Projecting Monahan and Gaudreau’s Next Cap Hits

With the summer signing’s piling up and the Canadian dollar stagnating, a lot of eyes in Calgary are looking past next season to the summer of 2016, when Mark Giordano, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau will all need new contracts. Calgary has enough cap space to work with this year, but things get a lot more complicated next year thanks to some pretty big raises on the horizon.

We’ll save the Captain for another discussion. For now, let’s focus on what the kids may demand on their next deals. 

Comparables

Monahan and Gaudreau have some pretty sparkling results to start their careers, though the obvious caveat is we don’t know how they are going to perform next year. A big step back points wise will may give Calgary a bit of ammunition at the negotiation table, but, for now, let’s assume they are at least 50+ point players and team leaders in points again. 

Anyways, here’s a collection of comparable contracts I found through NHLNumbers and Hockey Reference.

Player G A PTS AGE 2nd contract % of cap
Jeff Skinner 31 32 63 18 5.75 8.94%
Ryan Johansen 33 30 63 21 4.00 5.80%
Taylor Hall 27 26 53 19 6.00 8.70%
Jordan Eberle 34 42 76 21 6.00 8.70%
Anze Kopitar 32 45 77 20 6.80 11.45%
Gabriel Landeskog 26 39 65 22 5.57 7.80%
Tyler Seguin 29 38 67 20 5.75 8.33%
Matt Duchene 27 40 67 20 6.00 8.40%
Patrick Kane 25 45 70 20 6.30 9.80%
John Tavares 29 38 67 20 5.50 8.55%
Jonathan Toews 25 43 68 21 6.30 9.80%
Brandon Saad 23 29 52 22 6.00 8.39%
Evander Kane 30 27 57 20 5.25 7.48%
Ryan O’Reilly 28 36 64 22 5.00 7.12%
             
Average 28.50 36.43 64.93 20.43 5.73  
             
Sean Monahan 31 31 62 20 6.375 8.50%
Johnny Gaudreau 24 40 64 21 6.375 8.50%

The table shows each player’s relevant season before their second contract, as well as their age during that year and the cap hit for their second deal. I have also added in a column called “percentage of cap”, which shows just how much each player’s second deal cost against that season’s cap ceiling. 

Finally, I added averages for all the comparable players and then some projections for Monahan and Gaudreau based on the available information.

Discussion

The primary outlier in the group is Ryan Johanesen. After a contentious negotiation, he settled for a two year bridge contract at $4M per year. The only other odd case is Ryan O’Reilly, who saw a big raise thanks to the Flames offer sheet. There’s a moderate chance the Avs would have held out for something lower than $5M per year had the Flames not intervened. 

Nevertheless, the price range for these kinds of players is pretty tight: north of $5M and south of $7M. In fact, eight of the 14 players in this comparable sample (57%) falls between 5.75 and 6.5M and almost all of them signed long term deals. 

In terms of percentage of cap ceiling, nine of the 14 (64%) accounted  or 8% or more of their club’s potential cap budget the year their deal was signed. 

At the bottom of the table  you can see my projections for Gaudreau and Monahan based on the comparables listed. Again, we’re reading tea leaves a bit here because we don’t know how either guy is going to perform next year, but I’m comfortable with a best guess of around $6.4M for each, which would be about 8.5% of the Flames cap budget (assuming a cap of about $75 in 2016-17). 

Conclusion

Unless the Flames try to pull a Columbus and push one or both kids to a shorter, cheaper bridge deal (unlikely), it wouldn’t surprise me to see their cap hits settle in the $6.3-6.5M range per season. That puts Gaudreau and Monahan right in the same territory as Taylor Hall (8.7% cap), Jordan Eberle (8.7% cap), Tyler Seguin (8.3% cap), Brandon Saad (8.3%) and Matt Duchene (8.4% cap). 

At about $13M combined, Monahan and Gaudreau could suddenly account for almost 1/5th of Calgary’s cap commitment starting in 2016. Aside from Giordano (maybe?) and Hamilton, the team may be adding another big ticket in Sam Bennett in 2017, owing to the fact his ELC was triggered in the playoffs last season.  

