Why Shero hasn't made another acquisition - holding up for Hall and the 2020-21 cap situation

Some people are disappointed that Shero is treading carefully as it relates to signing Gardiner, trading for Gusev or making another acquisition. They are looking at the cap space that NJ still has for 2019-2020 and are confused as to why he's not using it. Doesn't he want to keep Hall? Are the owners cheap? I mentioned this in a couple of comments but wanted to flesh it out a bit more. A quick look at the 2020-21 cap explains his behavior. If NJ can keep Hall (if they can't there is no cap issue) some 2020-21 assumptions, rounding a little:


Hall $12M (based off Panarin)

Nico $8M

Bratt $5M

Zajac $6M

Palmieri $5M

Wood $3M

Coleman $2M

Zachs $2M

Boqvist $1M

Hughes $1M (plus possible performance bonuses - note Capfriendly shows $2.85M in potential bonus exposure)

Total $45M+ for 10 forwards


Subban $9M

Severson $5M

Butcher $3M (this may be conservative as Pionk just got $3M)

Smith $1M

Carrick $1.5M

Total $19.5M for 5 D


Schneider $6M

(Blackwood RFA)

That's $70.5M with 7 more players needed to sign. The cap is at $81.5M after a small ($2M) increase and the speculation is another small increase next year before the new TV contracts kick in the following year. Under an $83.5M cap NJ has at most $13M in space with 7 more players needed. So a 1 year contract like Simmonds is perfect for NJ. Gardiner? Let's say NJ can get him for $6Mx 4 at this point. Can Shero leave himself with $7M for 6 players? Less if Hughes hits any bonuses? If Butcher needs more than $3M? What happens if Blackwood becomes the #1? Same with Gusev, even if he wants 2 years at $4M, $9M max left for 6 players is scary. I'd think that NJ can't do either without confidence it will be able to move other contracts, the most obvious of which are Zajac (a potential luxury particularly in 20-21) and Schneider but both have NTCs.

This also explains why the idea of re-signing Vatanen is likely a non-starter and why whoever floated NJ as a destination for Backes or a Marner offer sheet did not spend any time analyzing cap issues. And this does not even get into what happens in 2021-22 when Zajac likely comes off the books but Palmieri and Coleman needs raises. Or when Hughes is out of his ELC. Of course this is all based on the fact that Shero is holding up until he knows whether Hall will sign. If Hall will not things change dramatically.

Am I missing something? Thoughts?

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