Posted on: September 13, 2011 11:40 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 11:59 pm
By: Adam Gretz
After the New York Islanders traded him to the New Jersey Devils this summer in exchange for Brian Rolston, a move that had very different salary cap intentions for the two teams, Trent Hunter had his contract bought out, making him a free agent. As of Tuesday evening the veteran forward will reportedly be a part of his third organization in the past three months, agreeing to a tryout contract with the Los Angeles Kings according to Katie Strang of ESPN New York and Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register.
Injuries have really limited Hunter in recent years, appearing in just 133 of a possible 246 games, scoring 26 goals over that stretch. For his career he's scored 99 goals, all of which have come with the Islanders after he was acquired by the team back in May of 2000 from the Anaheim Ducks for a draft pick.
The July trade that sent Hunter to the Devils helped the Islanders reach the salary cap floor due to Rolston's sizable contract, while the deal, and eventual buyout of Hunter, helped New Jersey save a few million in cap space under the cap ceiling.
If Hunter earns a spot in training camp he'll likely be a bottom-six winger/penalty killer, as the the Kings top lines would seem to be set with players like Mike Richards, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Justin Williams, Simon Gagne and Dustin Penner. Earlier in the offseason the Kings added some depth to their bottom lines when they signed Ethan Moreau to a one-year deal.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: August 1, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 2:07 pm
By: Adam Gretz
It appears as if Trent Hunter's stay with the New Jersey Devils will be a short one.
Less than a week after he was acquired in a trade with the New York Islanders in exchange for Brian Rolston, Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record reports that Hunter has been placed on waivers with the intention of being bought out if he clears. Along with Hunter, the Devils also waived long-time defenseman Colin White with the intention of buying him out as well.
By finding a taker for Rolston's contract -- a task that seemed like it would have been impossible -- and swapping him for Hunter the Devils saved a little over $3 million against the salary cap for this season. Hunter is under contract through the end of next season and carried a cap hit of $2 million, while Gulliti reports the buyout will be for $2.6 million and spread over four years (which means it will count about $666,667 per season against the cap). When combined with White's buyout ($1 million per season) the Devils will have saved an additional $3 million in cap space for this season.
When the Rolston trade was finalized last week it was pretty obvious it was a cap-related move for both teams (the Islanders needed to add salary to reach the floor, the Devils needed to cut salary) and was quickly followed by a one-year contract for restricted free agent -- and arbitration eligible -- left winger Zach Parise.
White, 33, was signed through next season and had spent his entire career with the Devils, scoring 20 goals in 743 career games while also earning two Stanley Cup rings. He averaged over 18 minutes of ice-time per game last season (third among Devils defensemen, trailing only Henrik Tallinder and Andy Greene) in 69 games.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:33 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 11:26 pm
By: Adam Gretz
It didn't matter how many of their own players they re-signed, at some point the New York Islanders were going to have to bring in a player from outside the organization in an effort to reach the salary cap floor. And that's exactly what they did on Thursday when it was announced that they had acquired Brian Rolston from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for forward Trent Hunter, a swap that gets the Islanders $3 million closer to the $48.3 million floor.
Following the trade the Islanders now have to spend at least $5.9 million and still have a number of restricted free agents to sign, including Blake Comeau and Josh Bailey. Rolston also becomes the highest paid player on the team.
Rolston, 38, has one year remaining on a contract that pays him an average salary of just over $5 million per season. In 65 games this past season he scored 14 goals to go with 20 assists, while he hasn't recorded more than 37 points in a single season since signing a four-year, $20 million deal with the Devils prior to the 2008-09 season. It was a contract that had become somewhat of an albatross for the Devils, and finding a taker for it helps clear additional cap space to finally reach a deal with restricted free agent Zach Parise.
Hunter has two years remaining on his contract and carries a cap hit of $2 million per season. He's appeared in just 133 games over the past three seasons, scoring 26 goals over that period, including one goal in just 17 games last season.
In the end, the focal point of this deal for both clubs is money. The Devils needed to shed some salary, the Islanders needed to take on some, and with a picked over crop of free agents, a trade like this seemed like it was inevitable at some point.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: July 11, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 3:54 pm
By Adam Gretz
With the increase to the NHL's salary cap this offseason (all the way up to $64.3 million), there was also an increase in the salary floor, which is now up to $48.3 million, a number that is higher than the actual cap was during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. As of Monday, there were still seven teams that needed to reach the floor, according to CapGeek, the best salary cap resource anywhere on the Internet.
Here are the seven teams, the amount of money they need to spend to reach the floor (via CapGeek), and the number of spots they have remaining to fill out a 23-man roster:
The problem for some of these teams will be spending the necessary money on players that can actually make a positive impact, or an impact that will equal the financial commitment. What started as a weak free agent class has already been picked over, and whatever meat is remaining on the bones consists of ... well, let's just say less-than-attractive options.
The real winners in this are the second-, third- and fourth-tier free agents -- as well as the restricted free agents -- that could snag a larger salary than they normally would because these clubs have to spend a predetermined amount of money. Or the team that has an albatross contract it desperately wants to rid itself of (kind of like how the Chicago Blackhawks managed to find a taker -- the Florida Panthers -- in Brian Campbell's contract).
Moving past the Islanders, the Predators still have the most money to spend but also have the biggest restricted free agent remaining of the aforementioned clubs in defenseman Shea Weber. He's scheduled for an arbitration hearing in early August and will almost surely take up a large chunk of the remaining $7 million the Nashville front office is required to spend.
The Predators had a restricted free agency issue centered on the timing of their qualifying offers and needed to work out deals with Cal O'Reilly, Matt Halischuk, Chris Mueller, Nick Spaling and leading goal-scorer Sergei Kostitsyn. They managed to work out contracts with all of them last week to avoid any further complications, including the possibility the players could be granted unrestricted free agency. Those five contracts also helped narrow the gap to the salary floor.
Carolina is less than a $1 million away from reaching the floor with two spots to fill, which should be done with ease. Pretty much any two additions, even if they're minor league roster-filler, will jump the Hurricanes over the threshold, and the team still has to work out a deal with restricted free agent Brandon Sutter, who scored 14 goals a year ago.
The Jets should also have little trouble reaching the minimum as they still have restricted free agents Blake Wheeler, Zach Bogosian and Ben Maxwell. The Coyotes and Avalanche have restricted free agents of their own to sign, while the Senators have to look outside the organization for its remaining $1.2 million.