When Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman agreed to be a third party in the three-team trade that moved defenseman David Savard from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Tampa Bay Lightning it was not a difficult decision.
The Red Wings picked up a fourth-round pick because they took about a $1 million of Savard’s salary to help the Lightning fit it under the salary cap. Because it was only a partial season salary cap hit, there was no impact on Detroit’s competitiveness.
Details of the deal
The trade broke down like this
Columbus received 2021 first-round pick (from Tampa Bay), 2022 third-round pick (from Tampa Bay)
Detroit received 2021 fourth-round pick (from Tampa Bay)
Tampa Bay received David Savard (from Columbus), Brian Lashoff (from Detroit)
Here is how the three teams got to that point:
Columbus initially traded Savard to the Red Wings for Brian Lashoff and retained 50% of Savard’s remaining salary.
The Red Wings then sent Savard to Tampa Bay for a fourth-round pick and retained 50 % of his remaining salary from the original move with Columbus.
Tampa Bay then sent the two draft picks to Columbus for Lashoff.
All of that maneuvering means Tampa Bay received Savard at roughly 25% of his salary
For Detroit, It was like buying a fourth round pick.
Deal could be model for bigger deals
Yzerman could be asked to be the third party in a bigger three-team swap this summer that will be a much bigger decision.
Teams with some undesirable contracts will ask the expansion Seattle Kraken to take their contract. Seattle will have plenty of cap space, and could end up needing some expensive salary cap hits to reach the salary cap floor.
Think about the Edmonton Oilers trying to persuade Seattle to take James Neal’s final two seasons at $5.75 million per season or Tampa Bay trying to get Seattle to take Tyler Johnson’s four remaining seasons at $5 million. How about the Nashville Predators asking Seattle to take the final four years of Ryan Johansen’s $8 million deal.
Could Nashville shed Johansen’s salary?
Seattle probably wouldn’t want Johansen’s $8 million, but what if the Predators retained $1 million in salary and the Red Wings retained $2 million. (Technically, Nashville would trade Johansen to Detroit and the Red Wings would move him to Seattle) You see where we are going here.
Yzerman has cap space, and has expressed a willingness to take a bad contract. His team won’t be competitive for at least two more seasons so time is on his side. But four years is probably longer than Yzerman wants to go.
It might give him pause. It will depend on what the reward would be for his participation. Obviously, he’s not going to make that kind of deal for a fourth rounder. He would be looking for a notable young player, multiple draft picks or a first round deal.
Taking Tyler Johnson’s contract would also be easier if the Red Wings took $1.5 million of the salary. The Neal deal would be easier to accomplish..
Creativity is crucial in moving salary. And it helps to have cap space you don’t need right now.
Don’t expect a bountiful draft harvest after Round 3
When it comes to the NHL draft, picks outside the first three rounds haven’t helped the Red Wings all that much over the past couple of decades.
Since the 2000 draft, the Red Wings have only had seven draft choices outside the third round play 200 or more games in the NHL. The later-round success stories:
2012: Forward Andreas Athanasiou (fourth round, No. 110): has played 350 games for the Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings.
2010: Goalie Petr Mrazak (fifth round, No. 141) has played 275 games for the Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes.
2009: Defenseman Nick Jensen (fifth round, No. 150) has played 331 games for the Red Wings and Washington Capitals.
2008: Left wing Gustav Nyquist (fourth round, No. 121) has played 570 games for the Red Wings, San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets.
2005: Left wing Darren Helm (fifth round, No. 132) has played 744 games for the Red Wings
2001: Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (ninth round, No. 291) played 680 games for the Red Wings
From around the Hockey Now Network
Pittsburgh: Dan Kingerski writes the “winning feeling is gone from the fan base” in Pittsburgh
Boston: Joe Haggerty offers that the Bruins could be looking to move power forward Peter Chelarik after his strong showing for Slovakia at the World Championships.
Denver: With the Colorado Avalanche one loss away from elimination, Adrian Dater writes the Avs still have a chance to prove that they are not another “pretty, but not gritty” team.
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