Cap space, cap space, cap space. This is what’s uppermost in the minds of Avalanche management right now, one week before the NHL trade deadline.
This helps explain why – despite two longer-term injuries to two key players, Gabe Landeskog and Sam Girard – Avs coach Jared Bednar said today that the team won’t be calling anyone up from the Eagles as the team departs for a two-game California road swing. The Avs did not call anyone up for Sunday’s 3-0 win over the Calgary Flames either. They went with 11 forwards and six D.
Why not? Because, the Avs want as much cap space as they can get right now. Not having anyone called up helps them gain more space every day closer to the deadline. According to our friends at PuckPedia, the Avs currently have $3,291,958 of cap space, with 22 players on the roster (you’re allowed 23).
If the Avs wanted to make a deal say, tomorrow, they’d have a little more pro-rated cap space available by not calling anyone else. Hey, every dollar counts, right?
It’s something of a calculated risk here by the Avs. They have two games before the deadline passes – tomorrow night in Los Angeles and Friday night in San Jose. Going with only 17 skaters obviously means a little more ice time for everyone. More ice time means more risk of injury. But the Avs apparently are willing to take the risk to free as much cap space as possible to explore deals.
NOTEBOOK: There’s no word yet on Landeskog’s surgery/prognosis, and I’m not sure we’re going to get one today or not. UPDATE: (Avs say there will not be any update today). Jared Bednar only said that Landeskog was set to have knee surgery today. Remember, a player must miss 10 games and/or 24 days to be put on long term injured reserve (LTIR). If Avs put Landy on LTIR, they can use his cap hit ($7 million) on a new acquisition. If they keep him out until the playoffs, they would not have to shed his $7 million cap hit, because there is no salary cap in the playoffs. … On Sam Girard’s injury/status, Bednar said this today: “It was bothering him for a while. Basically same as Landy. They had tried a couple of different treatments, options, on G and it seemed like it was getting better and then kind of regressed and was bugging him again. Once you kind of play with a few different things, and you see some progress, you’re kind of hopeful you’ll work out of it. He kind of regressed a couple of times, so you don’t have anything else to do, same with Landy, you either keep playing through it and hope for the best, or you shut him down and get him some rest or get him surgery and make sure you’re doing everything you can to be healthy and at their best come playoff time.”…On whether the injury was affecting Girard’s play: “Yes, I think it was for sure. I’ve never had a back injury but it’s my understanding it’s one of the toughest injuries to play through. Everything you do, every time you maneuver, especially a guy like G, it’s bothering him. It bothers him in battle and contact when he’s trying to turn out of things. Skating is a big part of his game and if’s not feeling at his best, we have to do what we can to try and help him. Shut him down for a little bit and take a different course of action.” … Bo Byram practiced again with the team today in a non-contact jersey. Bednar said he will not go on the two-game trip. Asked if Byram could be returning soon, Bednar said “I have no idea.”