The NHL free agency bombs dropped yesterday with the two marquee free agents signing new deals and neither of them were with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The first move is confirmed - Taylor Hall has signed a one year, $8 million deal with the Buffalo Sabres. Yes, those Buffalo Sabres.
Many people expected Hall to sign a one or two year deal at a low cost with a contending team - Tampa Bay, Toronto, Colorado, Boston, but he went for the money and the team that has the roster room and ice time for him to prove he’s worth a big seven or eight year deal after next season. The money may even be less than the signing value:
Remember to keep in mind. $8 mill comes down to $5.6m once you deduct the 20 per cent escrow and 10 per cent salary deferral. After this year that the deferral is gone and escrow goes down to 14-18 per cent. 1-year deal is absolutely the way to go here. https://t.co/Y2ZAM41n5o— 𝐃𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐝 𝐀𝐥𝐭𝐞𝐫 (@dalter) October 11, 2020
It seems weird for Hall to sign with the Sabres. After all, he spent his entire career on teams who could barely make the playoffs - if at all - and now he’s going to one of the few teams anyone would put money on being a lottery team next year.
But will he play the entire season there?
If there is a 2020-21 season the Buffalo Sabres may have played a very clever game (as pointed out by Katya). The Sabres could play Hall until whatever trade deadline is set up for this next season and the Sabres could trade him and his greatly reduced cap hit to a contending team stuck in a cap crunch due to the flat cap. If they retain salary you could have Taylor Hall on a $2 million cap hit. Now what would the Colorado Avalanche or the Boston Bruins pay for a cheap superstar like Hall? The Sabres could rake in the picks, prospects, or even a roster player or two.
With the potential to be a lottery team, extra picks or just about ripe prospects could be worth the pain or trading Hall away. The question though, is if this is actually the plan. Captain Jack Eichel has said the Sabres need to be competitive this upcoming season or he may start pushing for a trade out of town.
After Taylor Hall on the free agency list - or ahead of him depending on your teams needs - is Alexander Pietrangelo, the Stanley Cup winning captain of the St. Louis Blues. Or more appropriatley, former captain.
Last night nothing was 100% confirmed because of salary cap issues, but Pietrangelo is said to have an agreement in place with the Vegas Golden Knights to become his new home.
The catch is the Knights have to move a player to fit Alex into the line up. The name on most insiders lips is defender Nate Schmidt. Schmidt has five years remaining on his contract with a $5.95 million cap hit and a 10 team no trade clause. The Florida Panthers may not be on that list, because they’re the team being named at the moment, which would give the Panthers quite the logjam on D.
Who could benefit from this? How do these moves help or hurt the Toronto Maple Leafs? Answers to these questions will come soon, or not. I don’t know.
Now, the rest of the news.
Jets* fans are doing well this offseason:
The almost cup champs kept one of their almost champions:
Former Maple Leaf Kyle Clifford signed with the St. Louis Blues, for a smaller deal than he was offered in Toronto:
Well, yeah, there’s no Cody Ceci on it.
Canucks fans, also having fun.
Be bad! Then be good!
Alright! If you have the day off, enjoy the best Thanksgiving! If you’re in the US, sorry you have to wait until the weather is awful for yours.