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Petry and Edmundson: withheld salaries could complicate matters
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
An NHL team cannot withhold part of the salary (50% maximum) of three players it has decided to trade. Keeping 50% of the salary of a guy who earns $6 million a year and is about to become a free agent often facilitates transactions at the deadline.

On the Habs, two spots are already occupied by Joel Edmundson and Jeff Petry. Edmundson until this summer and Petry until June 2025…

There’s still room for Jake Allen, Tanner Pearson or David Savard to keep some of their salary this season.

Because we agree that Pearson and Allen are 100% under contract, they’re untradeable. Their respective values are probably negative.

The problem is that keeping salary on a third contract – say Allen or Pearson – would prevent Kent Hughes from doing so at the draft. And that’s often where big deals come together.

Knowing that Kent Hughes insists on demanding a draft pick in return for Jake Allen astounds me. Even if Hughes managed to get a fourth-round pick in return for Jake Allen (at 50% of his salary/cap hit), it would still be a bad deal, since it would block any potential salary deductions made before July 1.

Do we really want a 4th or 5th round pick?

Those who think Hughes could get more than a fourth-round pick in return for Allen (or Pearson) at 50% of their salary are dreaming in color. Last summer, Kent Hughes only managed to get third- and seventh-round picks in return for Joel Edmundson at 50% of his salary/cap hit. And he only had a one-year contract, not a year-and-a-half…

And that’s precisely my point: did the Habs do the right thing by keeping 50% of Joel Edmundson’s salary last summer, knowing that in return they only got a #3 and a #7 pick?

A third-round pick has only a 27% chance of playing more than 100 NHL games (and a very small chance of becoming an All-Star). As for a seventh-round pick, I’ll let you guess the odds…

This morning, many observers believe that Edmundson will be traded by March 8.

The Capitals are in the process of trading Joel Edmundson, in the words of Elliotte Friedman.

Edmundson ranks 19th on The 4th Period‘s Trade Watch List

And No. 36 on a similar list produced by DailyFaceoff (Frank Seravalli).

With the Capitals set to miss the playoffs, I don’t see why they’d want to retain the services of a veteran third-pair defenseman on the verge of complete autonomy.

What is (the fragile) Edmundson worth right now? A third-round pick? Fourth?

It’ll be interesting to see if the Habs could have achieved the same thing they did last July by waiting before sacrificing Edmundson. That way, they could have paid Edmundson to play for them, rather than the Caps.

However, the left side of the Montreal defence is already very busy, the youngsters have been able to develop better and I’m a big fan of the old saying “one is better than two“.

Still, you have to be careful before withholding part of a traded player’s salary, especially when you’re in rebuilding mode and periods like the deadline or the draft can bring you good assets if you still have room for one or two withheld salaries.

Before withholding a portion of Jake Allen’s or Tanner Pearson’s salary in return for a far-off pick by March 8, Kent Hughes will have to make sure it doesn’t prevent him from completing a bigger (and better) deal in draft week in June. Petry, in particular, brought back a four-round pick, but he occupies one of the three spots under the Montreal team’s “retained salaries” heading. We wouldn’t want the Habs to be unable to add an interesting forward because the other team demands that we keep part of the salary of one of our sacrificed players… and we’re unable to do so because of the Petry vs. fourth-round pick transaction (conditional no less).

At the very least, the Habs’ GM will always have the option of simply taking a player from the other team with negative contract value, as he did with Pearson and Monahan.

But not every team has a player with such a salary and no no-trade clause to sacrifice.


Speaking of big salaries, no one misses Brendan Gallagher since he was suspended by George Parros…

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