There is plenty of company this summer at the NHL trade trough. More than any previous July or August, NHL teams blew past the salary-cap limit, expecting a soft landing from teams hoping to become competitive by feasting on the leftovers of teams chasing the Stanley Cup. The Pittsburgh Penguins and GM Ron Hextall didn’t race past the cap the way others did, but they are above the ceiling, just the same.
And now comes the second part of the NHL offseason: A dozen teams trying to get under the cap, most via trade.
It’s like a game of full-contact musical chairs with only a few chairs and a dozen kids waiting for that record scratch.
Sure, the Penguins could just trade another defenseman. Ship Marcus Pettersson and his $4.025 million salary to Detroit. Done!
Except it’s not that easy. There are only eight to 12 teams with salary-cap structures that would allow them to take on salary easily. Moreover, there is plenty of competition for those free dollars. And Pettersson is a reliable NHL defenseman, even if head coach Mike Sullivan dabbled with putting Mark Friedman in his spot at the end of last season.