Here’s an excerpt from my latest TribLive.com column. To read the entire piece, click HERE.
The new Penguins GM has his work cut out for him. He will likely have to package positive assets with negative surplus just to hit reset. Like trading, say, a third-round pick and Mikael Granlund for zilch just to get rid of Granlund.
If that sounds grotesque, it’s just an example.
The GM will likely have to sacrifice more than a third-round pick to get Granlund’s $5 million cap hit (for the next two seasons) off the books. I’d suggest a second-round pick, but ex-GM Ron Hextall already traded that. For Granlund.
The rest of the column deals primarily with whether the Penguins should keep goaltender Tristan Jarry, who is scheduled to be a free agent on July 1.
But to expand on the Granlund situation, he's got to go.
No player personifies the failure of Ron Hextall’s tenure as GM like Granlund does.
Hextall traded a second-round pick for Granlund, who was utterly useless. He’s 5-foot-10 but plays like he’s 4-11. He had one goal and four assists in 21 games with the Penguins, making impact more negative than positive.
Granlund stinks. He should be in the Finnish version of the ECHL.
But he’s extremely difficult to trade, even in the scenario described.
So, if necessary, buy Granlund out.
According to CapFriendly.com’s buyout calculator, the Penguins would absorb a $833k cap hit in 2023-24, clearing $4.166m in cap space. They would take a $1.833m cap hit in each of the three seasons after.
The cap will go up a minuscule amount in ’23-24: About $1 million. The Penguins won’t get much help there.
But the Penguins have several players that would be good to ditch, Granlund most of all. If he can’t be traded. Granlund must be bought out.
The Penguins need to stop spending to the cap’s limit.
Fans see that as a show of good faith, evidence that the franchise is trying to win.
But it’s best to leave a decent-sized cushion, then make moves as needed.
If you feel you’re not a contender, leave things as they are. Maybe dump future cap. If you have a shot at playoff success, execute deals that add quality (and cap). You have room.