Barring a big transaction, the Avs are going to need Gabriel Landeskog's $3.75 million capt hit to reach the $48.3 million cap floor.
With the free agent additions of Chuck Kobasew and Joakim Lindstrom and the re-signings of RFAs Kevin Porter and T.J. Galiardi, the Avs have 14 NHL veterans forwards under contract. So, for Landeskog to make the roster, he will have to displace one of these forwards. Who are the likely candidates?
T.J. Galiardi: Has a one way contract with a cap hit of $700k. He is not exempt from waivers. He can play all 3 forward positions and is seemingly a good fit on any line. But, the coaching staff showed disappointment in him, demoting him to the AHL this past season. Inuries also limited him to just 35 games.
Lindstrom: Has a one way contract with a cap hit of $600k. He is not exempt from waivers. Lindstrom seemed mostly like an AHL/NHL tweener in his previous stint in North America. Yet this past season he led the Swedish Elite League in points (ranking second in both goals and assists) and PIM's, displaying skill with the puck and grit along the way. If he can translate those skills back over to the North American game, look for him to lock down a spot amongst the top 9. If he can't put things together early enough for the coaches to give him a solid shot, look for him to bounce back to the AHL. Does his being the only other Swede on the roster increase his chances of sticking around with Landeskog, who played Canadian juniors?
Kevin Porter: Has a one way contract with a cap hit of $850k. He is not exempt from waivers. Like Galiardi, he can play all 3 forward positions on most lines and in most situations. He had flashes of Heroism with three game winning goals last season. Simply swapping out Landeskog for Porter with all other personnel remaining the same and no other rookies making the squad gets the Avs payroll to $48.18 million, or about $120k below the cap floor. At least one rookie with a cap hit above $850k (Mark Olver, Michael Carman, Brad Malone, Joey Hishon) would have to beat out at least one of the other three candidates listed here for the Avs to get to the capfloor in the event that Landeskog displaces Porter.
Brandon Yip: Has a one way contract with a cap hit of $725k ($750k actual salary for 2011-12). He is not exempt from waivers. Yip plays either wing and was mostly disappointing last season, not scoring enough to be on a scoring line, and not playing with enough hustle or grit to warrant a spot on the bottom two lines.