Having a lot of good, young players to pay is the best possible problem to have in the NHL…but it’s still a problem. Brad Treliving and company have a year to get their budgetary house in order in order. Here’s hoping they start sooner rather than later. As Boston has demonstrated recently, poor cap management can force an organization to bleed talent. 

  • The Flames may be able to sign Gaudreau to a cheaper, bridge contract. He has no arb rights and can’t be inked to an offer sheet thanks to an obscure rule in the CBA regarding players who didn’t play 10 games in the first year of their ELC’s.

    That said, any reprieve they get from a bridge deal will likely be short lived. In fact, it may result in an even bigger cap hit once it expires. See: PK Subban.

    • SmellOfVictory

      If JG even stays stagnant points-wise compared to what he did in his rookie season, the best course of action is probably just long term like Monahan. Subban being a good comparable, bridge contracts for elite offensive players are generally a terrible idea.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Treliving managed to get Brodie to take a smaller bridge deal and then still inked him to a reasonable contract.

    Here’s to hoping he can pull that off again with at least one of the two.

    As an aside, I was trying to think of ways to fit all our forwards into the lineup come the start of the season. Pittsburgh is running low on cap space, but needs capable bodies to fill out their roster at a low price.

    Could we do a quality for quantity swap with them? For example a 2nd line left winger seems to be something the Flames could use. How about Perron for Raymond (33 % salary retained), Bollig, and one of any of Jooris, Byron, Colborne or Shore (preference Colborne)?

    We lose 3 roster players and gain 1 (net loss of two), but get a solid 2nd liner to play with Bennett & either Hudler or Frolik.

    Pittsburgh fills out their roster with solid NHLers all on the right side of 30, one with some upside at low contract values. They currently have only 9 forwards signed and are not waiting on any RFA’s. Rutherford seems to have lost his mind years ago… might as well try?

    • Parallex

      Hmmm, I think you might get Rutherford to agree to something like that… I doubt he would take Bollig (Not sure Rutherford is much of the type that insists on facepunchers) but if you put Colborne and Jooris in the deal I think you might get the yes.

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        I was thinking the same. For the deal to actually get done it would probably be Raymond (33% retained) plus two of Colborne, Jooris, Shore or Byron. Bollig was wishful thinking.

        Either way, I think it would be a good deal for the Flames. Team would start looking pretty solid for next year.

    • RealMcHockeyReturns

      I proposed this idea on Sunday thread and got trashed but YES it makes sense, we may have to take another player too…I said Brandon Sutter plus Pwrron to help cap issues more for Pens (and also Ramo going to Pitt), now someone else is doing math like me!

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        Ya, the only problem I see with your proposal is that we are already deep at center and I doubt Pittsburgh wants to use up 3.8 of their cap on a goalie, especially a backup.

        Also that is two of their top secondary forwards leaving the team.

        But I think we can agree on the concept.

    • The GREAT Walter White

      Didn’t Pit give up their 16th overall pick for Perron?
      (And then the Oilers gave 16th plus up for an AHL player….?!)

      They will want something good back for him.
      Probably more than spare parts.

      WW

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        Maybe… but Rutherford traded Ben Lovejoy for Simon Depres. And he has painted himself into a bit of a corner with the Kessel trade. And like you say, look what the Oil traded that pick for. Any competent GM I might agree with you. But I’m not sure Rutherford is that.

    • The GREAT Walter White

      Thanks for flushing out an idea.(Usually people just say we have to make a trade but nothing tangible) Might Sutter be a better fit?

      The one thing I question is our need to retain salary as we don’t have much cap space ourselves. Also wee may need to sweeten the pot a bit and add either a Granlund or a 2nd player from that list.

      This also might be the building blocks of a bigger type of trade.

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        Ya, as per my comment #8, I also think it will take two of those forwards to get it done. The only issue with Sutter is we are already deep at center ice.

