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Rasmussen extension, deadline thoughts and Tavares case has wide impact

February 20, 2024, 7:00 PM ET [24 Comments]
Jeremy Laura
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Rasmussen got some good news. For the next 4 years he’ll be a Wing with an AAV of 3.2m (barring a trade, etc). In the group of Mantha, Svech and Rasmussen it was the latter that was not being presented as an “office favorite”. To his credit, Ras changed his game. He’s a depth center and is continuing to have impactful shifts with his rotating linemates. With only a few of Holland’s draft picks left in the system, Rasmussen has stood out as someone willing to take the role he’s given. Veleno has really stepped up this year defensively and physically. Berggren, I still don’t know why he’s not up in Detroit. L.A. and Pittsburgh fans have reached out wondering about his usage. That almost never happens.

With that extension wrapped up, eyes still go to Seider and Raymond is looking more and more like a skill player. His passing abilities seem to keep going up a notch and for a smaller player he doesn’t mind jumping into the muck. Sprong is a well liked addition for the fan base and most hope he can be retained (at least in this forum). All of these hoped for extensions bring me to the deadline. With a late cutoff, spending assets on a player with no term makes almost zero sense unless you can offload a bad contract. I still hold to the theory that it’s another near flat cap year and we’ve already seen revisions. Markets that haven’t needed promotion are being thrust into the spotlight and, well, Arizona.

The Wings aren’t built to “go for it” (opinion) so it makes more sense to hold onto high draft picks and let the group decide if they will be in the post season or not. Detroit has rattled some cages and there are teams very unhappy to see their current positioning. In the next 2 weeks the market will reset and we may see clubs make it clear they’re focusing on tear down efforts. Unless the perfect deal comes along, happy to see Detroit stick with the current roster.

Finally, we get to Tavares. This is something I would normally ignore, but the implications of a failed appeal are huge for Leaf Nation. Dubas implemented a system that seemed to level the playing field financially. Former GMs would comment that Canadian teams were often the mainstays on limited no trade clause lists. The take home pay was a big deal.

Canada has a tax break for bonuses and so a cash heavy organization like MLSE can pay a 15 million dollar bonus then the minimum salary for their top players. The player gets more in the bank, the team has a way to entice high end talent. Now, an extra 8 million dollars has been charged to Tavares. Most people who follow the cap know that the “back diving” deals are gone in one way, but very much alive in another. So, now you have the Government’s full attention as they recalculate based on actual pay vs. AAV.

What is even more strange is that Toronto is Canada’s crown jewel in terms of hockey. It’s a city that lives and breathes the game but last year something buckled. Leafs Lunch was cancelled and 1700 or so jobs were cut at TSN. Team press weren’t allowed to travel for games. So, the All Star game moves to Toronto. All of this is signaling something truly strange. If a sweeping change is made to the “loopholes” for take home pay, it will have a negative impact.

This trial is coinciding with the NHLPA legal filings against AZ and a class action suit by the jr hockey league for drafted players. We’ve seen one player suspended for violating gambling policy as a broadcaster makes it easier to bet on games by opening their own betting league. All of this is hitting at the same time, so as always, keep your eyes peeled. Matthews just signed a very lucrative deal, and if Tavares ends up paying a precedent could be implemented. Let me know your thoughts, and why are so many legal issues coming out at once? Strange days ahead.
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