A Western Conference cap view
Wings, Canucks face trade deadline cap crunch
While the titans of the Western Conference continue to go toe-to-toe for the top spot, both are limited by salary cap constraints and will be hard-pressed to add a rental player of any significance by the Feb. 28 trade deadline.
The Red Wings showed how tight their cap situation is last week when they signed goaltender Evgeni Nabokov to a one-year, $570,000 deal. Although a bulkier contract might have helped the former San Jose Sharks starter clear waivers, the Red Wings didn't have the flexibility to offer anything more and he was claimed by the Islanders.
The Canucks, meanwhile, have relied heavily on the expertise of assistant general manager Laurence Gilman to navigate through a nearly impossible cap situation, in part because of an injury to Sami Salo. With continued uncertainty around Salo's return date, the Canucks not only won't be able to add cap dollars, they might be forced to ship a player out of town.
Just as with our look at the salary cap haves and have-nots in the Eastern Conference last week, dollar estimates listed are the annualized cap hit a team potentially could add if it waited until the deadline to make a move. For example, teams would need at least $7.8 million in cap space, as listed below, to add Brad Richards as a rental player.
Please note that injuries and minor league call-ups can cause significant changes in these estimates in the weeks leading up to the deadline.
Limited cap space
Vancouver Canucks (no space):
There are scenarios involving long-term injured reserve (LTIR) that could buy the Canucks a modest amount of space, but those seem unlikely at this stage.
For the full take here on Western Conference teams' cap flexiblity, you need to be an Insider.
NHL Insider Content
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
Prospectus: Rating B's, Canucks' depth
CapGeek: Bs, Canucks provide cap blueprints Conn Smythe Watch: Thomas takes the lead
Greenberg: Projecting Tyler Seguin
Greenberg: Lapierre is Canucks' MVP
Prospectus: Special teams aren't that key
Conn Smythe Watch: Kesler's charge
Joyce: Sharks stars lack 'it'
Greenberg: Best Gs vs. the best shots
Conn Smythe Watch: Thomas rises
Button: Philly's crisis of crease confidence
Greenberg: Can blocks carry Bolts to Cup?
Prospectus: Ranking Caps' playoff failure
Prospectus: Top playoff rooks since 1998
Conn Smythe Watch: Roloson No. 1
Prospectus: Datsyuk remains underrated
Conn Smythe Watch: Neuvirth shines
Greenberg: Best D pairs vs. Alex Ovechkin
Prospectus: Thomas doesn't give B's big edge
Prospectus: Playoff team depth rankings
Cooper: Preds try to ditch Rd. 1 jinx
Prospectus: Team-by-team odds to win the Cup
Prospectus: Ranking the first-round netminders
Prospectus: These Sharks built to last
Prospectus: Puck luck could pluck Ducks
Cooper: Why playoff hockey is so different
Team Scouting Reports
How to beat the Boston Bruins
How to beat the Philadelphia Flyers
How to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins
How to beat the Washington Capitals
How to beat the Anaheim Ducks
How to beat the Detroit Red Wings
How to beat the San Jose Sharks
How to beat the Vancouver Canucks
May 11: Why Wings may soon fall off
April 28: Strome surges in Mock Draft 2.0
April 13: Nashville tries to overcome history
April 11: D. Sedin tops final player rankings
April 7: Coaches feeling the hot seat
April 6: How Caps' draft strategy has worked
March 30: Can Flyers win Cup with Bobrovsky?
March 9: Re-ranking Top 50 draft prospects
Feb. 28: Traded prospect evals
Feb. 28: Rating trades in the West
Feb. 28: Rating trades in the East
Feb. 17: Worst. Trades. Ever.
Feb. 17: NHL Mock Draft 1.0
NHL Rumor Central
Get news and rumblings before anyone
NHL Experts Blog
Daily ice shavings of insight
NHL Draft Blog
A look towards June 2011