        • The GREAT Walter White

          If we have to give up 2 of those young guys I wouldn’t want to eat any salary cap. Don’t think you can sneak Bollig in there. Saw some media report linking Flames into discussions for Kunitz. I can see Pitt moving him & wanting to keep Perron after giving up their 1st for him. Now with Kunitz I can see unloading Raymond & having to add maybe one of our young guys, possibly Byron. Kunitz maybe older but 2 years at 3.85mill & good possession numbers could be of interest. Kunitz would probably have more TDL value than Raymond if it doesn’t work out.

          Just don’t see a proper deal with Pitt, they are too cap strapped & have to send $$ back. I would rather give up Raymond & sacrifice a young player & maybe a 3rd but not take any $$$ back. Players like Raymond, Bollig,Smid,Engellend all have 2 years left. We kinda have to ride this out next year with these guys & be more patient who we see in the lineup come October. Next summer, all these guys are buyout candidates with only 1 year left if we need to sign guys like Russell & Hurdler(who by the way no one is mentioning are also contracts coming due in addition to Gio, Monahan & Gaudreau). Injuries are going to happen, so the Arnold’s, Granlund’s, Shore’s, are all going to get their chances to shine in the big leagues next year.

          • RealMcHockeyReturns

            Disagree, Flames need to lose Forwards and keep cap hits around the same while Pitt needs Forwards at low cap hits to fill out their roster, I see Byron Colborne, Jooris, Granlund possibly going there and I hope Perron & Sutter coming to Calgary or maybe Kunitz and Sutter. EDIT NOT SUTTER GONE TO VANCOUVER

          • RealMcHockeyReturns

            Well actually here’s the update: Vancouver picked up Sutter for Bonino and Clendenimg to save $ in short term and fill a F and D position. And as I predicted on another article comment, Pitt signed Eric Fehr so have $2.8M in cap space for 3 forwards. So now they will re-sign Lapierre at discount like $800K and add 2 young to middle-20s forwards at about $800 to $900K each, perhaps a Jack Skille, James Sheppard, Patrick Dwyer, or similar.

  • Parallex

    Really starting to question whether it was worth it or not to burn that first year off of Bennett’s deal. I trust Treliving to sort this all out and I bought into the reasons for playing him at the time, but it sure would be nice to have that extra year now.

    Slowly starting to move into the trade Gio camp. I don’t want to per se, but it’s not hard to picture a few scenarios where moving him could end up working out really well god the Flames.

    • RealMcHockeyReturns

      100% agree, excellent point. The $$$ and term both players are extended at will really depend on this upcoming season and whether each player maintains last season’s level of play or dips back a bit.

      It’s difficult to comment on this until then, Brad is a smart negotiator tho and I would think it will be hard for either player to exceed Dougie H’s contract value by a significant margin. I would guess they both land around $6M unless BT can manage to get them into shorter term bridge deals, of which I agree Gaudreau would be the more likely candidate.

      Will be interesting, a good problem to have for sure

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    If we want to sign Gio Russell, Mony, Gaudreau and Hudler to their new contracts then by next year they have to:

    1.Move Raymond 3.1M ( trade, waivers or even buyout )

    2. Move Smid 3.5M ( trade , waivers , buyout, or he maybe on IR for the rest of his contract )

    3. Trade Wideman 5.25M

    Saving 11.75M which is enough to signing the players above without losing much for the future.

    I did the Math with at Gio 7.8M, Hudler 5.5M , Russell 4.1M , Mony 6.2M Gaudreau 6.0M and it came out to around 74 M total with one or two minor adjustments .

    • ChinookArchYYC

      I agree with most of what you said, but if the Flames have to pay Russle $4M+, I don’t want him. I’d also loveto see Wideman traded, but with his NMC it’s a tall order.

      • ChinookArchYYC

        Not if he knows he’ll be playing #5 bottom pairing minutes to start the season & 2nd power play time. He is still young enough to want to get 2nd pairing minutes & #1 PP for his next contract.

      • ChinookArchYYC

        I am okay with what you are saying so sign Russell for 3.2M to 3.5M even better with more wiggle room.

