center Marc Savard. He hasn't played since suffering a concussion (his second in 10 months) in January 2011. Savard, 37, hasn't officially retired and his $4.007-million cap hit through 2016-16 remains on the Bruins' books.
Since 2011-12, the Bruins regularly placed Savard on long-term injured reserve, providing them a measure of relief when pressed for salary-cap space. According to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, the Bruins could try trading Savard's contract to a club with a lower payroll.
Friedman claims this move would free up valuable cap space for re-signings and other additions by the Bruins. It could also help a rival team reach the salary-cap floor for 2015-16.
Such a move makes sense in theory, but finding a club in need of help reaching the cap floor could be easier said than done. The declining value of the Canadian dollar has already forced the NHL to reset its cap-ceiling projections for next season from $73 million to $71.5 million, meaning the cap floor won't increase much above its current level of $51 million.
Clubs like the Arizona Coyotes, Nashville Predators, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs have salary-cap payrolls for next season below the current cap floor of $51 million. Assuming the floor rises to $53 million, all but the Coyotes could reach it simply by re-signing or replacing their key free agents.
Even then, there's no certainty the Coyotes will take on Savard's contract just to reach the cap floor. It depends upon how successful they are in re-signing key players and acquiring talent this summer via trades and free agency.
KESSEL'S VALUE HURT BY BAD SECOND HALF?
Among the lowlights of this miserable season for the Toronto Maple Leafs is the play of star right wing Phil Kessel. Since joining the Leafs in 2009, the 27-year-old Kessel was a perennial 30-goal scorer in every season except the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign. Barring a dramatic surge in his scoring over the Leafs remaining games, Kessel will miss the 30-goal mark this season.
The decline in Kessel's production, particularly in the second half of the season, prompted the Toronto Star's Kevin McGran to speculate it could adversely affect the winger's trade value this summer. McGran feels Kessel seemingly disinterested attitude hurt his reputations, suggesting he might need to play on a different club with stronger character.
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons believes Kessel can be a contributor on a Stanley Cup team, albeit in a “Marian Gaborik-like role” on an established winner.
Kessel's offensive talent could still attract interest from a Cup contender seeking scoring depth. The problem, however, is the seven years at $8-million per season remaining on his contract. Not many Cup contenders can afford to take on that deal without either shedding salary or the Leafs agreeing to pick up part of it.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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