I was just scanning the John Buccigross mailbag on espn.com [Ed. note: Artistry does have a real job; he is just hyper-productive during the hours he actually focuses on it], and one particular passage caught my eye. In addressing the debacle that is the New Jersey Devils' season to date, Buccigross speculates on the future of one of New Jersey's impending restricted free agents: "Let's face it, at his age, [Zach] Parise could sign a long-term, cap-friendly deal with just about any team he wanted to -- Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Detroit, Los Angeles, Toronto or a number of other teams." Hmmm. Yes. Yes, he could.
How would that work? According to capgeek.com, the Penguins have $51.3 million committed to 13 players next season. If you assume Eric Tangradi makes the team out of camp next fall - a safe bet - we have roughly $52 million committed to 14 players, including our top 6 defenseman and 2 goalies. Last season the salary cap was $56.8 million. The current salary cap is $59.3 million. For the sake of argument, let's say it goes up next season to $61.8 million. That would leave the Penguins with about $10 million dollars to pay about 8 NHL salaries. Right now the team has 8 guys on its NHL roster (Rupp, Godard, Kennedy, Asham, Adams, Comrie, Letestu, and Engelland) making a combined $5.05 million. If Ray Shero can stick with this cap framework, he'll have around $4.5 million per season he can comfortably pay to a certain 40-goal scorer.
Zach, how does 6 years for $27 million and a permanent spot on Sidney Crosby's line sound? Is that something you might be interested in?