        If we can not trade Wideman then move D.Eng 2.9M and Bollig 1.25M and the 500 to 700k just saved with Russell on my math we are close again (400k) by keeping Wideman. When his contract is done there will be room to resign Bennett too.

        PS : Notice the players I included will all be gone at the end of next year anyway, Future will look even better.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Honestly, I look at Toews, Kane, Kopitar making 10.5M in the upcoming future and I think to myself “lock these kids up long term, buy UFA years, just make it so resigning them doesn’t have to come for a long, long time.

    8 years x 2
    6.75M x 2

    Get it done. You might save a million or two in total cap hit now signing them to cheaper deals, but you probably lose 4, 5, 6 million in cap hit in the future on their third contracts.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    These assumptions, of course, are based on the upcoming season seeing a continuation and improvement in the development of these two youngsters.

    Predicated on each being in the 75 point range, then the figures quoted ($6MM a season) are likely not far off what might be required. That said, what are we expecting the salary cap to be for future years? And will, given the current economic state, the Flames (and other Canadian cities for that matter) continue to be a cap team?

    Not that I am fueling the cap concerns stated in this article, indeed, I hope that Monahan and Gaudreau have fantastic seasons and earn consideration for contracts of that magnitude. The Flames find themselves with a well stocked system, and one that might find itself put to the test sooner rather than later should we see any of the variables (salary cap erosion, budget limitations, performance disappointment) go negative.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Nuge got $6million after a 4 goal season and just managed his first 20 goal season in year 4. Money just scored 30 in year 2. I hope they don’t have the same agent.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    It’s the reason why I am saying no ,ore UFA’s, including Franson. Wideman needs to go, 5.25 mill for a #4 or 5 dman is insanity. Russell in a decent year this year will probably get between 3.5-4.0 if he establishes himself as a bonafide #4 dman. We don’t need to look at Engellends contract until next summer & hopefully one of the newbe’s can slide right in.

    Jones gone. 4.0 mill Need to get Raymond over to Toronto or Arizona or package him up with one of our young guys that has been suggested. Jersey may be in need of some forwards too.

    Ortio isn’t going to sign a deal over a mill next year, so with him & one of Ramo or Hiller should save us at least 2.5 to 3.0 mill in net.

    Give both Johnny & Monahan a Larson type deal for 6-7 years, except for more money but try to get the cap hit down to around Hamilton’s. Maybe 4.5/5.0/5.5/6.5/7.0/7.0 (5.916 cap hits) Both should get the same, both are the future of this hockey team.

    Like Wolf, I have felt Gio is a must to resign but not higher than 7.0 per.If he won’t come down to a team friendly cap hit, I think we have no choice but to sell him & go shopping for a very good top 3-4 dman.

  • Byron Bader

    How early are they able to lock up the long-term deals? Now? My fear (a sort of good fear) is that since about the half-way point of last season Gaudreau has been scoring at a clip of about 0.9 PPG. I’m fully expecting him to keep that up if not get even better. Waiting too long to sign him could be the difference of 500K-1.5M a season. He puts up 80 points in his second year and all of a sudden he costs in the Tarasenko realm.

    • Byron Bader

      Like Brodie, I think they can ink an extension now (after July1)
      Problem is, if I was the GM, I would really like to see Gaudreau & to a way less extent Monahan repeat last years achievements or come close before opening up the vault for their 2nd contracts. Either way, the vault needs to open wide & Brinks truck is going to need to deliver these young mens next contracts.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    Speaking of Sutter, looks like the Canucks made another awful trade. Sutter isn’t worth Nick Bonino straight up, but Benning moved Bonino, a second rounder, and Clendening for Sutter and a third.

  • Greg

    Good analysis Kent… I think the 8.5% target is about right. I’m not sure the cap will be at 75M next year though. This will be the first full season with a depressed Canadian dollar in a long time and that could see the cap come down. I really hope that’s being factored into any current contract talks with Gio et al or next offseason will be even worse of a cap crunch.