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The Minnesota Wild got what they needed on Saturday night after losing their best player to a “week to week” injury: Devan Dubnyk, pitching a 1-0 shutout of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
But it’s that “one goal” part that’s the concern. Parise has seven goals in 12 games this season, before a collision with James Neal of the Nashville Predators injured his MCL.
Week-to-week isn’t month-to-month, so hopefully Parise’s back soon. But now the salary cap ceiling is looking mighty tight for Minnesota. Michael Russo of the Star Tribune reports that they’ll have to place either Tyler Graovac or Justin Fontaine, both currently injured, on LTIR if there’s another injury to the current lineup.
“We’re a steak dinner for six at Manny’s away from the cap, so we’ve got lots of space as long as somebody doesn’t order the double-baked potato,” General Manager Chuck Fletcher said to Russo.
(The double-baked potato, we believe would be another significant injury. Remember this analogy next time you’re at Outback.)
It’s pretty clear Fletcher won’t magically be able to execute a trade if Parise is out long-term. The Wild doesn’t have a lot of tradeable assets, plus it is one of 15 teams that is either within $1 million of the cap ceiling or above the cap based on LTI or performance bonus cushions.
“It’s hard to make trades at the best of times because you’re trying to find a team that has what you need and they need to need what you have,” Fletcher said. “That’s hard enough never mind balancing out the dollars. But now it has to be a dollar-for-dollar trade as well. Some of the teams that are well below the cap are budget teams and are probably at their number. So as the season goes on and more of the salaries and dollars get paid, it gets a little bit easier. But you have to be very creative this time of year.
According to General Fanager, the Wild have $581,165 under the cap with a payroll of $70.8 million against the cap this season.
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