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Checking in on the Cap

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With about a third of the season gone, I look at our cap as a reminder of where we are right now and where we might be in the near future.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

I apologize if this is terse. It is 11:25pm and I've just returned home from the Star Wars premiere. I will give no spoilers. See it for yourself.

This is around the time in the season where I realize that so much has happened between the end of last year and this point, that I no longer no some basic pieces of information. How old is Lee Stempniak? Who's the starting goalie in Albany? Where does Tuomo Ruutu play when he's healthy?

The most common questions I am found to be asking myself are the questions "What's _____'s cap hit?" and "How long is _____ under contract for?"

In this article I'll remind us of just a few of those things.

Who's Locked Up Past This Year?

Name Pos AAV
Cory Schneider G $6,000,000
Travis Zajac C $5,750,000
Michael Cammalleri RW $5,000,000
Andy Greene D $5,000,000
Adam Larsson D $4,166,666
Adam Henrique LW $4,000,000
John Moore D $1,666,666
Eric Gelinas D $1,575,000
Keith Kinkaid G $725,000
Stefan Matteau LW $612,500
Damon Severson D $605,833

AAV means average annual value or the cap hit. This looks like a bit of a mixed bag at the bottom, but that top looks pretty good. Schneider is a bargain at any price. Zajac has proven the value of his presence with his absence. It's tough to exactly quantify the effect of a great faceoff man who can play on the top line in all 3 situations as well as in the 3 on 3 OT. Cammallerri as John and I have both said, is an elite NHL forward. Even accounting for his decline he should be worth that average. Greene and Larsson are obvious positives and a $4-5 million a pop, they have a reasonable cost. Adam "Golden Boy" Henrique is the face of the Devils and worth another modest $4 million.

Then it gets dodgy. Moore is signed for three years and his contract is just as good as the one listed above. Gelinas is a 7th D-man getting 1.575 for two years. Unless he actually unseats Jon Merrill permanently (and I think he should) he won't be worth that money, but its only one more year. Kinkaid is important as a halfway decent backup at sub-$1million. Matteau is on a bridge deal that is inexplicably one-way forcing him to only play the game of hockey once or twice a week.

What Will Become of the Other Deals?

Name Pos 2015-16
Patrik Elias C $5,500,000
Tuomo Ruutu LW $3,800,000
Kyle Palmieri RW $1,466,667
Sergey Kalinin RW $925,000
Lee Stempniak RW $850,000
Stephen Gionta RW $850,000
Jon Merrill D $840,000
Jordin Tootoo RW $825,000
Jiri Tlusty LW $800,000
Jacob Josefson C $800,000
David Schlemko D $625,000
Bobby Farnham LW $575,000
Brian O'Neill RW $562,500
Tyler Kennedy C $435,483

It seems to be generally understood that this will be Elias's last year in a possibly Hall of Fame career. While the loss is going to be important, he's probably worth less then his $5.5 million so that coming off the books can help us re-sign one of these other guys. Ruutu will also be nice to have off the books. These are both going to be important, because the next guys, Palmieri, is gonna need some money. He's on a 60-point pace and he's making  under $1.5 million. That will change. The rest of these guys are great to have on one year deals because we can assess whether or not they will be part of the new era.

Your Thoughts?

Who gets re-signed? Was any of this surprising? Who was the best bargain and who was the worst? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.