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Morning Flurries: Karlsson signs, Trouba traded

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And the Salary Cap Ceiling might not be what we thought it was going to be.

San Jose Sharks v Colorado Avalanche - Game Six
DENVER, COLORADO - MAY 06: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates Gabriel Landeskog scoring the winning goal past Erik Karlsson #65 and goalie Martin Jones of the San Jose Sharks in overtime during Game Six of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Pepsi Center on May 6, 2019 in Denver, Colorado.
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Good morning, Avs fans.

Trouba Trade

Jacob Trouba was traded yesterday to the New York Rangers in exchange for Neal Pionk and the 20th overall pick in the draft this year. If you’re wondering who Neal Pionk is, you’re not alone and that’s a very bad sign for the Winnipeg Jets.

Both Trouba and Pionk are right-handed defenseman without contracts for next season. Both played top-pairing minutes on their respective teams, but that’s exactly where the similarities end. Here are a few graphics:

Basically, Pionk was played in a top-pairing role because the team around him was bad enough to get the second-overall pick. He only just completed his second season in the NHL after coming over from college. When on bad teams, someone needs to score, and Pionk was on the ice for a good chunk of that, but he did not drive play according to Dom L.’s model. He also didn’t drive play according to Evolving Wild’s model. So... yeah.

Trouba is a prime 25-year-old defenseman with a great knack for offense and driving play but has some deficiencies in his own end. Overall, Trouba’ is a great defenseman to have and helps you on the ice way more than he hurts you. The Rangers have been doing their rebuild slowly, but if you look at what they have for the present and future, they are a terrifying sight in the Eastern Conference.

And once the trade was finalized, Trouba opened up about his real intentions for asking out of Winnipeg. People assumed a lot of things, none of which ended up being right.

Karlsson Signing

The second bit of news from the day came from the San Jose Sharks as they announced an eight-year, $11.5 million AAV contract extension for Erik Karlsson. He basically got Drew Doughty money plus inflation.

So, what does this mean for the Colorado Avalanche? Largely nothing. The team is stocked full of defensemen for now and the future and the forward market appears to be in a different realm according to GMs. The Trouba trade lowers the market price for defensemen, should Colorado want to send one of them out, but this summer was never going to be where the team makes a big move on defense.

In terms of free agency, the competitive price for signing UFAs continues to be high, so who knows what will be available to the Avalanche and their lots of millions in cap space. One thing it does do for certain is end the relationship for the Sharks and Joe Pavelski. The Sharks simply have no cap space anymore because they have to re-sign Timo Meier and six other guys with $12.5 million. It’s doable for them to do, but it definitely isn’t doable if you put in a three-year, $7.5 million cap hit EW projects Pavelski to get. Luckily for the Sharks, they only need to find forwards, who are generally very cheap.

The 2019-20 Cap Ceiling

News started to break this morning as the NHL and NHLPA meet to finalize the 2019-20 salary cap ceiling and floor. For the ceiling, it appears as though the number will be less than what everyone was told midseason, meaning GMs will have only $82 million to spend instead of the $83 million they have all been working off of up to this point.

Colorado should be able to absorb this lower ceiling just fine, but other teams close to the cap (Vegas, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Winnipeg, San Jose, Nashville, Toronto) will have to really squeeze themselves. I’m especially not sure how Vegas or Tampa is going to get out of their respective messes.

On the other side of the coin, if the cap floor lowers, it’ll make it easier the Ottawa Senators to hit the floor and be a viable team next year. They are currently $13 million under the $61 million projected floor with seven roster spots to fill. The RFAs they have are not expected to be expensive so they were looking to need to bring dead money in to stay afloat. If the floor ends up at closer to $60 million, it’s more doable.