The Athletic’s Craig Custance wrote an article discussing Dylan Larkin’s contract negotiations with the Red Wings, and it appears that the Red Wings will have to work some salary cap magic to maximize both Larkin’s yield and the team’s ability to balance its books:
The salary cap is a complicated thing and in order to completely maximize the Johan Franzen long-term injured reserve option, the Red Wings would want to get as close to $78.745 million as possible (their adjusted cap number because of bonuses) before putting him on long-term injured reserve. Then they could exceed the cap by Franzen’s salary.
“Basically wherever you are before you activate LTI, they take a snapshot of your cap picture and you get the player you’re putting on to LTI’s cap room and that’s it,” said an Eastern Conference capologist. “You want to get as close to [the cap] as possible.”
With the Red Wings currently at $76.67 million (according to CapFriendly.com), that would leave them with just about $2 million to sign Larkin to get that ideal snapshot before putting Franzen on LTI. Obviously, that’s not going to happen. Even when you factor in the Franzen salary ($3.945 million) that’s still just getting into the range of what it’s likely going to take to get Larkin signed to anything beyond a bridge deal.
“I have them really jammed up unless they know someone is going,” said the cap expert.
As explored earlier this week, their jammed up depth chart along with this cap situation points to a winger trade being very advantageous for the Red Wings. Moving Gustav Nyquist ($4.75 million) would make a Larkin deal fit in nicely before using any LTIR. Athansiou’s $3 million would give breathing room, too.
Custance continues (paywall)…